Every year, teams rely on incoming freshmen to fill gaps in the lineup that are left from departing seniors and juniors headed to the NFL. Some freshmen are asked to jump into special teams, while others are asked to play primary roles on offense or defense.
There are a handful of recruits in the 2013 class that will be called upon early by their teams to be immediate playmakers. These freshmen will need to be ready to step in and perform immediately, placing their stamp on their respective programs early.
Taking a look at the playmakers in the 2013 class, here are the commits that are most likely to play as freshmen.
Jalin Marshall is a dual-threat quarterback that will convert into a wide receiver in college. He is walking into the Ohio State program and will look to hit the field early.
He has the skills to be an immediate playmaker in the Urban Meyer offense. For a high school quarterback, Marshall shows great field vision and has great hands. He tracks the football well, and reaches for the football. He is willing to out-physical a defender for the ball.
Marshall would be dangerous as a slot receiver early in his career for Urban Meyer. With a pass offense that struggled a year ago, Marshall could be an impact player early for the Buckeyes.
According to 247Sports Composite Rankings, Marshall is the No. 4 receiver and the No. 35 overall player in the country.
Goodman loves to find the football and punish the ball carrier. He is a prototypical safety that has elite closing speed and covers well in man and zone schemes.
The UCLA Bruins picked up an instant impact player in Goodman, and will at the very least ask him to perform on special teams in his first season. His ability to lock down one half of the field should earn him early playing time in the defense.
He has great hips for coverage, and is a solid tackler in space.
Goodman is rated as the No. 8 safety and the No. 64 overall player in the country, according to the 247Sports Composite Rankings.
Ezekiel Elliot is the future of the running back position at Ohio State. The Buckeyes saw Carlos Hyde explode onto the scene as a reliable every-down option in 2012, but he is gone after the 2013 season, making Elliot the focus for development this season.
He is a dangerous runner in the middle and on the outside, showing the vision to cut through a defense in traffic and the quickness to bounce outside the tackles and take the football around the edge.
Elliot has also shown elite ball skills in the passing game, making him a complete back for the Ohio State offense.
According to the 247Sports Composite Rankings, Elliot is the No. 5 all-purpose back and the No. 68 overall player in the country.
The Florida Gators lost a lot of talent in the secondary after the 2012 season and will look to incoming freshman Macell Harris to help balance the load.
Will Muschamp is not afraid to play freshmen, and that will benefit Harris early in his Gators career. The loss of Matt Elam leaves a void for a head-hunter type safety, and Harris fits the role well.
Harris is strong in run support, but he is deceptively strong playing zone coverage. His man-to-man skills could use some polishing, but the way that the Gators will employ his services that isn’t a huge concern. Harris can be a role player early for the Gators.
According to 247Sports Composite Rankings, Harris is the No. 10 safety and the No. 78 overall player in the country.
The Ole Miss Rebels are having an overhaul of talent in Oxford, bringing in a host of top talent in this class as they look to build a title contender in Mississippi.
Elijah Daniel is a big piece of this class, and has the chance to join the team this summer and make an early impact. The Rebels are in need of solid defenders, and Daniel is a very balanced end prospect.
He has the motor to get to the quarterback and the ability to seal off the outside against the run. He will see time early for Rebels out of necessity, but his skills allow for it to be a smooth transition.
Daniel is rated as the No. 6 strong-side defensive end and the No. 51 overall prospect in the country according to the 247Sports Composite Rankings.
Ty Isaac is one of the more elite running back prospects in the 2013 class. Southern Cal got an immediate contributor in Isaac.
He has a unique blend of size and speed that will make him a one-of-a-kind option on the Trojans offense. He will be able to come in and study under Silas Redd, and gain a few touches in a balanced offense.
Isaac is very good out of the backfield in the passing game, and he has dangerous one-cut ability in the open field. He is not afraid of contact and blasts through most arm tackles. He is a solid prospect that should be able to find playing time early in L.A.
According to the 247Sports Composite Rankings, Isaac is the No. 3 all-purpose back and the No. 54 overall player in the country.
Greg Bryant is expected to walk into South Bend and earn playing time from day one. The Irish lost key contributors Cierre Wood and Theo Riddick from the backfield at the end of 2012, and the team needs a back that can help balance the offense with George Atkinson III.
Bryant is that player.
He is an elite pass-catcher from the backfield and the most dangerous back in this class in the open field. He has elite burst and quickness through the hole, and can find a lot of space in traffic at the line.
