12 2014 College Football Recruits Who Will Have to Wait Their Turn
Most recruits of this generation look for a school that offers them the best chance to play as a true freshman. Players do not want to redshirt, as their competitiveness leads them to believe they deserve to play right away in college.
However, sometimes recruits can overlook a program's incumbents at their position. Other times, recruits simply fall into situations where a veteran player blossoms and forces them to wait their turn. Many prospects who are in in the spotlight during this recruiting cycle will not be heard from for several seasons.
A versatile offensive player is committed to an SEC program that is loaded at his main position. A trio of quarterbacks are headed to situations where the starter will still be an underclassman when they arrive. And another pair of excellent running backs could see a season or two pass before they become "The Man" in their respective college backfields.
Michael O'Connor, QB
Michael O'Connor is a good quarterback prospect with great arm talent. He has excellent arm strength to drive the football downfield with authority.
O'Connor, who is 6'4" and 223 pounds, can also deliver accurate passes to put his receivers in favorable positions to make plays. He has the physical tools to develop into a great starter at Penn State, but one major obstacle is in his way: 2013 signee Christian Hackenberg.
Hackenberg is expected to contend for the starting quarterback job in training camp. Should he win the job, it would all but guarantee O'Connor a redshirt year and several seasons of waiting his turn in Happy Valley.
Derik Calhoun, OLB
Whether it be a 5-2 or a 3-4, USC will be running a different scheme under new defensive chief Clancy Pendergast, per a March report by Kevin Gemmell of ESPN.com.
The Trojans are looking for ways to get more athletes on the field to help stop the spread offenses employed by most of their Pac-12 conference foes.
In 2014, USC could be returning linebackers such as Lamar Dawson, Hayes Pullard, Anthony Sarao, Jabari Ruffin, along with 2013 signees Michael Hutchings and Quinton Powell. All six of those 'backers are great players who will have a better knowledge of Pendergasts's scheme than Derik Calhoun by the time the 2014 commit arrives at USC.
Calhoun, who has solid cover skills, will have to wait his turn for a season or two before he challenges for significant playing time.
Elijah Hood, RB
William Mahone, Greg Bryant and Tarean Folston are three running backs who have signed with Notre Dame within the past two recruiting cycles. The Irish are loaded with talent at the position, and room will be limited for 2014 commit Elijah Hood.
Folston is a speed back, so he will have his own niche. However, Hood is a similar runner to Mahone and Bryant, so the 2014 stud will have to make several impressive runs in training camp next year or be forced to the sidelines during the season.
Will Clapp, OG
The SEC is a league known for its physical brand of football, especially in the trenches. It is rare for a true freshman to sign with an SEC program in February, graduate from high school in the late months of spring and start in the fall.
While Will Clapp may have aspirations to be an exception to the trend, the 6'3", 270-pound guard will likely have to redshirt in 2014. Clapp has the potential to be an outstanding run-blocker, but he needs to add more bulk.
LSU has a great strength program, and Clapp must take advantage of it while waiting his turn to dominate SEC defensive linemen.
Jacob Park, QB
Aaron Murray has had a great career in Athens, and it seems like the quarterback has been at Georgia for 10 years. However, 2013 will be his final season and it will soon be time for Mark Richt to begin thinking about Murray's replacement.
Christian LeMay will be a candidate, as will 2013 signee Brice Ramsey. Per Georgia's roster breakdown on Rivals.com, the Dawgs could also have an additional four quarterbacks returning in 2014, not counting 2014 commit Jacob Park.
Park is a mobile quarterback who can buy time with his legs. He has good arm strength and a scrappy demeanor on the field. However, with Ramsey and LeMay having more experience in Georgia's offense, Park is not likely to see playing time early in his UGA career.
Quenton Nelson and Jimmy Byrne, OLs
Notre Dame has emphasized upgrading its offensive line over the past two recruiting cycles. Brian Kelly has signed trench prospects such as Steve Elmer, Mark Harrell, Mike McGlinchey, Ronnie Stanley, John Montelus, Colin McGovern and Hunter Bivin.
Quenton Nelson and Jimmy Byrne are committed to the Irish as 2014 recruits. The pair are solid prospects who will add great depth to Kelly's offensive front, but it could be awhile before they earn playing time.
The recruits who signed up to play in South Bend before them are all solid players. So do not expect Nelson and Byrne to make much noise in the initial portion of their careers.
Bo Scarbrough, RB
Alabama is known for its ability to run the football in a dominant fashion. The Crimson Tide boast fantastic running back T.J. Yeldon, who will only be a sophomore this season. Alabama also has speedy running back Kenyan Drake on its roster.
The running back depth chart for the Tide also features 2013 signees Derrick Henry, Alvin Kamara, Altee Tenpenny and Tyren Jones. Although 2014 commit Bo Scarbrough can play receiver, he is better at running back.
But with the stable of backs 'Bama has already on its roster, Scarbrough it will be awfully tough for him to get on the field for quite some time.
Dalvin Cook, RB
Dalvin Cook is an excellent running back who is committed to Florida. Cook displays good vision, agility and a terrific burst with the football. He has a high ceiling and is one of the most exciting players to watch in the nation.
However, when Cook arrives in Gainesville in 2014, he will not immediately become the lead runner for the Gators. That role will likely be occupied by 2013 signee Kelvin Taylor, who is an outstanding running back in his own right.
Taylor will get some carries in 2013 before ascending to a more significant role in Florida's offense for the 2014 season.
While Cook has the talent to earn playing time as a true freshman, he will have to wait his turn to be the lead-back for Florida.
J.J. Cosentino, QB
Jameis Winston will soon be a star at Florida State, as the young quarterback has outstanding talent. Winston has good arm strength, athleticism and field vision.
J.J. Cosentino is committed to the Seminoles, and he should be prepared to see limited playing time until Winston leaves. If Winston stays healthy, he should be the starter until he leaves Tallahassee, which could be at least two years into Cosentino's Florida State career.
Sony Michel and Nick Chubb, RBs
Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall are two of the best running backs in the country. The duo are an outstanding tandem for Mark Richt at Georgia, as they compliment each other's skills well.
The pair of runners will only be sophomores this season, which means they will return for the 2014 season, when running back commitments Sony Michel and Nick Chubb arrive.
Both of the Bulldog commits are used to carrying the load. However, they will not be able to do that immediately in Athens due to the presence of Marshall and Gurley.
Even when the incumbents leave UGA, Michel and Chubb will still have to get used to sharing carries with one another.