2016 College Football Recruits Who Could Change a Program Instantly

Tyler Donohue@@TDsTakeNational Recruiting AnalystFebruary 24, 2015

2016 College Football Recruits Who Could Change a Program Instantly

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    QB Shea Patterson should elevate the Ole Miss offensive attack when he arrives.
    QB Shea Patterson should elevate the Ole Miss offensive attack when he arrives.Credit: 247Sports

    Expectations are never easy to meet or exceed for top-tier college football recruits. Plenty of prospects featured in the 2016 recruiting class are poised to arrive on campus with lofty ambitions that set a high standard for fans of their new team.

    Not every player is equipped with the poise and skill set to match the hype, but some do carry an ability to elevate the respective college team of their choice. Here's a look at several athletes capable of carrying those squads to another level based on talent and potential landing spot.

5-Star QB Jacob Eason

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    247Sports' Composite Ranking: No. 4 overall; No. 1 pro-style quarterback

    High School: Lake Stevens (Lake Stevens, Washington)

    Recruitment Status: Committed to Georgia

    Why He's Worth the Hype

    Jacob Eason may be the most impressive quarterback prospect of this decade and measures up well to former Bulldogs star and eventual No. 1 overall NFL draft pick Matthew Stafford. The 6'5", 205-pound prospect topped our list of passers in 2016 class grading, scoring significantly higher at the position than any player in the past recruiting cycle.

    His physical stature, arm strength and downfield precision make him one of the premier offensive prospects we've scouted in recent years. Eason, who threw for 6,228 yards and 59 touchdowns during the past two seasonsper MaxPreps, appears to be the kind of player who can command immediate respect in the SEC.

    Georgia has fielded its fair share of quality passers, but Eason could rival any of the Mark Richt era. If he opts to stay home and compete for Washington, consider it a major coup for Chris Petersen and the Huskies.

    "He has a quick release for a big guy, and he can flick it 65 yards without blinking an eye," his father, former Notre Dame receiver Tony Eason, told Michael Carvell of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "It’s very rare when you have to throw the ball that far down the field but I guess if you have to, you can. And the good thing is that the Bulldogs are going to find some specialty guys to run underneath those high bombs."

5-Star OT Patrick Hudson

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    Credit: 247Sports

    247Sports' Composite Ranking: No. 13 overall; No. 2 offensive tackle

    High School: Silsbee (Silsbee, Texas)

    Recruitment Status: Committed to Baylor

    Why He's Worth the Hype

    Baylor has built a special brand of offensive attack, highlighted in recent years by quarterbacks Robert Griffin III and Bryce Petty. The program could continue its high-flying aerial assault in years to come after signing Jarrett Stidham as part of its 2015 class.

    The Bears flipped Stidham from Texas Tech during late stages of the cycle and will look for Patrick Hudson to help keep him healthy. The 6'5.5", 325-pound prospect possesses the physical frame and skill set to serve as a dominant bookend along Baylor's offensive front for three or four seasons.

    He initially committed to Texas A&M as a sophomore but reconsidered his decision last summer. B/R national recruiting analyst Damon Sayles broke down what Hudson brings to the field during our CFB Future 100 series.

    "Hudson is a lineman who already has college-level size and strength," Sayles wrote. "He plays with tenacity and aggressiveness, and he lines up every play with the mission of dominating the defenders in front of him. Hudson will be a major contributor in college."

4-Star QB Dwayne Haskins

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    Credit: 247Sports

    247Sports' Composite Ranking: No. 65 overall; No. 5 pro-style quarterback

    High School: The Bullis School (Potomac, Maryland)

    Recruitment Status: Uncommitted

    Why He's Worth the Hype

    Dwayne Haskins wouldn't be viewed as a program-changer at every school in the country, but he has an opportunity to fill that role with a pair of Big Ten newcomers. The 6'3", 185-pound passer holds nearly 40 scholarship offers, though he is heavily considering nearby opportunities at Rutgers and Maryland.

    Haskins, who threw for 3,066 yards and 36 touchdowns during the past two seasons, grew up in New Jersey. Those roots have kept Rutgers firmly in the mix, while Maryland views him as a key piece of its in-state recruiting efforts.

    "I'll always say that New Jersey is my home state. That's where I grew up mostly and I just happened to play high school down here," he told Todderick Hunt of NJ.com. "Maryland is definitely close to home and I know there is talk about people staying home. And that's definitely true. People are considering it, so I'm considering it. But Rutgers and Maryland are just about the same to me."

    Haskins would be the latest in a long line of talented passers if he elects to continue his career at Ohio State or Notre Dame, but both Rutgers and Maryland are clamoring for a talent like him behind center.

4-Star ATH Scott Bracey

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    247Sports' Composite Ranking: No. 44 athlete; No. 2 athlete

    High School: Benedictine High School (Durham, North Carolina)

    Recruitment Status: Committed to Duke

    Why He's Worth the Hype

    It's no longer a shock to hear Duke mentioned as a potential bowl-bound program. The school's athletics certainly remained tied to the success of its basketball team, but the football squad has made serious inroads toward respectability during recent seasons.