He has the frame to add bulk in time, and should be able to play the 2013 season over the 200-pound mark.
According to the 247Sports Composite Rankings, Bryant is rated as the No. 6 running back and the No. 45 overall player in the country.
Adam Breneman is a one of the elite tight ends in the 2013 class. He is a rangy tight end that has the frame to add bulk in the future, but plays big already, giving his quarterback a large target that fights for the football.
Breneman plays all over the field and will serve the same role in the Nittany Lions' offense. He can play as a lead H-back blocker, or a inset tight end.
He can also play from the slot as a detached tight end. He also shows the ability to find space on seam routes through the middle, understanding how he can fit in between zone coverage. As the Nittany Lions look to usher in a new quarterback, Breneman will be a solid safety valve in 2013.
According to 247Sports Composite Rankings, Breneman is the No. 2 tight end and the No. 44 overall player in the country.
The Pitt Panthers need a player like Johnson along the line right now. He will walk into Pitt and compete for a starting job from his first day on campus.
Johnson is a big body that has the frame to add a lot more good bulk in the future. He could easily play well over the 300-pound range. Johnson is a nasty blocker that loves to finish his defender by plowing them into the ground.
He has solid footwork for a young lineman, and shows a great understanding of hand placement and leverage despite his tall frame. He is solid in pass protection and is tough to gain inches on once he sets his feet.
According to the 247Sports Composite Rankings, Johnson is the No. 43 offensive tackle and the No. 43 overall player in the country.
Derrick Griffin is a huge receiver prospect that could add weight in the future and switch to a more pure H-back or tight end role for the Texas A&M offense. He has surprising strength already, so adding bulk to his frame would make him a dangerous receiver.
He has a surprising breakaway speed, but is not overly quick or explosive. Once he grows into his frame, that could change.
The Aggies have already shown the ability to implement rangy receivers and burn opposing defenses with mismatches. Any corner that is faced with this mammoth receiver will struggle to even get a finger on the football.
Griffin will be an immediate impact player in the red zone at the very least. He has a bright future in the explosive Aggies offense.
According to the 247Sports Composite Rankings, Griffin is the No. 5 receiver and the No. 40 overall player in the country.
Derrick Green is one of the country’s most elite power backs in the 2013 class. He committed to Michigan on Jan. 26, and the fit is as good as any in the current recruiting class.
The Wolverines are unsure of the ability of Fitz Touissant after an injury he sustained last season, so having a body that is ready to roll from day one was important—Green is that guy.
Green is an every-down type runner that is fluid at the line of scrimmage. He is not overly shifty, but he has solid hips and one-cut movement in the open field.
Once he hits a hole he dedicates to it, and shows great power and drive at the point of contact with a defender. He has a solid shot at finishing the year as a major contributor in the Michigan offense.
Derrick Green is the No. 4 running back and the No. 27 overall player in the country according to the 247Sports Composite Rankings.
Christian Hackenberg is one of the most talented pure passers in this class. He is stepping into a an immediate playing type situation at Penn State, as the Nittany Lions are looking for a new leader on offense.
This is a quarterback that has the skills to make every throw that Penn State would ask of him, and one that could lead this team through the rough patch that is about to begin.
Hackenberg is an athletic player for his size, showing great movement in the pocket, allowing for plays to stretch when needed. He has one of the strongest arms in the class, and could be a very good player immediately in Happy Valley.
According to the 247Sports Composite Rankings, Hackenberg is the No. 2 quarterback and the No. 13 overall player in the country.
Robbie Rhodes is the next big player in the Baylor offense. Art Briles landed a star in Rhodes, as he has the ability to impact the Bears' offense this fall.
Rhodes has elite acceleration and great quickness out of his breaks. He has elite hands, and can find separation against the top defensive backs in this class.
He has excellent field vision and knows how to find holes in the defense. Rhodes is a smart player that can see the quarterback pressure, and open new passing lanes for a distressed signal-caller.
According to the 247Sports Composite Rankings, Rhodes is the No. 3 receiver and the No. 28 overall player in the country.
Robert Foster is very similar to Crimson Tide 2012 impact freshman Amari Cooper. Foster is a very talented pass catcher that looks the part of an elite receiver.
He has the frame to add bulk once he hits college, but plays big for his size now. He is a fluid receiver that can leave defenders in his cuts, and has the ability to break tackles against reaching defensive backs.
