- David Ubben, College Football
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You never know who will break out in their first year in the league. Last season, we saw a true freshman in TCU's Devonte Fields capture the league's Defensive Player of the Year Award, and plenty of other freshmen, redshirt freshmen and juco transfers had major impacts across the league.
Here are a few first-year players to keep an eye on this season.
Cassius Sendish, CB, Kansas: Sendish was part of the juco blitz that came to KU this spring, but had an immediate impact on and off the field. Coach Charlie Weis loves his leadership, and he provides a big boost in the secondary that badly needed one after ranking eighth in the league in pass defense. The 6-foot, 187-pounder already made an impression on everybody in the program with his wit and the way he carries himself, and he should be fun to watch this fall.
Jake Waters, QB, Kansas State: Waters hasn't officially won Kansas State's quarterback job yet, but he was the nation's No. 78 overall juco prospect and earned plenty of notoriety for breaking some guy named Cam Newton's completion percentage record on the way to a national title last season. He's still got to beat out Daniel Sams to be able to replace Collin Klein, but the 6-foot-2, 215-pounder could bring some accuracy to the table that's been missing awhile.
Robbie Rhodes, WR, Baylor: Rhodes is one of the highest-ranked recruits to ever step foot on Baylor's campus, and could have an immediate impact for a receiving corps trying to replace Lanear Sampson and Terrance Williams. He was ranked as the nation's No. 3 receiver and No. 35 overall recruit, as well as the fourth-best player in Texas. The Bears beat out TCU and Texas for his services, and the 6-foot-1, 185-pound Fort Worth, Texas native could crack the field very early. Only two players in the Big 12 were ranked higher than Rhodes in the class of 2013.
Kevin White, WR, West Virginia: White is a big body at 6-foot-4 and 210 pounds and a different kind of receiver than West Virginia is used to suiting up, but after losing Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey, a ton of targets will be available in a receiving corps that has little experience, even with the boost of Ivan McCartney's return. He already showed his ability in the spring game, turning a screen pass into a 46-yard score. He'll get plenty of opportunities to do that some more this fall.