    The Blue Devils have won 25 games since 2012, appearing in three bowl games during that span. Head coach David Cutcliffe has managed to combine newfound on-field success and an established academic history to attract a new level of recruits.

    A July pledge from Virginia playmaker Scott Bracey seems to set the bar higher than ever before.

    The 6'3", 195-pound prospect is expected to play either wide receiver or defensive back in college, though he spent his junior season taking snaps at quarterback. The Richmond Times-Dispatch named Bracey the 2014 All-Metro Player of the Year, and he became the first non-senior to earn the honor since Seattle Seahawks star Russell Wilson.

    His pledge could prove to be a key turning point for the team's recruiting endeavors. Bracey is "perhaps the highest regarded college prospect in the program’s history," per The Herald-Sun of Durham.

5-Star RB Tavien Feaster

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    Credit: 247Sports

    247Sports' Composite Ranking: No. 20 overall; No. 2 running back

    High School: Spartanburg (Spartanburg, South Carolina)

    Recruitment Status: Committed to Clemson

    Why He's Worth the Hype

    Clemson is typically known for its vertical attack under head coach Dabo Swinney. His passing game has produced eventual NFL receiving talents like Sammy Watkins, DeAndre Hopkins and Martavis Bryant.

    Tavien Feaster, a coveted in-state rusher, could alter that perception once he arrives on campus. The 6'0", 193-pound playmaker comes from the same community as former South Carolina running back stars Stephen Davis and Marcus Lattimore, though he's quickly made a name for himself.

    He is a ferocious weapon on the ground who can also contribute as an extension of the passing game. Feaster collected 27 receptions for 623 yards and seven touchdowns in 2014, per Joseph Pereira of Fox Carolina.

    His commitment to Clemson occurred this past national signing day, as the Tigers edged out Alabama, Notre Dame, Florida State and LSU, among others.

    "They just told [me] that if I go in and work hard enough – I’m going to go places and be where I want to be in the next couple of years," Feaster told The Anderson Independent-Mail.

5-Star DT Rashan Gary

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    Credit: 247Sports

    247Sports' Composite Ranking: No. 2 overall; No. 1 defensive tackle

    High School: Paramus Catholic (Paramus, New Jersey)

    Recruitment Status: Uncommitted

    Why He's Worth the Hype

    Rashan Gary has massive shoes to fill as the nation's top defensive tackle prospect, replacing 5-star Georgia signee Trent Thompson. Still, the 6'4", 285-pound prospect appears primed to make a run at the No. 1 overall spot in recruit rankings.

    He racked up 55 tackles—including 24 for loss—14 sacks and 24 quarterback hurries last season, according to Hunt of NJ.com. I scouted Gary when he took on 4-star quarterback Jarrett Guarantano and Bergen Catholic last October, watching him tally five sacks and a punt block that resulted in a touchdown return for the dominant defensive lineman.

    "He's isn't just big; he's fast off the ball and stays low," 5-star Florida signee Martez Ivey told me after competing against him last summer. "He's very physical too and doesn't let opponents get into his head. That's great to see out of a young guy."

    Gary, who is considering an expansive list of options that includes Ohio State, Alabama, Rutgers and Michigan, impressed as a rare underclassman selection at the 2014 edition of The Opening.

    "He was great and we all noticed it throughout the week," 5-star Texas A&M defensive tackle signee Daylon Mack said. "You're watching a 2016 guy with big size, rare speed and dreadlocks that make him look dangerous. Some might have questioned his toughness, but when Rashan put on the pads, he didn't disappoint."

5-Star QB Shea Patterson

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    247Sports' Composite Ranking: No. 16 overall; No. 3 pro-style quarterback

    High School: Calvary Baptist Academy (Shreveport, Louisiana)

    Recruitment Status: Committed to Ole Miss

    Why He's Worth the Hype

    The Rebels have managed to assemble an impressive prospect haul during recent cycles under head coach Hugh Freeze, though consistent success at quarterback has routinely limited the team's SEC title ambitions.

    A player of Shea Patterson's stature could reverse that trend.

    The 6'2", 195-pound passer has thrown for 5,083 yards, 72 touchdowns and just seven interceptions since 2013. He exhibits above-average mobility and elite improvisational skills outside the pocket.

    Ole Miss already features an impressive stable of pass-catchers and is set to welcome fellow 5-star DeKaylin Metcalf, a top-rated 2016 receiver, to campus next summer. This scenario helps set the stage for Patterson to take the SEC by storm and elevate Ole Miss' status within the competitive conference.

    "I've been there two or three times, and every time, I've gotten a new sense of being comfortable," Patterson told Damon Sayles of B/R after his pledge to the Rebels.

    Quotes obtained firsthand by Bleacher Report national recruiting analyst Tyler Donohue unless otherwise noted.

    Recruit ratings courtesy of 247Sports.