Julio Jones, WR, Alabama-The nation's #1 rated wide receiver out of high school and Bama fan's #1 reason for optimism going into the 2008 season is the spectacular Julio Jones. Jones is a 6'4, 210 pound receiver who has been named the starter going into the season opener against Clemson this Saturday. Julio is a freak of an athlete with the ability to have a tremendous freshman season catching passes from senior John Parker Wilson. His impact should be immediate in Tuscaloosa and don't be surprised if a lot of people are talking Heisman especially if he has a huge game against Clemson. Julio has also already earned the respect from his teammates.
Sportscrack 1st team All-American Andre Smith had this to say regarding Julio's impact on their team:
"He's not out boasting about, what (he's) going to do. He just lets his actions speak louder than his words."
Here is a highlight of Julio catching a bomb from Wilson and giving a stiff arm during fall practice...
Darrell Scott, RB, Colorado-Scott was the #1 rated RB coming out of high school in California and spurned numerous offers including one from Texas to pick the Buffaloes. Currently listed #2 on the depth chart behind sophomore Demetrius Sumler, it is just a matter of time before Scott gets the majority of the carries and makes a name for himself in the Big 12 conference. Coach Dan Hawkins has stated he wants all of his RB's to get a lot of carries to keep them fresh but there is little doubt Scott is the most talented of the group and will get more carries as he improves his pass blocking. Here is a Darrell Scott interview with Lemming before his senior season in Ventura, Ca...
Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame-Floyd comes into Notre Dame as the most highly touted WR since Maurice Stovall. Unlike Stovall though Floyd isn't a work in progress and already runs great routes, has consistent hands, and knows most of the plays which will enable him to make an instant impact starting next week against San Diego State. The 6'3, 205 pound receiver from Minnesota is currently second on the depth chart behind senior WR David Grimes but don't be surprised if he is the starter by the second week of the season against Michigan. Floyd provides QB Clausen a big target who has the body to separate himself from DB's to the contrary of the smaller Grimes. Expectations were huge coming into fall camp for Floyd and he has yet to disappoint.
Recruiting stalker and ND apologist Tom Lemming had this to say about Floyd:
"Michael Floyd," said CBS College Sports recruiting analyst Tom Lemming, "will be able to run the routes, will be able to block, will be able to handle the pressure of being the best wide receiver prospect to walk in the door since Randy Moss tried to (and was turned away in 1995), because Michael has both feet on the ground.
"He sees the big picture. He's not going to have the highs and lows of being a prodigy. He's got such an even temperament and mature perspective. And he's a leader, so people will follow him."
Kyle Rudolph, TE, Notre Dame-Another Notre Dame player to be on the lookout is starting tight end Kyle Rudolph. The #1 rated TE coming out of Elder High School in Cincinatti, Rudolph has passed junior Will Yeatman on the depth chart and was named the starter after sophomore Mike Ragone went down with a knee injury last week.
At 6'6 and 250 pounds he provides another big target for QB Jimmy Clausen and will also be a tremendous deep ball threat according to head coach Charlie Weis:
“He runs down the field faster than the rest of them,” Weis said.
"I'm very, very high on Kyle Rudolph," Weis said. "What Kyle Rudolph lacks a little bit in explosion at the line of scrimmage — in comparison to a more veteran player — he makes up in straight-line speed. I mean, the kid gets down the field in a hurry. He's got great ball skills. Anytime you've got a tight end who can run, who is at least an adequate blocker, you know you've got something."
A.J. Green, WR, Georgia-What Matthew Stafford has been missing since he arrived in Athens since leaving his Texas high school days is a tall, play making WR who can stretch the field. Actually if you ask Bulldog fans they will tell you he has been missing one who can actually catch the ball consistently. No worries UGA fans because Stafford finally has one. A. J. Green will not start against Georgia Southern but his impact should be immediate. The 6'4 lanky receiver who has been compared to Randy Moss in some recruiting circles currently is the #2 flanker behind senior WR Mohamed Massaquoi but should be in a lot of offensive plays where the offensive coordinator Mike Bobo looks to spread the defense apart. Green made an early commitment to the Bulldogs during his junior season in high school and will look to be the go-to target for Stafford during his freshman season. At 6'4 and 200 pounds, Green looks the part of a dominant receiver and his hands look more like bear paws ready to haul in game changing TD's this fall in the SEC.
Despite nursing a hip flexor injury for the better part of summer practice, wide receiver coach John Eason has seen enough of Green to know he has a good one:
"He doesn't know everything obviously yet; he has not played in a game," Eason said. "There's a lot of potential there and it's potential that we've seen flashes of a guy that could be pretty good."
DaQuan Bowers, DE, Clemson-Bowers is a freak. An early enrollee, Bowers will start this Saturday against Alabama as Clemson looks to win their first ACC title since 1991. The #1 rated DE coming out of high school, Bowers is a 6'4, 270 pound specimen who can run a faster 40 time then a lot of runningbacks and receivers. Bowers will remind Clemson fans of Gaines Adams quickly.
Terrelle Pryor, QB, Ohio State-Never heard of this guy before today. Okay, all kidding aside we all know about Pryor and the Corvettes and the shady recruiting. Currently listed #3 on the depth chart behind Todd Boeckman and Joe Bauserman, he is essentially a co-#2 with Bauserman who will used much like Tim Tebow was his freshman season in Gainesville. The USA Today Player of the Year stands at 6'6 and looks a lot like Vince Young when lined up behind center. His athleticism is off the charts and he should see significant time this year including the home opener against Youngstown State.
Will Hill, S, Florida-The freshman strong safety from New Jersey sits currently #2 on the depth chart behind Ahmad Black but should see plenty of playing time this year. Hill wears #10 and should become a permanent fixture in the Gator's secondary which just happened to be atrocious last year. I expect Hill to be starting by midseason and he should also provide an impact on special teams because athletically he is so far ahead of the upperclassmen. Once his football knowledge catches up with his talent look out because the sky is the limit for Hill.
Marcus Robinson, DE, Miami-With all the attention fellow classmates LB Arthur Brown and DT Marcus Forston received during their recruiting process it comes as a bit of a surprise neither will be starting this Thursday but Robinson will be. A converted linebacker out of high school, Robinson's athleticism and the Hurricane's numerous suspensions have given him a chance to make his mark against Charles Southern. A bit undersized, Robinson will be used much like Terrell Suggs was at Arizona State. Sometimes he will have his hand down and other times he will be playing a hybrid outside linebacker. His impact will be immediate as the Canes field an extremely young squad under second year coach Randy Shannon.
Rahim Moore, S, UCLA-A five star prospect out of the Los Angeles area, Moore decided to stay close to home with UCLA and has already nailed down the starting strong safety position for the Bruins. Moore shows great maturity for a freshman and can play cornerback also if the Bruins need him. Expect the talented Moore to remind UCLA fans of Eric Turner when he bulks up a little bit.
Others to look out for on a campus near you: Jonathan Baldwin, WR, Pittsburgh; Stephfon Green, RB, Penn State; Gerell Robinson, WR, Arizona State; Richard Samuel, RB, Georgia; Blake Gideon, S, Texas; Earl Thomas, S, Texas; Ethan Johnson, DE, Notre Dame; Blake Ayles, TE, USC; Don'ta Hightower, LB, Alabama