Looking back at the 2012 SEC freshmen

January, 23, 2013
1/23/13
4:25
PM ET
As schools make their final pitches to prospects heading into national signing day on Feb. 6, fans are already wondering which true freshmen will make the biggest impacts next season.

Good luck.

We went back and looked at some of the top true freshmen in the SEC from this past season and some of the most heralded true freshmen, and you might be surprised at where some of them were ranked (and weren’t ranked) coming out of high school.

Here’s a glimpse:

[+] EnlargeTodd Gurley, Deion Belue
Dale Zanine/USA TODAY SportsTodd Gurley may not have been graded as an elite prospect coming out of high school, but no one made a larger immediate impact during his freshman season.
Georgia running back Todd Gurley: The SEC’s leading rusher among running backs in 2012 was not an ESPN 150 member. He was ranked as the No. 22 athlete in the country and the 10th best prospect in the state of North Carolina.

Missouri receiver Dorial Green-Beckham: A starter in one game, Green-Beckham caught five touchdown passes in his first season with the Tigers. He was the No. 3 overall prospect in the 2012 ESPN 150 and ranked as the No. 1 receiver prospect in the country.

Alabama receiver Amari Cooper: The Tide’s leading receiver in 2012 was ranked No. 49 on the ESPN 150 list and ranked as the No. 7 receiver prospect in the country and the 12th best prospect in the state of Florida.

Alabama running back T.J. Yeldon: A 1,000-yard rusher in his first season, Yeldon was ranked No. 55 on the ESPN 150 list and ranked as the No. 4 running back prospect in the country.

Georgia running back Keith Marshall: One half of "Gurshall," Marshall was ranked No. 5 on the ESPN 150 list and ranked as the No. 2 running back prospect in the country.

Texas A&M defensive end Julien Obioha: A 12-game starter for the Aggies, Obioha was not an ESPN 150 member and was ranked as the No. 51 defensive end prospect in the country.

Florida defensive end Dante Fowler: Fowler, who had eight tackles for loss as a true freshmen, was ranked No. 71 on the ESPN 150 list and ranked as the No. 10 defensive end prospect in the country.

Ole Miss defensive end Channing Ward: He played in 12 games with no starts for the Rebels and was ranked No. 48 on the ESPN 150 list and ranked as the No. 5 defensive end prospect in the country.

LSU cornerback Jalen Mills: A full-time starter at cornerback for the Tigers, Mills was not an ESPN 150 member and was ranked as the No. 126 cornerback prospect in the country and the 283rd best prospect in the state of Texas.

Texas A&M cornerback De’Vante Harris: A starter in seven games at cornerback for the Aggies, Harris was ranked No. 144 on the ESPN 150 list and ranked as the No. 11 cornerback prospect in the country.

South Carolina receiver Shaq Roland: Roland caught five passes this season for the Gamecocks. He was ranked No. 45 on the ESPN 150 list and ranked as the No. 5 receiver prospect in the country.

Florida linebacker Antonio Morrison: Morrison was the Gators’ eighth leading tackler as a true freshman. He was not an ESPN 150 member and ranked as the No. 39 outside linebacker prospect in the country and the No. 8 prospect in the state of Illinois.

Georgia offensive tackle John Theus: Theus immediately established himself as the Bulldogs’ starting right tackle. He was ranked No. 28 on the ESPN 150 list and ranked as the No. 5 offensive tackle prospect in the country.

Missouri center Evan Boehm: Boehm became the first true freshman to start on the offensive line at Missouri under Gary Pinkel. Boehm was ranked No. 42 on the ESPN 150 list and ranked as the No. 2 offensive guard prospect in the country.

Chris Low | email

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