It's always difficult to predict who is going to be an impact performer as a true freshman in college football. That's undoubtedly why this is one of my least favorite things to write about.
To those readers who love recruiting and stay current with your favorite guru or respective web sites, you can now throw those things out the window with regard to the 2010 season.
Please don't misinterpret the previous statement as apathy towards recruiting, much less dislike.
I love recruiting as it keeps me sane throughout the off-season, however, the next (insert name) is often promised and rarely delivered...at least not immediately.
Regardless of the fact that it has generally been difficult to step in right away and be a major contributor, the landscape of college football has changed. It is continually changing, and one characteristic of the contemporary game is that more freshmen are expected to contribute right away.
In light of these aforementioned concepts, the University of Michigan needs young guys to step in right away, particularly on the defensive side of the football. Without further ado, I bring you the oh so tentative list of five impact (true) freshman for 2010.
1) Demar Dorsey CB/S
This may be the easiest prediction of all. Or is it?
Demar Dorsey is arguably the most electrifying prospect in Michigan's class and the most athletic high school defensive back in the entire nation. My best guess is the balley-hooed (and infamous) Dorsey will be expected to be a major contributor right away.
There are some things you can coach/teach, and there are some things you can't. Demar Dorsey's speed is quite evident and you can't teach that particular quality. Fans might be calling him Denard Robinson 2.0 after 2010.
Don't be suprised if Dorsey sees valuable time early and even earns a starting role in the secondary by midseason. He may also play some offense or return kicks.
Dorsey hasn't played a down and has already been polarized, demonized, and even inspired beautiful music. Thats gotta count for something. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oFerz5Z9544
2) Marvin Robinson S/OLB
There is just something about this guy besides his offer sheet, highlight tape and his "OMG shirtless" pics that says he's ready. He has looked physically ready since he was a junior and seems to play the game with tremendous discipline and focus.
Beyond that, Robinson always has a determined look on his face like a shark who smells blood. If I were a Buckeye I'd get out of the water.
I think his size and large frame all but guarantee that he will be ready to play college football, the real question is what position and how often.
Expect Robinson to work his way into the two deep as a run support safety at some point this season and play a lot on special teams.
3) Devin Gardner QB/Savior
Please consider the above position label as humor. I for one don't expect Gardner to be a savior, nor should anyone. I do however believe that his development could be very important this spring.
Traditionally, you'd like to able to redshirt your quarterback his first year on campus especially when it means separating a guy like Gardner by two years from a guy like Tate Forcier. However, if Forcier gets injured again Gardner may be the best bet to win games.
Hopefully, Tate Forcier will make outstanding progress and become the next big thing, but Devin Gardner will be waiting in the wings if he doesn't. His presence this spring will be a major factor.
4) Josh Furman LB/RB?
Can you say space player? Can you say clean air? Josh Furman has awesome length, leaping ability, and quickness on the football field and should be a demon on special teams very early in the season if nothing else.
He needs to add size to be anything close to a true every down linebacker, but definitely has room to grow and could be the most athletic player in what is a very athletic class for Michigan. Don't be surprised if Furman competes with Mike Williams and Brandin Hawthorne as a linebacker/safety hybrid type this season.
Another spot Michigan fans could see Furman play is running back as he had a phenomenal senior season at that position. With so many candidates it is seems unlikely, but stranger things have happened.
5) Ricardo Miller WR
Ricardo Miller adds depth to an overall fairly deep receiving corps. What Michigan may lack this season though is a surplus of guys outside who can possess the ball. Junior Hemingway has shown flashes in his career but not yet been dominant.
Kevin Koger as well as the other tight ends have not been consistent catching the ball, therefore I see the early enrollment of Miller as being very important. His size and great hands will put him in the two deep almost right away, and being in for the spring is the catalyst.
There are other guys who could have made the list but these five are the most important guys to watch for in 2010, and should all make an immediate impact.