- Tom Luginbill, ESPN Staff Writer
Here's a look at the five freshmen who will make an impact in the Big 12 this season.
1. QB Jevan Snead, Texas
Snead was our favorite gunslinger in last year's quarterback class. He has the "it" factor, and he not only possesses excellent passing skills and a big arm but also is an athlete and can run the read-option offense at Texas.
Snead is bigger, stronger and faster now, and enrolling early to participate in spring ball didn't hurt.
He also happens to be in the right place at the right time competing with redshirt freshman Colt McCoy for the starting job for the defending national champs. Although McCoy reminds many of Major Applewhite, only a better athlete, Snead has more physical tools and upside for the long term.
Expect the quarterbacks to share time early and look for one to separate himself from the other, with the Longhorns hoping that happens by Sept. 9 when Ohio State comes to town.
2. RB Michael Goodson, Texas A&M
Yes, Courtney Lewis returns at running back, but Goodson will be in the mix. Goodson is a workhorse with a great combination of size and speed. He is a glider with smooth elusiveness, and he has the speed to go the distance once in the open field.
This was a huge pickup for coach Dennis Franchione, who stole Goodson away from Oklahoma State late in the recruiting game. Texas A&M features its backs, and Lewis cannot take all the snaps. Jorvorskie Lane returns as well, but expect Goodson to see a lot of action throughout his rookie campaign.
3. RB DeMarco Murray, Oklahoma
With the loss of Rhett Bomar and a small void left at wide receiver with Paul Thompson's move to quarterback, Murray (the top running back in the '06 class) is needed more than ever. This young man is a Reggie Bush type player -- only bigger.
If you get a chance, take a sneak peek at his high school highlight reel and be ready for your jaw to drop. He should be used to spell Adrian Peterson, and he also will provide a spark in the passing game. Murray has the type of ability to play both ways and certainly can contribute as a kick returner.
When Peterson is gone, Murray should be a star and one of the most electrifying players in the country.
4. LB Sergio Kindle, Texas
We know Texas returns two of three starters at linebacker, but it is going to be very difficult to keep Kindle off the field, as he is already in the two-deep rotation at strongside linebacker.
He is big, physical, fast and developed beyond his years. His presence should be felt in the kicking game and in spot duty on defense. Texas is loaded on that side of the ball, and Kindle will add speed and athleticism to this unit.
5. DE Derek Burton, Oklahoma State
Burton can fit a need for the Cowboys as an edge rusher. Oklahoma State is stout at tackle but has questions marks at end.
Burton is explosive and big -- big enough to hold up against the run in spot duty. He is extremely explosive off the edge and shows excellent closing speed to the quarterback. Oklahoma State was last in rush defense in the Big 12 last fall, so there is nowhere to go but up. Why not do it with athletic youth?
Freshman linebacker Adrian Hamilton also could see significant playing time because of a thin linebacking corps.
Tom Luginbill is the national recruiting director for ESPN's Scouts Inc. He is a former quarterback, scout and coach.
3dKevin Stone, ESPN.com