He has great ball tracking ability and awareness on the field. He can find holes in zone and has the acceleration to gain separation in man coverage.
Despite the depth at receiver for Alabama, Foster should see some time early for the Tide.
According to the 247Sports Composite Rankings, Foster is the No. 2 receiver and the No. 23 overall player in the country.
Kelvin Taylor has the pedigree to be one of the best backs in the country—he is the son of former NFL running back Fred Taylor—but his skills separate him from his father’s legacy.
Taylor is a strong back that is already playing at ideal playing weight. His frame could add more bulk, putting him into the 225-pound range before he finishes his college career.
He doesn’t shy from contact, and at times seems to seek it out. He has great field vision and footwork, always seeming to find the right hole against the defense.
He is solid in the passing game, and is a good pass protector when called upon.
Taylor is rated as the No. 2 running back and the No. 22 overall player in the country according to the 247Sports Composite Rankings.
Lawson is an elite defensive end that brings a great blend of pass-rush and run-stopping ability to the field. His stock shot up after the summer camp circuit, and he is now considered to be the best weak-side defensive end in the country.
If he sticks with his commitment to Auburn, he will be an immediate role player for the Tigers' defense.
Auburn struggled to find a solid pass rush last year, and the defensive line lost containment in the ground game consistently. Lawson is hoping to step in and help those problems.
He is quick off of the ball and has great hand placement. He understands leverage and uses it to his advantage on nearly every down. He is an immediate impact player for the Tigers.
According to the 247Sports Composite Rankings, Lawson is the No. 1 weak-side defensive end and the No. 21 overall player in the country.
Treadwell was one of the steals in the 2013 class for the Hugh Freeze-led Ole Miss Rebels. The Rebels have landed a huge class, and Treadwell will be one of the freshmen that come in and play immediately.
This is a rangy receiver that is deceptively fast on the outside. He shows the ability to separate from the defender on fly routes, and he is quick enough out of his breaks on routes to leverage the defender for the ball.
He is a decent perimeter blocker which will help him hit the field faster in the Freeze offense. Treadwell is also consistent with his hands, rarely missing passes that land in his wheelhouse.
According to the 247Sports Composite Rankings, Treadwell is the No. 1 receiver and the No. 14 overall player in the country.
Montravius Adams is one of the elite defensive linemen in the 2013 class. He is violent at the point of attack, making him a tough block for offensive counterparts.
Adams has great initial burst, and has the ability to play under the opposing lineman’s pads. He can create havoc in the backfield, showing solid block-shedding techniques.
He may not be the most polished lineman in the class, but his skill set will allow him to make an impact early. He has great field vision, and has the ability to hawk the ball carrier quickly from his position.
He will fit well in either a 4-3 or 3-4 scheme at the next level. According to 247Sports Composite Rankings, Adams is the No. 3 defensive tackle and the No. 10 overall player in the country.
Adams is down to Georgia, Clemson and Auburn. He has an official visit set for Auburn on Feb. 1.
Reuben Foster is the best attacking linebacker in the 2013 class. He is a bull on the football field, seeing red as soon as the ball carrier receives the football.
He has great vision and a nose for the football. Foster is a strong hitter that puts his pads into every tackle. He pushes through traffic well, and has the ability to shed blocks consistently. He is not afraid to use his hands when engaged with linemen.
He is not elite against the pass, but he is the best in this class in pursuit and run support. Foster runs through the ball carrier and is a sure tackler.
He will start on special teams by Week 1, and should earn a lot of snaps on defense wherever he decides to sign.
According to the 247Sports Composite Rankings, Foster is the No. 1 inside linebacker and the No. 7 overall player in the country.
Robert Nkemdiche is one of the most elite defenders to hit the recruiting circuit in sometime. He has the body of a college junior, and the instincts to go along with his size. He can shake any defender, and has the quickness to break the outside of the line and create havoc against the pass.
He is a powerful run-stopping end, and has no problem keeping containment on the outside of the line.
He understands the proper use of leverage, and is vicious with his hands once an offensive blocker engages.
His build will force him to the line, but he has the athleticism to play with his hands up in a hybrid outside linebacker role. Whatever team lands his signature will get a player that is immediately ready to contribute as a starter on defense.
Nkemdiche is rated as the No. 1 strong-side defensive end and the No. 1 overall player in the country, according to the 247Sports Composite Rankings.
He is very high on Ole Miss heading into signing day, according to 247Sports.