Feldman talks top incoming freshmen


We're getting closer and closer to the college football season and that means it's time to add a little extra hype to all those freshmen adjusting to life after high school.

Cutting past defenders or leveling quarterbacks won't be so easy anymore.

ESPN colleague Bruce Feldman took a look at his top 10 incoming freshmen to keep an eye on this fall.

Three SEC newcomers made Feldman's top 10. South Carolina Jadeveon Clowney took the top spot, Georgia running back Isaiah Crowell was fourth and LSU defensive tackle Anthony Johnson ranked seventh.

There might be some solid players at end for South Carolina, but there will be no denying Clowney some major field time next season. He might have feasted on high school athletes, but Clowney was absolutely dominant last year.

He has all the tools to contribute early and is scary coming off the edge. As a senior in high school, he recorded 162 tackles, 29 tackles for loss, 29.5 sacks, 11 forced fumbles, six fumble recoveries and scored five touchdowns.

Yeah, try to keep him off the field.

Here's what Feldman wrote:

The nation's top-ranked recruit is a freakish talent at 6-foot-6, 250 pounds, and he looks to be a cross between Jevon Kearse and Mario Williams. The Gamecocks do already have plenty of proven talent at the position he plays, with a very productive tandem of ends in Melvin Ingram (nine sacks, 11 tackles for loss) and Devin Taylor (7.5 sacks, 13 TFLs). But count on defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson to make sure he takes advantage of Clowney's scary first step, burst and range. The kid is going to be a matchup nightmare for opponents and, at the very least, Clowney is going to be a situational difference-maker for a top-25 team.

Crowell was one of the most fun high school running backs to watch last season. He's great in the open field and is strong enough to consistently break tackles. He'll immediately deal with the pressure of taking over Georgia's backfield considering the stable of running backs has yet to prove much.

He'll play this season, but fans might have to be patient with his development.

Here's what Feldman wrote:

Touted by some Georgia folks as the most significant recruit Mark Richt has landed, it'd be too much of a stretch to say the five-star tailback's presence could save the coach's job. But Crowell can be an integral part of that effort, since the Dawgs' running game desperately needs a jolt. They were just 73rd in rushing in 2010 and ranked 10th in the SEC. That means either Crowell or former blue-chipper Caleb King need to step up in a big way this fall.

I subscribe to the same theory my colleague Chris Low talked about with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution the other day: "If Crowell can have three-quarters of the impact that Marcus Lattimore had at South Carolina, it wouldn't surprise me to see Georgia playing in Atlanta for the SEC championship."

Finally, after seeing Johnson go through Under Armour practices in January, it's going to be hard to keep him out of the defensive tackle rotation in Baton Rouge. He might weigh 300 pounds, but he's extremely athletic and pushed opponents around in Orlando. He enrolled early and LSU defensive coordinator John Chavis raved about his play and his potential for the fall.

Here's what Feldman wrote:

The top defensive tackle recruit in the country last winter, Johnson enrolled early and has the coaches believing he's every bit as good as he's been advertised. The explosive 300-pounder jumped in to fill a void created by the departures of All-American DT Drake Nevis and fellow starter Pep Livingston. LSU recruiting coordinator Frank Wilson, a New Orleans native, says Johnson is on the same level as Booger McFarland and Glenn Dorsey in terms of the top defensive tackles the state has produced in the past two decades, describing the freshman as even more athletic and faster than Dorsey.