Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Impact true freshmen: Western Division
By Chris Low
True freshmen have been rolling onto SEC campuses this month to get a jump on summer school, and more are on the way for the second session of summer school.
Every year about this time, it’s the same question: Who among the true freshmen will make the biggest impact?
We’ll take our stab at it, breaking it down by division.
We’ll start with the West. One thing to keep in mind is that we’re only including true freshmen who weren’t on campus early and didn’t go through spring practice, so you’re not going to see guys like LSU’s Anthony Johnson, Arkansas’ Brey Cook, Auburn’s Reese Dismukes and Florida’s Jeff Driskel on this list.
We’ll do our impact newcomers (freshman early enrollees, junior college players, transfers, everybody) at a later date.
For now, here’s a look at who among the incoming true freshmen in the West might contribute right away. Edward will do the same with the East later today:
Ha’Sean Clinton-Dix, S: Alabama boasts one of the best safety tandems in the league in Mark Barron and Robert Lester, but the 6-foot-1, 203-pound Clinton-Dix has the size and skill set to come in and make the Crimson Tide even stronger on the back end of their defense.
Cyrus Kouandjio, OT: One of the top offensive tackle prospects in the country last year, Kouandjio could provide some immediate depth. The Tide were already looking at moving All-SEC guard Barrett Jones to left tackle.
Tevin Mitchel, CB: The Hogs ended the spring a cornerback short in their secondary, which is where Mitchel comes in. He’ll get a chance to show what he can do this fall both as a lock-down cover guy and potentially as a return specialist. It was a real coup for Arkansas to get him away from Nebraska.
Erique Florence, S: The Tigers were hit hard in the secondary by personnel losses, and Florence was one of the most coveted safety prospects in the country last year. He’s a big-time talent with the size (6-2, 190 pounds) to come in and contribute right away.
Kiehl Frazier, QB: It’s never easy for a quarterback to go straight from high school to the SEC without the benefit of enrolling early and going through spring practice. But the Tigers haven’t settled on a quarterback, and Frazier is the type of run-pass threat Gus Malzahn is looking for in his offense.
Jermaine Whitehead, CB: There should be some fierce competition at cornerback this fall on the Plains, and Whitehead will be one to watch. Auburn was able to sway him late in the recruiting process, and he’s expected to vie for a starting spot from the time he walks onto the practice field.
Jarvis Landry, WR: If the Tigers are going to make a run at a national championship in 2011, they’re going to need a lot more production from their passing game than they got a year ago. Landry is dynamic in the open field and should complement Rueben Randle and Russell Shepard nicely.
Joe Morrow, WR: Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen has been outspoken about the Bulldogs’ need for more receivers. The 6-4, 200-pound Morrow gives them a different dimension with his size and ability to make plays over the middle.
C.J. Johnson, LB: As long as Johnson stays away from Twitter, he’s poised to play a major role at linebacker for the Rebels in 2011. Losing D.T. Shackelford to a knee injury threw the door wide open for Johnson, who could play in the middle or outside.
Tobias Singleton, WR: A lot of the attention in Oxford has been concentrated on who’s going to be throwing passes for Ole Miss this coming season. Singleton, who says he qualified academically, is one of those sure-handed, athletic receivers who could help spruce up any passing game.