Former Longhorn RB Traylon Shead is a top-rated JUCO transfer for SMU in 2013.
Though we’re all pretty clear regarding which programs scored top-rated high school recruits, what about discussing which teams achieved big wins via JUCO transfers?
The truth is, in many cases, maturing and aging is necessary for guys fresh out of high school, while athletes coming from a community or junior college are ready to hit the ground running.
And this all equals the potential for immediate impact in their first season on the job.
The following slideshow pinpoints 16 JUCO transfers that have the best chances of making a concrete impact in the 2013 season.
We may hear more about these guys in the upcoming campaign or, alternatively, will silently be a huge part of a success story with glorious implications.
Darious Cummings at Florida State in August of 2011
Darious Cummings, a 6’3”, 305 pound DT transferring from East Mississippi C.C. in Scooba, Miss. should be an immediate boost to a Gator squad that returns only one starter to its D-line in 2013.
Cummings carries a 4-star rating from Rivals.com and earned the No. 7 ranking among the junior college postseason top 100 for 2013.
Cummings, who spent 2010-11 at Florida State before suffering an injury, will need to hit the ground running to help the Gator D, a unit which ranked No. 5 nationally in scoring, continue to give the Florida O, which ranked No. 78 in scoring, time to get geared up.
Kansas' defense struggled epically in 2012.
Really, the Kansas defense will need every single ounce of immediate impact they can get in 2013 to improve on a unit that finished the 2012 season ranked No. 111 nationally in scoring, No. 98 vs. the run and No. 116 against the pass.
Marquel Combs is a 6’3”, 305 pound DT transferring in from Pierce C.C. in Woodland Hills, Calif., and will join a D-line that returns three starters from last season’s product.
Combs earned a 4-star rating from Rivals and ranks No. 10 among the junior college postseason top 100.
Nebraska's defense gave up 539 yards of rushing to Wisconsin in the 2012 Big Ten title game.
Another defensive lineman that should have an immediate impact, 6’6”, 230 pound Randy Gregory transfers into Nebraska from Arizona Western C.C. in Yuma, Ariz.
Gregory will join a Husker D-line that returns only one starter in 2013; a situation that is made considerably worse considering that this is a unit that ranked No. 92 nationally vs. the run in 2012.
Nebraska’s poor performance vs. solid rushing teams is the common thread that runs through each of its four losses last season.
As far as ratings, Gregory earned 4-stars from Rivals.com and ranks No. 11 among the junior college top 100.
In the same way that DT transfer Marquel Combs should positively impact the beleaguered Kansas defense, DE Chris Martin should be welcomed with open arms.
Martin is a 6’5”, 260 pound transfer from the City College of San Francisco and rates 4 stars and owns the No. 13 overall ranking in the Rivals.com Junior College 100.
Again, Kansas will likely need every bit of help it can get defensively, a claim backed up by the fact that the Jayhawks allowed 36.1 points per game in 2012.
Utah finished the 2012 season ranked No. 100 in passing yards.
Transferring in to aid a Utah passing attack that finished the season ranked No. 100 nationally in passing yards, Andre Lewis should be a sight for sore eyes to Utes fans.
Lewis, a 6’4”, 220 pound WR coming from Diablo Valley C.C. in Pleasant Hill, Calif. is a 4-star rated athlete who owns the No. 16 slot in the Rivals.com junior college 100.
Though the Utes are set to return three receivers from a year ago, Lewis ought to be another valuable weapon in Dennis Erickson’s (who just joined Utah’s staff as the co-OC) arsenal.
The Buckeyes finished the 2012 season ranked No. 105 in passing yards.
WR Corey Smith, another receiver making a move to a program that desperately needs some help with a pass offense that struggled epically in 2012, transfers to Ohio State for the 2013 season from East Mississippi C.C. in Scooba, Miss.
The Buckeyes air attack finished the 2012 season ranked a dismal No. 105 nationally, which contrasts starkly with their No. 10 rushing ranking.
Eventually, Braxton Miller and the Bucks will need to throw the ball and Smith, a 4-star, 6’0”, 170 pound receiver who ranks No. 18 overall in the Rivals.com Junior College 100, certainly can’t hurt.
K-State's QB Daniel Sams will compete with Jake Waters for the starting job in 2013.
With the exit of Collin Klein, the QB position at Kansas State is open for business.
Daniel Sams, an incoming sophomore from Slidell, La., played a couple of downs during the West Virginia and Oklahoma State contests last season. Other than that, the Wildcats have no experienced options.
Transferring in from Iowa Western C.C. in Council Bluffs, Iowa, QB Jake Waters will likely push Sams for the starting job this fall.
Waters, the top ranked junior college QB as per Rivals.com, is a 3-star rated athlete who is ranked No. 20 overall in the JUCO 100 and led his Reivers to the NJCAA national championship in 2012.
The Sooners were No. 94 vs. the run in 2012.
Transferring in from Trinity Valley C.C. in Athens, Texas, DT Quincy Russell will join an Oklahoma D-Line which returns only a single starter from 2012.
It’s crucial to point out that the Sooner D ranked a dismal No. 94 vs. the run last season.
It will likely need more than a couple of quick-impact players to right the ship.
Either way, Russell is a 6’3", 311 pound, 3-star rated transfer that earned the No. 21 overall ranking in the Rivals.com JUCO 100.
He should have an excellent opportunity to see how his talent stacks up in the Big 12 ranks.
The Georgia D finished the 2012 season ranked No. 80 vs. the run.
