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Every season one or two freshmen arrive on campus and impress the coaches enough to earn playing time. This fall is no different, as multiple freshmen have forced the coaches to forgo their redshirt years and put them on the field immediately.
Brandon Alexander, Floyd Raven, Shaun Ward, Donnie Baggs and Tyrell Taylor should all suit up and play against SMU on September 4th. Alexander and Raven were to be expected as they were two of the higher-rated members of the recruiting class. Ward was a highly thought-of recruit but arrived on campus carrying some bad weight and was expected to redshirt. Ward has been unblockable at times this fall even getting the better of Luke Joeckel.
Taylor is the big surprise. He is undersized at barely 200 pounds. The prevailing thought was that he would get a redshirt year to add weight. Tayor had other ideas and his strong play has forced the coaches to seriously consider playing him. Taylor has an elite first step that has drawn comparisons to a young Von Miller.
Baggs participated in spring drills and may end up starting at ILB. The coaches have been impressed with how well he has picked up the defense.