5 redshirt freshman who could turn heads in 2016
They’ve had their seat. Now it’s time for these five redshirt freshmen to prepare to have big roles for their respective teams in 2016 and moving forward.
Blake Barnett, QB, Alabama
With Blake Sims and Jacob Coker gone, there’s no more protection for Alabama’s stable of young, inexperienced quarterbacks. So Barnett will compete with Cooper Bateman and David Cornwell for the keys to Lane Kiffin’s offense. Barnett worked with the scout team against the first team defenses and the defenses were allowed to rough him up a little to test his mettle. Bateman and Cornwell won’t give up the job easily, but all eyes in Tuscaloosa will be on Barnett.
Van Jefferson, WR, Ole Miss
With Laquon Treadwell off preparing for the draft, the son of former NFL wide receiver Shawn Jefferson should be ready to roll this spring and challenge for one of the positions on the outside across from Markell Pack. At 6-2, 200, pounds he’s another big target for Chad Kelly to build chemistry with for what should be an explosive offense in 2016.
— Kelsey Raymer (@Kelsey_Raymer) February 4, 2015
Marcus Walker, CB/S, Kentucky
The Wildcats had an experienced secondary last year, which gave Walker the chance to add size, but in 2016 he should see the field and get every chance to be the playmaking defensive back that Mark Stoops wants on defense. Walker, 6-1, 185, has long arms, good ball skills and the versatility to cover receivers on the outside or in the slot.
C.J. O’Grady, TE, Arkansas
The main issue with O’Grady isn’t talent but his off-the-field issues. He was suspended before the season in 2015 for a DWI arrest and is currently suspended for what an academic issue. O’Grady was a four-star recruit in high school. Given the way Arkansas works its tight end into the passing game, if O’Grady can stop being his own worst enemy and see the field, he could be very productive.
Suspended CJ OGrady, Dre Greenlaw for a week to show academics are more important. Bielema continues to stand firm on that front.
— Razorback Nation (@RazNation) February 3, 2016
Richard McBryde, LB, Auburn
Defensive coordinator Kevin Steele will be breaking in a lot of inexperienced linebackers in 2016 and he’ll need all of them to run the 3-4 alignments that he likes (he’ll run some 4-3 as well). McBryde didn’t get the limited time that Jeffery Holland and Darrell Williams did (mostly special teams play), but he received a lot of good praise from outgoing seniors, like Kris Frost, for his work in practice.