The Big Ten is layered with talented recruits this cycle as a number of teams had major hauls this signing day. A number of players were early enrollees as well, further increasing their shot at landing playing time this fall.
No matter how hard some players try, they are still likely bound for a redshirt year.
Redshirts come for a number of reasons. Some players need to be developed, while others are just waiting their turn in line. Here is a look at 10 players from the Big Ten that should redshirt in 2013—some of the names may surprise you.
Ezekiel Elliot is one of the top running back prospects in the country and will be an impact back before his time at Ohio State concludes. This coming fall won’t be the year that he breaks out.
There is a ton of depth in the backfield ahead of Elliott headlined by Carlos Hyde and Rod Smith.
Elliott will step out and become a star in 2014. Smith may be a 2014 Draft prospect, and Hyde will graduate after this season.
According to 247Sports Composite Rankings, Elliot is the No. 5 all-purpose back in the 2013 class.
Evan Lisle is a solid offensive line prospect that was rated as the No. 6 offensive tackle in the 2013 class according to the 247Sports Composite Rankings.
He would be able to step in and start at a number of top programs, but at Ohio State he will be pushed to a redshirt. He has the skill, but his size will limit an early impact—he is 6’5”, 260 pounds.
Ohio State shored up the future at the line by landing Lisle, but there is enough talent on roster to fill out the two-deep this spring. Look for Lisle to be an impact player in the future, but it won’t start in 2013.
Shane Morris is prepared to be a rising star for the Wolverines at quarterback, and he appears to be the future at the position.
Morris will be in the discussion for the quarterback race this fall, but Devin Gardner is firmly entrenched as the starter, and Morris could use a redshirt season—every quarterback can.
Brady Hoke knows that his offense has been able to function very well with Gardner at quarterback and there would be no reason to toss Morris into the fire of game-day if he wasn’t completely ready.
According to the 247Sports Composite Rankings Morris is the No. 3 pro-style quarterback in the 2013 class.
The Cornhuskers need help on defense heading into the 2013 season, but Newby won’t be an immediate answer for this team.
Newby has a solid frame—6’1”, 210 pounds—that can add a lot of bulk in a college weight program and a years’ worth of redshirt workouts. He will be a player that eventually fills a major need for the Cornhuskers.
He was ranked the No. 20 outside linebacker in the 2013 recruiting cycle according to the 247Sports Composite Rankings.
Christian Hackenberg is a very talented quarterback that is the future of the Penn State program. Make no mistake: this player was signed to become the leader of the Nittany Lions program and to help guide this team out of the NCAA sanctions mess that looms over the program.
Hackenberg was looking more and more like a starting option this fall until the Nittany Lions landed early enrollee Tyler Ferguson.
As the 2013 season begins to come into view, it will come clear that Hackenberg is destined for a redshirt. The 2013 No. 2 pro-style quarterback is the future in Happy Valley, it just doesn’t begin in 2013.
Damion Terry brings a unique look to the quarterback positon for Michigan State. The Spartans have relied on pocket passers as of late, but Terry is rated as the No. 5 dual-threat quarterback in the country and will add a new dimension to the Spartans attack.
It won’t happen this year.
Terry will step in behind Andrew Maxwell and learn the Spartans offense while becoming groomed for the future starting role. He is a very talented player that will bring a lot of excitement to the offense in the future, but 2013 will bring a redshirt.
The Fighting Illini signed a surprisingly strong class in 2013 and a major piece of the class was athletic skill players. Dionte Taylor is one of those guys. He is a 6’0”, 170 pound receiver that has all the skills to be a solid player in the future, but at this point he is a developmental guy.
Taylor was rated as the No. 183 wide receiver in the 2013 class by the 247Sports Composite Rankings.
There are a lot of players that came in this class that will be asked to contribute immediately, but Taylor will be one of the players that develops this fall while earning a redshirt.
Alec James is listed as the No. 22 athlete in the country according to the 247Sports Composite Rankings, but he will likely fit somewhere along the defensive line for the Badgers.
He is a strong defensive end prospect that has a quick initial burst, and a motor that doesn’t stop running. James is a developmental type defensive end that will benefit from a redshirt year.
He is listed at 6’4”, 225 pounds and has the frame to add a lot of good bulk and play in the 250 pound range.
He could be an immediate impact guy, but it is better to turn him into a physical freak and skilled tactician from the end position with a redshirt year.
The Indiana Hoosiers landed a modest class with a number of talented players that are expected make plays immediately this fall. Maurice Swain was a solid pickup at offensive tackle coming in as the No. 50 tackle in the country for 2013.
He is a sizable player at 6’5”, 290 pounds but he has a lot of developmental work that needs to be done with his pad level and footwork at the college level.
Swain has the chance to be a very special player for the Hoosiers, but it will come after a redshirt year and a lot of instruction along the line. Solid prospect, but he needs work.
The Hawkeyes finished the year as the No. 49 defense in the country and in the bottom half of the country in run defense. The Hawkeyes need help upfront on defense, and landing Brant Gressel will be a big help down the line.
He is a skilled defensive tackle that plays with a nasty burst and motor. The one downside is his 6’2”, 279 pound size. He needs to add bulk, and a redshirt year will help that.
To stop Big Ten offenses, Gressel needs to add at least 20 pounds.
Gressel is rated as the No. 53 defensive tackle in the country according to the 247Sports Composite Rankings.