Recruits of this generation are more physically mature and have received better coaching. Therefore, many prospects can make an early impact on a college team. Quarterbacks receive year-round coaching and prep passers are better at reading coverages and defensive fronts than players in years past.
This trend resonates with all other positions, however not all recruits are ready to play college football as true freshmen. Redshirting today is seen as a negative thing by young players, whereas in years past recruits gladly welcomed sitting out a season to hone their skills or add size. While many recruits from the 2014 class will go on to play as true freshmen, some will need to redshirt.
A quarterback who is committed to an SEC program may be better off taking things slow as a freshman. A terrific offensive guard may need to spend a year working on his body and conditioning, while a lean defensive end needs to use his initial college season by spending countless hours in the weight room.
Scarbrough, who can be a receiver and linebacker, is a running prospect who is committed to Alabama. He is a great straight line runner with good leg power and speed.
Scarbrough, who is 6'2" and 225 pounds, will be physically ready to play for the Tide, however he may need to redshirt to separate himself from the incumbents on the roster. Alabama signed four excellent running back prospects in 2013, plus returning star T.J. Yeldon will only be a sophomore.
Perhaps Scarbrough could ask to play receiver and attempt to get on the field at that position in 2014. However, Alabama also has good young talent at that position. To distance himself from the veterans, while learning the playbook at a slower pace, it would be wise for Scarbrough to redshirt.
Featherston, who could decide between Clemson and N.C. State, is a defensive end who stands 6'7". He towers over everyone on the field and is a solid athlete.
However, Featherston weighs a light 215-pounds and needs to add bulk. He is quick at the snap and shows good agility, but Featherston is not ready to battle college offensive linemen.
He lacks strength, a powerful anchor and the ability to escape blocks. Offensive linemen would be able to overwhelm Featherston as a freshman and he would be a liability as a run defender.
Wherever Featherston lands, it will be critical that he become best friends with the strength coach. Featherston needs to redshirt to work on adding strength and body mass.
Mama, who possess quick feet, is a road-grading guard prospect who will be a mauler in college. He has good snap quickness, plays strong at the point of attack and has no issues moving big defensive linemen off their spot to clear alleys.
However, Mama is listed at 340 pounds and looks to weigh even more. His conditioning is limited by his weight, and if he is not careful, Mama could get too big and hinder his quickness.
Mama, who is 6'5", will be ready to crack the two-deep line up as a freshman, but he may be best served by redshirting. Should Mama use his freshman season to re-compose his body, drop some weight and improve his conditioning, he will be ready to start as a redshirt freshman.
Roberson, who is committed to Texas, is a stud defensive end prospect. He is explosive at the snap, can bend around the pocket and has a good burst to surge on the quarterback.
Roberson, who is 6'4" and 218 pounds, has deceptive strength and is tough as a run defender. However, he is light in the pants at 218 pounds and, at best, is a situational pass-rusher as a true freshman. He will have issues anchoring versus offensive linemen and setting the edge to stop run plays.
Roberson may be redshirted in 2014 so he can add bulk and mass. He aspires to be an every-down defensive end and for them to achieve his goal, he needs to get bigger.
A redshirt year would help.
Barker, who is committed to Kentucky, is a solid quarterback prospect who will be a good fit in offensive coordinator Neal Brown's Air-Raid attack. However, as of this spring, Kentucky has three sophomore quarterbacks, including Patrick Towles.
Barker, who is 6'4" and 210 pounds, is from the Bluegrass State and will be a fan favorite. Yet, it would be wise for him not to rush his development and to take things slow.
He should spend his first year learning Brown's offense while adjusting to the speed of the college game. Working on his fundamentals and mastering his trade as a redshirt player should be his goal in 2014, not to start as a true freshman.