College Football Recruiting 2013: Players Who Will Make an Instant Impact

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistFebruary 6, 2013

Photo courtesy of 247 Sports
Photo courtesy of 247 Sports

Fans love national signing day because it represents the future of their college football team. In most cases, however, the players do not step on the field for a few years.

Even the best recruits in the nation often spend a year or two gaining strength and learning the new college system before making an impact at the next level.

However, there are still a few top prospects that will be the exception. These players are most likely to make an impact as soon as the 2013 season.


Robert Nkemdiche, DE, Ole Miss

It did not really matter where Robert Nkemdiche committed. Whichever team was lucky enough to get him on campus was likely to start him right away.

The defensive end is an incredible athlete with great size but has the ability to move like a running back. He can fight through blocks using his strength and technique, and few tackles in college football will be able to keep him away from the quarterback.

On Ole Miss, he will be able to instantly transform the defense into a competitive squad in the SEC. Offenses certainly cannot be successful if they cannot get plays off without disruption.

Nkemdiche is the top player in the nation for a reason, and NFL teams will not be able to wait to draft him in three years.


Robert Foster, WR, Alabama

Alabama has a number of top recruits in this class, but the same can be said about each of the last few years. This means that the waiting list on starting spots is pretty long at each position.

However, there is an opening at receiver. Amari Cooper starred as a freshman last season and finished with 59 catches for 1,000 yards and 11 touchdowns. Unfortunately, each of these numbers was more than twice as many as anyone else on the squad.

A.J. McCarron is ready to step up and be an elite passer for the Crimson Tide. However, he will need some more receiving targets to do that.

Robert Foster is a player that can do that with elite speed and elusiveness. He can turn short routes into big gains or he can beat defensive backs over the top. Either way, he is someone that needs the ball in his hands.

Tight end O.J. Howard can also be a big-time threat in the receiving game, but he will not have as much of an immediate impact as Foster.


Derrick Green, RB, Michigan

Last season, Michigan got very little production from the running back position. Denard Robinson was fantastic as a running quarterback, but he did not get much support.

Fitzgerald Toussaint rushed for only 514 yards at an average of only four yards per carry. He did not top 100 yards at all during the year.

Thomas Rawls also showed potential, but he had many more bad games than good ones in 2012.

This leaves a big opportunity for incoming freshman Derrick Green. The Virginia native is the No. 4 running back in the nation in 247's composite rankings and has the skill to play immediately.

With a great combination of both speed and power, Green will be the offensive threat that the Wolverines need to replace the loss of Robinson.