You never quite know where the immediate contributors will come from. Here are five more first-year players to watch this season (in alphabetical order):
Dominique Booth, WR, Indiana: The Hoosiers' pass-friendly offense will need to restock its receiving targets after losing tight end Ted Bolser and wideouts Kofi Hughes and Duwyce Wilson to graduation and receiver Cody Latimer to the NFL. Booth, who's from nearby Indianapolis, has good size at a listed 6-foot and 196 pounds, and head coach Kevin Wilson never has been afraid to play true freshmen early.
Offensive lineman Damian Prince might be too talented for Maryland to redshirt.
Corey Clements, OL, Purdue: Darrell Hazell wanted to get bigger on the offensive line for his preferred physical style of play, and Clements certainly fits that bill at a massive 6-foot-8 and 340 pounds. It remains to be seen how effective he can be in the Big Ten at that size. But the Boilermakers didn't sign Clements out of Mesa (Ariz). Community College so he could sit on the bench. (And the bench does not want that, either.)
Austin Hudson, S, Wisconsin: Hudson wasn't the most highly-recruited player, but he plays a position of serious need for the Badgers. Last year's starting safeties are both missing, as Dezmen Southward finished his eligibility and Tanner McEvoy will move back to quarterback, at least for the spring. Hudson is an early enrollee who could get acclimated early and possibly have the same kind of quick impact as Sojourn Shelton, who started as a true freshman at cornerback for Wisconsin in 2013.
Joe Keels, DL, Nebraska: The Cornhuskers have had good success of late with junior college defenders, including Lavonte David and Randy Gregory. Could Keels be the next in line? He was in high demand out of Highland Community College, and the Wisconsin native who flipped from Wisconsin to Nebraska this winter could, at the very least, provide more depth on a promising young front line for Bo Pelini.
Damian Prince, OT, Maryland: It's not often easy for offensive linemen to make a dent right away, but Prince isn't your average true freshman offensive lineman. Rated as the No. 26 player overall and the No. 3 tackle in the Class of 2014 by ESPN Recruiting Nation, Prince was the jewel of Randy Edsall's class this year. Edsall is looking to upgrade the offensive line talent as the Terrapins move into the Big Ten, and Prince might be too talented to redshirt.