Power Ranking Recruits Who Could Make a 'Johnny Manziel' Impact as Freshmen
This year, Texas A&M freshman QB Johnny Manziel took the college football world by storm and went on to become the first freshman to ever win the Heisman Trophy. Johnny Football went from a 3-star QB prospect to a household name in a little over a year.
Making an impact as a freshman is one thing, but making the kind of impact that Manziel made as a freshman is another. For the following read, I'm not saying these players can win the Heisman as freshman, but just simply they could make a similar impact to Manziel's.
Here they are.
7. Kevin Olsen, QB
I can see Olsen's career taking a similar path as that of Manziel's. He signs with Miami, redshirts a year due to a veteran incumbent then takes the reigns as a redshirt freshman.
Al Golden is extremely fortunate to have Olsen's commitment considering the coming sanctions to Miami's program. The team will need something to build around and excite fans other than just Duke Johnson.
Olsen could be that guy.
6. Greg Bryant, RB
George Atkinson will be the best returning RB in South Bend next year, and Brian Kelly has grown somewhat fond of a two-back rushing attack.
My prediction to win the No. 2 RB job for the Irish next year is Greg Bryant. The 5'11", 205-pounder from Florida is ready to tote the rock in South Bend right now.
Think about it: Notre Dame. National coverage all the time. Highly-touted recruit. Early-impact position. Sounds like a huge impact to me.
5. Christian Hackenberg, QB
At some point in the next two years, Penn State fans will realize they go see the Nittany Lions play for two reasons. One being they love the team, and two being Christian Hackenberg.
The 6'3", 215-pound QB is considered the best in the nation by some and should make an immediate impact next year under Bil O'Brien's tutelage.
Even though PSU won't be able to go to a bowl game for a while, I can still see Hackenberg becoming a rock star early in his career in Happy Valley.
4. Thomas Tyner, RB
I really like Kenjon Barner a lot and think he'll be a solid NFL RB, but I also think Tyner is so talented that he could have given Oregon what Barner gave them this year.
The 6'0", 218-pound speedster can blow by defenders and fits the Chip Kelly offensive attack extremely well.
DeAnthony Thomas made a great impact for the Ducks as a freshman, but I think Thomas' impact could be even great than that next year.
3. Robert Foster, WR
Alabama fans, I'm sorry, but I think Foster will commit to Pitt in the next couple of weeks. That is also why I have him at this slot on this list, because he has the tools to be Paul Chryst's top WR immediately.
Blessed with overwhelming explosiveness, quickness and long speed at 6'2" and 190 pounds, Foster can be special at Pitt. I can see him making dazzling plays as a WR, on reverses and as a return man.
That should get him more attention and increase his impact. He's already from the Pittsburgh area and will be a fan favorite as soon as he signs his LOI.
2. Matt Alviti, QB
Whether it's as a true freshman or as a redshirt freshman, Alviti should make a big impact for Northwestern. In fact, he compares very favorably to Johnny Manziel.
Alviti is a 6'0", 192-pound dual threat QB with guts, fire and a ton of competitiveness. He has a gunslinger's mentality, good athleticism and can win games as either a passer or a runner.
If you're looking for a carbon copy of Johnny Manziel in the 2013 recruiting class, Matt Alviti is as close as you're going to get.
1. Ricky Seals-Jones, WR
Why not go with the guy that's actually going to be playing with Johnny Manziel as the No. 1 impact player for this list?
Seals-Jones, with his 6'5" and 230-pound frame, has the athleticism, hands, quickness, strength and build-up speed to come in and put up some big stats in Kevin Sumlin's offense immediately.
He's already beloved by Aggie fans because he's a native Texan and has a ton of hype around him. I can see Seals-Jones being a national star by the middle to end of his freshman season.
Edwin Weathersby is the College Football Recruiting Analyst for Bleacher Report. He has worked in scouting/player personnel departments for three professional football teams, including the New York Giants, Cleveland Browns and the Las Vegas Gladiators of the Arena League. He spent a year evaluating prep prospects and writing specific recruiting and scouting content articles for Student Sports Football (formerly ESPN Rise-HS). A syndicated scout and writer, he's also contributed to WeAreSC.com, GatorBait.net and Diamonds in the Rough Inc., a College Football and NFL Draft magazine.