2016 College Football Picks & Predictions – Impact Freshmen: Recruiting is a crucial part of the success of any college football team, and it is no secret that the power programs in the country are always at or near the top of the recruiting ranks. Sometimes, a strong class simply ensures depth and future success, but there always a few special freshmen that make any immediate impact because of raw talent and team need. With that in mind, here is a closer look at the freshmen that should make the biggest impact for their teams during the 2016 college football season.
2016 College Football Picks & Predictions: Impact Freshmen
- Jacob Eason, QB, Georgia Bulldogs
It’s no secret that the quarterback is the most important position on a football team, and Eason will be under center for the Bulldogs sooner than rather than later, possibly in Week 1. He threw for 244 yards in Georgia’s spring game, and the top five recruit, offers far more upside than any quarterback returning for the Bulldogs. George has had no issues running the ball, but they need a quarterback that can test teams deep in order to compete with the top teams. Life in the SEC won’t be easy, but Eason will likely be charged with trying to guide Georgia into contention in the SEC East.
- Gregory Little, OT, Ole Miss Rebels
Expectations are suddenly high for the Rebels, but replacing four starting offensive linemen won’t easy, especially when one of those starters was stud left tackle Laremy Tunsil. Enter Little, who was one of the highest-rated tackles coming out of high school and will no doubt enter 2016 as a starter, potentially as the team’s starting left tackle. Ole Miss is going to lean heavily on QB Chad Kelly this year, and Little will play a big role in keeping him upright and productive.
- Nate Craig-Myers, WR, Auburn Tigers
While Auburn doesn’t throw the ball a ton, it is impossible to overlook the fact that their leading returning receiver managed just 13 catches. Craig-Myers was rated as a top five player at his position, and he has the size and speed to be the field-stretcher the Tigers need to help open up their high-octane ground game. Auburn needs a go-to weapon and a big-play threat in the passing game, and Craig-Myers could fill that role as a freshman. He might not be the most productive freshman in terms of numbers, but he should be one of the most important newcomers.
- Oluwole Betiku, DE/OLB, USC Trojans
Departures across the defensive front will force Betiku into a major role immediately for the Trojans. Fortunately for USC, the top 10 prospect has the speed and athleticism to be a force off the edge, and he has a chance to be one of the defense’s biggest playmakers. He can line up at defensive end or stand up as a linebacker, but regardless of where he plays, Betiku will be asked to play a lot and do a lot for the Trojans.
- Dexter Lawrence, DT, Clemson Tigers
The Tigers welcome back plenty of playmakers on offense, but the defense lost a pair of dynamic defensive ends. Lawrence will play on the interior if the line, but his size, strength and quick first step will allow him to be a disruptor at the point of attack, making life easier for Clemson’s pass-rushers. Lawrence was the No. 2 overall prospect coming out of high school, and he has the frame and athleticism to be a major factor from the outset.
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