2013 College Football Signees Who Must Stand out in Fall Camp
It is almost time for college football, which means non-early enrolling freshmen will be practicing for the first time with their college teams. Coaches don't like to rely on freshmen, who must endure a steep learning curve. However, several 2013 signees are entering situations where they must stand out in camp.
A Big Ten school needs its incoming stud defensive end to hit the ground running. At another Big Ten school, a pocket-passing quarterback needs to have a great fall camp if he wants to start. And at an SEC school, at least one running back out of a great freshman quartet needs to separate himself from the pack.
Demarcus Robinson, WR, Florida
It's no secret that Florida is in great need of receivers. The Gators are so desperate for playmaking on the perimeter that star cornerback Loucheiz Purifoy will see action at receiver this fall.
Demarcus Robinson, a 2013 signee, was one of the best receivers in his class. He is 6'1.5" and 196 pounds, has good speed and a high ceiling.
Robinson needs to be focused in fall camp because Florida will need him to play a major role this season. If Robinson doesn't have a good camp, it could signal continued struggles for the Gators' passing attack.
Ty Isaac, RB, USC
Running back Justin Davis signed with USC in its 2013 class, enrolled early and participated in spring practices. Davis has impressed the Trojans' coaches, and he could be in position to get significant carries this fall, according to Johnny Curren of WeAreSC.com.
Ty Isaac also signed with USC in 2013 and was generally regarded as the better prospect. With Davis enrolling early and making a great first impression, Isaac needs to make up ground by having a great fall camp.
If he doesn't, he will be redshirted while Davis plays a key role in the USC offense this fall.
Taco Charlton, DE, Michigan
Brady Hoke, a defensive line coach at heart, undoubtedly wants Michigan to be able to control the line of scrimmage in the defensive trenches, but he also knows how important it is to get to the quarterback.
The Wolverines are in need of defensive ends (cough, 2014 prospect Da'Shawn Hand, cough), and Charlton will be asked to play early and often in Ann Arbor. He needs to use his 6'6", 255-pound frame to make his presence felt right off the bat in fall camp.
Marquez North, WR, Tennessee
Justin Hunter and Cordarrelle Patterson led the Vols in receiving last season, combined for 119 catches. However, they are gone to the NFL, along with the next two players who trailed them in receptions.
So, it is safe to assume new head coach Butch Jones will be looking for receivers in fall camp. That is why 2013 signee Marquez North needs to get off to a great start.
The 6'4", 212-pound receiver has terrific speed, strength and athleticism. If he reaches his full potential, he will remind people of Terrell Owens during his days with the San Francisco 49ers—minus the antics.
Alvin Kamara, Derrick Henry, Altee Tenpenny and Tyren Jones, RBs, Alabama
Although the 2013 recruiting cycle ended months ago, it is still unbelievable that Alabama signed four outstanding running backs. All four could have easily gone somewhere else to start as a true freshman.
However, each stuck with his Crimson Tide pledge and will be in Tuscaloosa—for now. With T.J. Yeldon firmly entrenched as the starter, plus Kenyan Drake and Dee Hart on the roster, carries will be limited.
As a result, one of the incoming running backs needs to separate himself from the pack by having a good fall camp. If not, no back in the quartet will see significant action until perhaps the 2015 season.
Chris Hawkins, CB, USC
USC is so desperate for cornerbacks that freshman safety Su'a Cravens could start at nickelback. Cravens is a great player, as he has the athleticism and instincts to be fine at the position, but he is best suited as a safety.
2013 signee Chris Hawkins was a candidate to redshirt, but due to the Trojans' woes on the defensive perimeter, he could win a starting job with a great showing in fall camp.
Hawkins is a long 6'0", 175-pound cover corner who has great hips, short-area quickness and the ability to press receivers at the line. He could go from a slam-dunk redshirt recruit to a sure-fire starter if he plays well in preseason camp.
Cooper Bateman, QB, Alabama
When Cooper Bateman signed with Alabama in 2013, he became the quarterback prospect with the most arm talent Alabama head coach Nick Saban has ever brought to Alabama.
My, how quickly things can change, as 2014 commit David Cornwell can give Bateman a run for his money in the arm-talent category. Cornwell is a 6'5" quarterback who is not coming to Tuscaloosa to sit behind Bateman.
So with AJ McCarron being a senior, and Bateman wanting to be the guy to replace him in 2014, he needs a strong fall camp in 2013. If not, that will only give Cornwell more room to impress Saban and win the starting job as a true freshman next season.
Robert Nkemdiche, DE, Ole Miss
Consensus No. 1 recruit Robert Nkemdiche went through one of the most fascinating recruitments in history. In fact, many observers will gladly call it a "saga."
However, Ole Miss signed him in the end, and it is now time for Nkemdiche to refocus on playing football. He has a ton of hype surrounding him, and Hugh Freeze will need him to produce right away in Oxford.
With the lack of quality competition for a starting job at Ole Miss, if Nkemdiche doesn't stand out in fall camp, the "bust" whispers will come in September.
Christian Hackenberg, QB, Penn State
Penn State is going through its darkest time in program history. However, one of the bright spots for Nittany Lion supporters is the thought of golden boy quarterback prospect Christian Hackenberg flourishing in Happy Valley and leading the program back to glory.
Hackenberg comes to fall camp with perhaps the most pressure on him of any true freshman in the country. He is expected to win the starting quarterback job, and he has to lead a program that can not qualify for the postseason for three more seasons.
Coupled with a great amount of hype and a head coach, Bill O'Brien, who tutored future Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady, Hackenberg needs to come out firing in fall camp.