Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Impact true freshmen: Eastern Division
By Edward Aschoff
Now that we are done looking at 10 true freshmen from the SEC West who could make impacts on their teams this fall, it’s time to look at the youngsters in the East.
Marcus Roberson, CB/S: With Janoris Jenkins gone, Roberson could come right in this fall and compete for solid playing time. He’s a bigger corner at 6 feet, 170 pounds and could wind up at safety, where the Gators are pretty thin. He has great field instincts and will play somewhere this fall.
Ja’Juan Story, WR: Story was a raw athlete in high school and played more quarterback than receiver during his senior year, but at 6-foot-3, 190 pounds, he will be one of Florida’s biggest receiving targets. He’ll need some time to develop, but should be a nice, lengthy weapon in Charlie Weis’ offense.
Isaiah Crowell, RB: He arrives in Athens with a ton of hype. Georgia has yet to find its feature back and Crowell has all the talent to be that player. Some think he could start by the midpoint of the season. He was the nation’s top running back and in 2010 he rushed for 1,721 yards and 18 touchdowns.
Malcolm Mitchell, WR: Mitchell played both sides of the ball in high school, but Georgia’s staff really likes what he could do at receiver. He’s a tremendous athlete and will get a chance to earn playing time for the fall, especially with some unproven receivers already on Georgia’s roster.
Josh Clemons, RB: Raymond Sanders might have left spring as the starting running back for the Wildcats, but Kentucky is still looking for help at the position. Clemons will get a chance to get in the backfield rotation after rushing for more than 2,000 and have 25 touchdowns during his senior year of high school.
Jadeveon Clowney, DE: Clowney will enter preseason camp with a mound of expectations. He was the country’s top high school player last year, and even though there is a lot of talent on South Carolina’s defensive line, it will be hard to keep him off the field with his freakish ability. He recorded 162 tackles, including 29 tackles for loss, 29.5 sacks, 11 forced fumbles, six recovered fumbles and scored five touchdowns last fall.
A.J. Johnson, LB: He has the size and strength to play in the middle, but has the athleticism to play off the edge as well. With Tennessee needing a lot of help at linebacker, Johnson will get a shot at playing time. He registered 186 tackles, 12 tackles for loss, one sack and one interception during his senior year.
Curt Maggitt, LB: He’s another linebacker who will be in the mix for playing time this fall. He played outside in high school and has great speed coming off the edge. He’ll need to add some pounds, but should be one of the fun youngsters to watch this fall in Knoxville.
Jake Bernstein, OL: Bernstein was a solid tackle in high school, but with so many questions surrounding Vanderbilt’s offensive line, he could move around once preseason camp begins. He could line up at center or guard.
Josh Grady, QB: Vanderbilt coach James Franklin is very excited about getting Grady out on the practice field. He comes in as a quarterback, but he’s dynamic enough that he could play other positions as well. He accounted for 3,061 yards of offense and 26 touchdowns. He also had five interceptions.