For incoming freshmen, the fall season brings cramped dorms, introductory classes, and an orientation to big time college football. Whether you are a spectator or a player, the first game in your stadium is a memorable one.
Here is a list of players that will more than likely be on the field rather than on the bench come August. (Players are listed in alphabetical order and all rankings are according to Rivals.com)
Part I: Offense
Jamal Berry, RB, Ohio St – There is no lack of talent on the Buckeyes roster, but Berry brings a special blend of speed and power to the table. Look for him to get a fair share of touches, unless QB Terelle Pryor goes all Vince Young on us and just wins a championship by himself.
Jheranie Boyd, WR, North Carolina– After losing their two most productive WRs to the NFL, Butch Davis has open spots on the outside. Ranked the No. 3 wide receiver in this 2009 class, Boyd is built much like former UNC standout, and first round pick, Hakeem Nicks. He should be able to play significant minutes for the Tarheels.
Bryce Brown, RB, Tennessee – In one of the more bizarre recruiting stories of the season, the No. 1 overall prospect in 2009 finally picked Tennessee, seemingly out of nowhere. There is no way Brown made this decision without guaranteed playing time...and/or a nice signing bonus. Just sayin’...
Andre Debose, WR/RB, Florida– A dynamic playmaker in high school, his experience at many positions equip Debose to play the “Percy position” at UF. Can the Gators replace No. 1? No. But this kid’s combination of hands, vision, and 4.4 speed will help patch up the hole Harvin left.
Tate Forcier, QB, Michigan– Sometimes injuries can be a good thing...for the backup. Forcier is an early enrollee at UM and due to injuries to those ahead of him, showed he has what it takes to run the team in spring practice. He has a very good chance to start and try to rebuild the classic powerhouse that is Michigan football.
Cody Green, QB, Nebraska– After the graduation of Joe Ganz and the mysterious decision by heir apparent Patrick Witt to transfer to Yale, the door is wide open for someone to play QB in Lincoln. Green will have to earn the job this summer, but his mobility may give him the edge to play as a true freshman.
Kendrick Hardy, RB, Southern Miss– Anytime a player is in jail, (see: Fletcher, Damieon) its not a good thing. However Hardy may make Eagles fans forget their all-time leading rusher. He comes with four-star pedigree and the Eagles fought off Tennessee to get him, so don’t think they expect him sit the bench all season.
Logan Heastie, WR, West Virginia– Gotta love the early enrollees. They have a chance to learn the system and put on bulk to prepare for the college game when Fall hits. Heastie gives the mountaineers a big (6’2”) target and has speed (4.4) to stretch the field. He has already made quite an impression in Morgantown.
Christine Michael, RB, Texas A&M– The former five-star is already the most gifted horse in the stable, and he hasn’t even practiced yet. Plus, you know he has something to prove with a name like Christine. The departed Mike Goodson never really panned out as an Aggie, but I think this Michael will.
Patrick Patterson, WR, Ole Miss – Patterson really showed his stuff in the post season, making a name for himself at the Army All-American game. Ole Miss does not have the depth as some other SEC schools, so he should be able get in the rotation and play a meaningful role as the Rebels try to live up to the hype in 2009.
Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama – Truly the full package at RB. Power, elusiveness, and break away speed define the fifth-ranked high school player in America. With Glen Coffey departed to the NFL, Richardson will certainly have opportunities as Nick Saban has no qualms with sharing the wealth in his backfield.
Look for Part II: Defense coming soon...