In news that ought to strike fear into the hearts of Bulldog fans everywhere, Georgia’s No. 18 ranked scoring defense from 2012 returns zero starters to its D-line in 2013.
And this makes the influx of players such as transfer DT Chris Meyers absolutely critical.
Meyers comes to Georgia from Gulf Coast C.C. in Perkinston, Miss. and at 6’4”, 315 pounds he ranks No. 25 in the Rivals.com JUCO 100 and earned a 3-star rating.
What’s also intriguing about the Bulldog defense from a year ago is that despite a No. 18 national ranking in scoring and a No. 8 rank vs. the pass, Georgia struggled vs. the run to the tune of a final No. 80 ranking.
Georgia gave up, on average, 182 ground yards per game in 2012, making it the third-worst squad against the run in the SEC last season, finishing just ahead of Tennessee and Auburn.
West Virginia returns only three offensive starters in 2013.
The Mountaineers are set to return a mere three offensive starters in 2013 and included in this number are a single receiver and two linemen.
Though West Virginia’s offense was definitely a pass-dominated attack in 2012, it still managed a No. 54 national ranking in rushing yards.
Any influx of talent, even in the backfield, has to be considered a very good thing.
Dreamius Smith, a 6’1”, 220 pound RB transferring in from Butler County C.C. in El Dorado, Kan. ought to be able to provide the Mountaineers with an immediate jolt on offense.
Smith earned a 3-star rating from Rivals.com, and ranked No. 27 overall in the JUCO 100 and No. 2 among running backs.
The Aggies D returns zero starters at LB in 2013.
Though lots of attention will be heaped on the Aggies offensive fortunes moving into 2013, don’t forget that Texas A&M will need to fill some sizable holes in a D that finished 2012 ranked No. 26 in scoring.
The Aggies aren’t returning a single starter at the LB position in 2013, which means that the immediate impact of transfer LB Tommy Sanders from Butler County C.C. in El Dorado, Kan. might prove key to A&M in its quest to take the SEC by storm.
Sanders is a 6’2”, 220 pound player who has a posted time of 4.45 seconds in the 40, earned 3-stars from Rivals.com, and holds the No. 30 overall slot and the No. 2 LB ranking in the JUCO 100.
Iowa State finished the 2012 season ranked No. 77 vs. the run.
Because Iowa State returns fewer starters than all but four teams in the entire FBS, many transfers and fresh-from-high-school recruits will have an opportunity to make an immediate impact in 2013.
Given that the Cyclones are set to return only one starter from last season’s D-line, the transfer of DE Rodney Coe from Iowa Western C.C. in Council Bluffs, Iowa might be one of the more significant signings of the offseason.
Coe, a 6’3”, 275 pound member of Iowa Western’s 2012 NJCAA national championship squad, rates 3 stars on Rivals and No. 36 overall in the JUCO 100.
He’ll be joining a defense that managed a No. 38 national ranking in scoring in 2012 but finished at No. 77 vs. the run and No. 102 against the pass.
He’ll have lots of opportunities to take things up a notch.
Kansas finished the 2012 season ranked No. 22 in rushing yards.
Kansas finished the 2012 ranked No. 22 in rushing yards vs. No. 117 in passing, so it’s safe to say that the Jayhawks O-line may be absolutely critical to its hopes to improve on the one-win total from a year ago.
Kansas is set to welcome two offensive line starters back in 2013, which makes the transfer of OL Mike Smithburg from Iowa Western C.C. in Council Bluffs, Iowa a huge deal.
Smithburg is a 6’3”, 300 pound player who earned 3 stars from Rivals and a ranking of No. 41 overall in the JUCO 100.
Auburn's Kiehl Frazier, who will compete for the starting QB role in 2013.
Before everyone starts trying to figure out where Nick Marshall might fit into an Auburn QB race that already includes Kiehl Frazier and Jonathan Wallace, it’s important to remember that this is the same guy who played DB (in a very limited capacity) at Georgia in 2011.
Sure, Marshall tore it up as a QB at Garden City C.C. in Garden City, Kan. in 2012 and yes, he’s got serious skills as a dual-threat guy, but, the jury is still out on how he’ll fare in the SEC.
But, all logical assertions aside, it will be exciting to see what Marshall, a 6’2”, 190 pound 3-star transfer, can do at Auburn.
Marshall holds the No. 43 overall spot in the Rivals JUCO 100 and is the No. 2 ranked QB.
Traylon Shead at Texas in 2010.
SMU is another program that is decidedly lean on returning starters in 2013, bringing back a mere nine guys from last season.
Totally devoid from what was the No. 95 ranked rushing attack from 2012 is the return of a starting RB, giving Navarro J.C. (Corsicana, Texas) transfer Traylon Shead what may be a golden opportunity to get on the big stage early and often.
Shead was initially recruited out of high school as a 4-star and was the No. 16 rated back in the class of 2010. He spent the 2010 and 2011 seasons as a Texas Longhorn before opting to transfer out.
Shead is a 6’2”, 225 pound back who earned 3-stars and a No. 45 overall ranking in the Rivals JUCO 100.
In 2013 Alabama returns two starters from its 2012 O-line.
Even though the Crimson Tide have been extremely capable of filling holes with fresh recruits in the Nick Saban era, the 2013 Alabama squad will have its work cut out for it rebuilding a stellar O-line which returns a mere two starters.
This makes the transfer of OL Leon Brown, a 6’6”, 300 pound beast from ASA College in Brooklyn, N.Y. absolutely huge.
Brown is a 3-star rated guy who ranks at No. 50 among the Rivals JUCO 100 and No. 7 among offensive linemen.