Wednesday, September 25, 2013
SEC's 2014 impact freshmen
By Derek Tyson
The Southeastern Conference continues to dominate the recruiting class rankings. Here's a closer look at some freshman that could make an early impact in the SEC.
Current 2014 QB prospect who could start immediately: Drew Barker (Hebron, Ky./Conner Senior) -- Kentucky commit: Though Jason Whitlow and Maxwell Smith will be juniors heading in to next season, Barker is just too talented to keep off the field. The No. 6-ranked pocket passer in the country has all the physical tools head coach Mark Stoops is looking for from his signal-caller. Barker, an Elite 11 member, should see the field early and often for the Wildcats as a true freshman.
Program-changing 2014 recruiting class: Tennessee: The Volunteers are off to a 2-2 start and face a brutal schedule coming up. There are a lot of holes to fill on both sides of the ball but with a current recruiting class that is ranked No. 3 in the country, several freshman will be able to make an impact early on in their careers. It might take a few years to notice, but this is the type of class that can help turn Tennessee back into a SEC contender.
Current 2014 prospect with Heisman potential: QB Will Grier (Davidson, N.C./Davidson Day) -- Florida commit: The No. 2-ranked dual threat quarterback in the country has a lot of the same traits as Johnny Manziel. He's an athletic-gunslinger that likes to take chances and his skill set could mean the Gators will have to adjust their offensive philosophies. Through the first five games of his senior year, Grier has thrown for 31 touchdowns. He's also rushed for over 500 yards and another five touchdowns. Florida has had three quarterbacks win the Heisman Trophy and Grier has all the tools to be the next.
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Current 2014 prospect who may sit initially but become a star: RB Sony Michel (Plantation, Fla./American Heritage) -- Georgia commit: Talented backs Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall will be returning for their junior seasons next year when Michel gets on campus, so Georgia fans might have to wait to see him in action. Michel, the No. 2-ranked running back in the country, has the size, speed and athleticism to earn some carries as a freshman, but look for this talented back to really explode in the Georgia offense during his sophomore season.
Current committed recruit who is in a good position for development: ATH Terry Googer (College Park, Ga./Woodward Academy) -- South Carolina commit: Googer is a freak athlete that could play a number of positions. Look for Steve Spurrier to use his skills on offense as either a receiver or H-back type of player. This ESPN 300 member will need time to adjust to the college game and the intricate details of Spurrier’s offense, but once he does, Googer can be a real weapon in the SEC.
2014 position group with chance for instant impact: RBs Racean Thomas (Oxford, Ala./Oxford) and Kamryn Pettway (Prattville, Ala./Prattville) -- Auburn commits: These two ESPN 300 members have a chance to make a big impact early on in their careers at Auburn. Thomas, the No. 5-ranked back in the country, is a versatile athlete that can be productive in the passing game as well as running the ball. At 6-foot, 220-pounds, Pettway is a bruiser of a back that is a great complement to what Thomas can do. Look for these two to make their mark on the Auburn offense early on next season.
Most versatile 2014 recruit who could play either side of ball : ATH Bo Scarbrough (Bradenton, Fla./IMG Academy) -- Alabama commit: At 6-2, 220 pounds, Scarbrough is a physical specimen. He's physical enough to play linebacker and athletic enough to carry the ball in the SEC. Over his last two high school games, Scarbrough has rushed for 444 yards and eight touchdowns, he even threw for a touchdown. There's no question Nick Saban can find a way to utilize his skills as a linebacker, but it's tempting to have a big, athletic running back carrying the ball behind a physical offensive line. Either way, Scarbrough will likely have a big impact at whichever position he ends up at.
The next Marcus Mariota: QB Kyle Allen (Scottsdale, Ariz./Desert Mountain) -- Texas A&M commit: The 74th-ranked player in the country was a standout at the Elite 11 over the summer. He's an accurate passer with a very strong arm. He might not put up Johnny Manziel type numbers at first, but watch out, this talented signal-caller has a chance to be special in Kevin Sumlin's pass-heavy offense.