Which CFB Recruits Will Have The Biggest Impact as Freshmen? | January 18, 2013 by

Its recruiting season in college football, and everything is heating up ahead of National Signing Day on 6th February. Usually you’ll have to wait a year, possibly even longer, to see a recruit making noise on the field, which makes seeing a freshman contributing to a team’s success great viewing. These are some guys who should have an immediate impact at the college level, and names you need to look out for heading into next season.

Robert Nkemdiche, DE, Undeclared (Ole Miss, Alabama, Clemson, Florida)

Nkemdiche is in the Jadeveon Clowney mold, and should have the same impact Clowney has had at South Carolina. He is a terrorising nightmare for OTs, whoever gets him will be extremely lucky. He possesses immense speed and power, his speed proven not just by his defense, but by his play at RB during some games. Ole Miss is considered to be the frontrunner at the moment, but that can all change very quickly.

Christian Hackenburg, QB, Penn State.

Penn State’s troubles in the past few years have been well documented, but after Bill O’Brien bringing hope to the Nittany Lions last year, and with the commit of Christian Hackenburg, the ghosts of their recent past are beginning to slowly evade. O’Brien worked wonders with Matt McGloin last season, and now he has a QB considered to be the #1 QB recruit by many, I wouldn’t be surprised if Hackenburg started for Penn State next season. He possesses the size and arm strength you want in a pro-style QB, and its this, added with his great accuracy, that leads me to believe that he’ll be the best QB on Penn State’s roster come August.

Robert Foster, WR, Alabama

Did you see the success Amari Cooper had in his freshman year? Robert Foster is supposed to be better than Cooper coming out of high school. Foster has Cooper’s speed, so if Alabama put them on the edges and let them attack the secondary, it will be a nightmare for defensive coordinators. His quickness of the line and RAC ability will cause problems even for the most experienced SEC corner.

Derrick Henry, RB, Alabama

Last season was a golden one for freshman RBs, but while I don’t expect the same kind of success in this year’s class, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s lacking quality. Another Alabama RB who is extremely talented, but unlike TJ Yeldon, Henry is more in the Trent Richardson mold, and him and Yeldon should be a great 1-2 punch. Henry is extremely powerful when he’s running, and unusually for a power back he’s also a home run threat as well, this sort of talent doesn’t just project well at the college level, its the kind of stuff elite NFL RBs possess.

Mike Mitchell, OLB, Ohio State

Mike Mitchell has been one of the most sought after recruits in this year’s class, after an extremely impressive combine showing last summer where he managed to run 4.39 40 yard time. To add to his speed, Mitchell is a freak of nature, he is 6’5” and plays with great power. It was at the US Army All American Bowl where he committed to Ohio State, a school that needed OLB help after losing two linebackers going into the 2013 season. Mitchell will have the opportunity to compete straight away for a starting spot, and even if he doesn’t win a starting job straight away, he will still contribute as a backup, potentially leading to some starts later in the season.

Ricky Seals-Jones, WR, Texas A&

Johnny Football is living life, outside of football and on the field. To make his life even better, the Aggies gained the commitment of Ricky Seals-Jones, a 6’5” WR from Sealy, Texas. Seals-Jones has Calvin Johnson’s size and speed, and should have Calvin Johnson style dominance at the next level as well. When you watch him play, you see that superstar potential that has led to him being ranked as the #1 receiver in this year’s class by many analysts. Seals-Jones should get on the field straight away at A&M, adding another layer to Kevin Sumlin’s offense that should solidify the Aggies position as one of the top teams in the SEC.

These are names college football fans need to look out for, as they’re players who will be making headlines next year as freshmen. They don’t just have the qualities of a top college football player, they also possess the type of stuff that NFL scouts look for. Which one will have the biggest impact? While all with have big impacts with their team, I think Robert Nkemdiche will dominate immediately at the college level in the way Jadeveon Clowney has, his commitment announcement will make one team’s fan base extremely delighted, and will leave several others disappoint and scared.