Which Big 12 Recruits Will Contribute Right Away in 2013?
With signing day over and spring practice right around the corner, it's time to mull over the turn key athletes—those players who are ready to go and compete for a starting position or contribute in a reserve capacity.
In other words, no redshirts for these guys.
The Big 12 as a whole had a good recruiting period, and those teams who early enrolled players have some outstanding talent who could be contributors right away.
By team, we'll quickly go through who's on my radar as an immediate impact player.
Four-star safety Ahmad Thomas has early enrolled and as of Jan. 7 is in school. The big defensive back (6-0, 195) should compete for the two open spots left by Tony Jefferson and Javon Harris.
Four-star defensive end D.J. Ward is also enrolled and should be a contender for two vacant starting spots.
Also keep your eyes on punter Jed Barnett, a JUCO transfer.
He's not an early enrollee, but I seriously doubt 5-star offensive guard Darius James (6-6, 320) will redshirt this season. Texas needs to be able to run the ball against "great teams," according to head coach Mack Brown, so James should see playing time and create some bigger holes.
These blue chippers don't want to sit on the bench anymore.
Texas has also had some issues with its linebacker play and 4-star Deoundrei Davis might be able to diffuse the struggling play of that corps. The U.S. Army All-American enrolled in mid-January, so look for him at spring camp.
With Nick Florence gone, the quarterback competition may get real interesting in Waco, Tx.
Three-star dual threat quarterback Chris Johnson is 6-5, 222 and runs a 4.6 in the 40-yard dash. Yep, I want to see this kid operate under head coach Art Briles' system and all of us will get the chance since he enrolled Wednesday.
Five-star wide receiver Robbie Rhodes—one of the top receivers in the country—is another player to keep your eyes on. College football's best receivers have started a trend of leaving their schools after only three years so why not at least get all three years out of him instead of redshirting him?
Oklahoma State Cowboys
No one in Oklahoma State's class of 2013 has early enrolled so this gets a little more complicated since head coach Mike Gundy "only" signed three JUCOs.
But the Cowboys will have to replace running back Joseph Randle, who declared early for the 2013 NFL Draft, and they have some fantastic athletes from which to choose.
West Virginia Mountaineers
Who will be replacing quarterback Geno Smith? Maybe we'll have to wait until 3-star dual threat quarterback Chavas Rawlins has his spring camp. Rawlins (enrolled early) runs a 4.6 40 so that has to get some Mountaineer fans pumped up for this season.
Three-star safety Malik Greaves is also an intriguing athlete. At 6'3" and 200 pounds, he's big and the Mountaineers could certainly use some big hitters in their secondary. Greaves was a former Vanderbilt commit and has enrolled early.
TCU Horned Frogs
Four-star running back Kyle Hicks will be hard to redshirt. The former Texas commit will no doubt be competing to start this season, and there's no reason to think he won't get considerable attention from head coach Gary Patterson.
Also, keep your eyes on 3-star defensive end Joseph Noteboom. Stansly Maponga defected early to the NFL and Devonte Fields is a lock to take over one of the open spots, but there's plenty of room for some competition for the other spot.
Texas Tech Red Raiders
Seth Doege is gone and a pro style quarterback, Davis Webb, has enrolled early at Texas Tech. Davis is going to have to put on some weight (6-4, 195), but spring camp's competition for quarterback should be fun to watch.
Also, watch out for 4-star offensive tackle Cody Hayes. The Red Raiders have a lot of holes to fill on the line and Davis could get some playing time this year.
Now we know why Cowboy head coach Mike Gundy signed only three JUCOs, Kansas head coach Charlie Weis signed 17. What that means is that there won't be any redshirts for these guys, they'll be playing right away with most of them very experienced.
Defensive tackle Marquel Combs is the guy I'm looking forward to watching the most. He's big (6-3, 305) and runs the 40 in under five seconds.
Kansas State Wildcats
Kansas State head coach Bill Snyder is known for going heavy on JUCOs and this year's class had plenty, but not as high as usual.
One notable JUCO is quarterback Jake Waters (Iowa Western Community College), he looks like another gem for Snyder. Waters reportedly debated between Penn State and Kansas State before signing with the Wildcats.
With so many accolades bestowed on quarterback Collin Klein, Waters has some big shoes to fill and that's why most of my attention will be on him.
Iowa State Cyclones
Four-star offensive tackle Jake Campos was a huge get for Cyclone head coach Paul Rhoads.
I can't wait to watch this kid in action, and with both tackles (Carter Bykowski and Brayden Burris) gone, Campos (6-7, 245) would be considered a lock to see some playing time. But I can't help but think he'll redshirt, he looks a little thin.
Campos is a wait-and-see.