Alabama Football Recruiting: 5 Prospects Who Can Make an Instant Impact

Chad Luse@@ChadLuseCorrespondent IJanuary 8, 2012

Alabama Football Recruiting: 5 Prospects Who Can Make an Instant Impact

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    National Signing Day is less than a month away, but many of the top recruits have already chosen which  school they will be playing for next fall.

    However, some of the top recruits are still undecided, including DT Eddie Goldman and WR Dorial Green-Beckham.

    Alabama currently has the No. 1 rated recruiting class—and this class is loaded. They have 26 commitments, and 14 of those are four or five stars. Nick Saban has done a great job in bringing in the top talent these past few years, and this class is no different.

    Some of these prospects can make an immediate impact as a freshman. Here are five incoming freshman you better get to know.

T.J. Yeldon, RB

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    Trent Richardson is most likely moving on to the NFL draft, so Alabama will be looking for a new starting running back.

    Eddy Lacy is the front-runner for the job right now since he has played a good amount this year behind Richardson. Dee Hart is a redshirt freshmen and is recovering from a torn ACL suffered in spring practice. However, Hart is a small, speedy guy at 5'8" and 190 lbs, so it might be hard for him to carry the ball 20-25 times a game while taking hits from SEC defenses.

    T.J. Yeldon is a big running back, listed at 6'2" 205 lbs. He can run through the tackles and also beat you on the outside with his speed. Yeldon can catch the ball out of the backfield really well, as he as shown in high school while lining up at wide receiver sometimes.

    Yeldon ran the ball 232 times his senior year, racking up 2,193 yards and 31 touchdowns while leading his team to the state championship. Nick Saban is known for using a two-headed monster at running back, so expect Yeldon to come in right away to share carries with Lacy and be a contributor to the running game for the Tide.

Landon Collins, DB

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    Alabama is losing many stars on the defensive side of the ball.

    The Tide are losing three cornerbacks,—Dre Kirkpatrick, Dequan Menzie and Phelon Jones—and they are also losing Mark Barron at strong safety.

    Starting free safety Robert Lester is undecided on whether or not he will leave for the NFL draft. If Lester does leave early, Alabama will have huge holes to fill in the secondary. Hasean Clinton-Dix and Vinnie Sunseri are two returning freshmen who played a little at safety, and they have shown potential.

    Landon Collins is a big-time recruit. Many recruiting experts have him ranked in the top 15 and as the top safety in the country.

    Collins is from Louisiana, but Saban stole him from the LSU Tigers. He has the size to play cornerback or safety in college, and he plays well in man coverage and zone coverage. Collins is not afraid of coming up in the box to stop the run; he plays physical and smart, so he is perfect for Saban's system.

    Since Collins won't be at spring practice, he will be behind in learning all of the schemes, so he might start the season on kick and punt coverages. However, he has too much talent to not make an early impact for this defense.

Amari Cooper, WR

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    Since Julio Jones went to the NFL draft, Alabama's passing game has not been that effective. Marquis Maze has been the leading receiver, but opposing defenses still stack the box to stop the run.

    Alabama will be losing Maze and Darius Hanks, so Saban will be looking for two new starting receivers. Wide receiver is Alabama's biggest need on the offensive side of the ball.  

    DeAndrew White has shown he can play. He has the speed to stretch the field, and he can make some spectacular catches. I will be shocked if he does not start next year.

    Amari Cooper is rated as a top 10 receiver coming out of high school. He is 6'1" and 175 lbs, but he needs to put on some muscle when he gets on campus. Cooper scored on a long TD pass in the Under Armor All-American game. He has good hands and speed to get behind defenders.

    A.J. McCarron needs more wide receivers to throw to, so Cooper should be in the lineup early.

Reggie Ragland, LB

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    The linebackers for Alabama are what make their defense so good; they are all physical, smart and fast.

    Alabama is losing three linebackers this year, so it will be looking for replacements. Jerrel Harris is graduating, and Courtney Upshaw and Donta Hightower are headed to the NFL draft.

    Nico Johnson and C.J. Mosley are going to be the leaders of the defense. Trey Depreist will be a sophmore next year, and he should be fighting for a starting position since he showed he can play middle linebacker.

    Reggie Ragland is a beast. He is 6'4", 250 lbs and has speed. People from Alabama are already comparing him to former Alabama linebacker Rolando McClain.

    Ragland can stop the run, get to the quarterback and make impact plays. He is so quick and strong that he is almost impossible to block. With Alabama losing a couple of linebackers, expect Ragland to make highlight plays as a freshman.

Eddie Williams, ATH

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    Eddie Williams has the most upside on this list.

    Williams is listed at 6'4" and 204 lbs, and he is surely going to put on more muscle in college. He can play wide receiver or safety, which gives him the best possibly to make an impact in 2012.

    If Williams plays safety, then he will look like a linebacker playing in the secondary. He will crush receivers trying to catch a ball over the middle, and he has enough speed to keep up with any receiver. Williams can also run up in the box and give a running back a big impact hit; the quarterback will always have to know where Williams is on the field.

    If Williams plays wide receiver, people say he will be the next Julio Jones.

    Williams will be hard to cover with his massive frame of body and speed. He will most likely start in the opening game against Michigan, and McCarron will love to have a big, tall receiver to throw to. Williams could line up opposite of fellow freshman Amari Cooper, and they could become a deadly duo for years to come.

    It's not surprising that Alabama fans cannot wait to get Williams on campus, because whether he plays wide receiver or in secondary, he will step in right away and become a force in the SEC.