Impact Players to Watch for in 2009
College football is right around the corner and will be here before we know it. It's that time when we as fans start looking for the upcoming impact players for the season; guys that could have breakout seasons, or have huge improvements from last year.
These players look to have huge years and could be responsible for how their teams end up.
We all know who the regular impact players will be, but these players are the ones to watch in the future. Since freshman and sophomores are asked to make immediate impacts, these guys will be called upon to carry their teams.
Terrelle Pryor: QB, Ohio State
Terrelle Pryor enters his young sophomore season as the starter/leader/force behind Ohio State.
He's Vince Young in the making, only hopefully he won't end up having an emotional breakdown. However, we're only talking college here. Look for Pryor to be making a trip to New York either this year, or next year.
Robert Griffin: QB, Baylor
Pretty crazy that I have a Baylor Bear on this list, huh?
Well call me insane then, because this guy is the real deal. He's fast, athletic, smart— he's got it all.
He will be hurting with the departure of Jason Smith at left tackle, but he's poised for a huge year and we might even see Baylor making some huge upsets this season.
Roy Helu Jr.: RB, Nebraska
Roy Helu Jr. for all of you Nebraska fans. This talented running back will be the fuel that drives NU this season.
Their defense should be improved, but with no clear cut quarterback, Helu is going to have to step up. He's capable, just watch his tape against Clemson in the bowl game last season.
Da'Quan Bowers: DE, Clemson
First of all, this guy matched all of the hype last year. A force. He was an impact player from day one, and he looks to be a huge contributor to the pass rush and run support this upcoming season.
Although I don't see Clemson having a great season, Bowers will be dynamic.
Nigel Bradham: LB, Florida State
The huge true sophomore will be asked to follow in the footsteps of the great linebackers of FSU history. Fortunately, he has everything that it takes to be amazing.
He's huge—6'3", 260 lbs. He's fast, with 4.5 second 40-yard dash. He is athletic and plays with a mean streak. He'll be everything and more for the 'Noles.
Julio Jones: WR, Alabama
I read in a preseason magazine that Julio Jones looked like he could show up to the NFL combine out of high school and nobody would bat an eye. They were right. This guy looks like he's ready for the pros.
He's tall and athletic. He's not your typical receiver; he has power. He reminds me of Fitzgerald and Boldin combined. He'll be the spark to a young 'Bama offense. Look for him to have a huge season.
A.J.Green: WR, Georgia
The other phenomenal wide receiver to come out of the 2008 class. Green matched the billing. He was amazing last season and although he will be without Stafford, he's still going to put up huge numbers.
Green should have a break out season, and could even match the potential of his counterpart, Julio Jones.
Marvin Austin: DT, North Carolina
Austin is a beast. He's been exceptional since he stepped on campus at UNC.
He was the highly touted defensive tackle that was pursued by absolutely everyone. He hasn't quite had that breakout season that everyone has been hoping for, but I have a feeling that he will this season.
Butch Davis has North Carolina going no where but up, and Austin will have a lot to contribute to that.
Ryan Reynolds: LB, Oklahoma
No, not the actor. The other Ryan Reynolds, you know the guy that's going to be on everyone's Butkus award list by the end of the year? That guy.
Without a question, when he went out for the season against Texas, that's not only the reason why OU lost the game, but it's also the reason they lost to Florida.
Reynolds is the heart and soul of Oklahoma's defense; look for him to have a huge season in '09.
Damian Williams: WR, USC
He had a quiet season last year, that is, until the bowl game.
It looked like Williams was out there playing catch with former USC quarterback Mark Sanchez. He's a very talented wideout that everyone seemed to forget about.
I honestly think that Williams will be the top wide receiver taken in the draft next year. Although that may be a stretch, he can spread the defense and runs amazing routes.
Jake Locker: QB, Washington
I'm not even going to get started on how Washington is going to a team to look out for this season, but I'm not downgrading their star quarterback by any means. Locker has potential to be a first rounder.
Wow, that even looks weird typing that! He has great physical skills and although his passing is a little raw, it should improve greatly under Sarkisian.
Andre Debose: WR, Florida
Florida waved goodbye to Harvin and welcomed Debose with open arms. He has yet to play a single down of college football, but he dominated in the spring game.
He's everything Florida was looking for in a playmaker, and they really landed a gem. Debose will match the success that Harvin had as a freshman and then some.
Patrick Peterson: CB, LSU
Had a great year for the Bayou Bengals. A top notch cover corner, he emerged as one of the nation's best towards the end of the season last year. Started the final four games of the season and made an immediate impact.
Peterson will have a huge year this season.
Bryce Brown: RB, Tennessee
I know he's going to be a freshman, and I know that he is supposedly a drama queen, but he wants to make a name for himself. That's easy to see; he's playing for the biggest ego in college sports in Lane Kiffin.
It should be interesting to see how he adapts to the college game, but honestly, he's going to be huge for the Vols.
We all know the regulars are going to have huge years. Tim Tebow, Colt McCoy, Sam Bradford, Dez Bryant, Taylor Mays, etc.
I could go on and on. I'm talking about the guys that everyone is anticipating and expected to have break out seasons and be impact players.