College football kicks off in less than 3 hours and already the incoming freshmen across this great nation are looking for a keg to drink, a coed to suck face with, and a class to oversleep. But there are some freshmen who don't have this college luxury because they will be making an instant impact on the gridiron. From L.A. to PA there are pimple-faced monsters ready to leave a mark on the college game without the dreaded "redshirt" label be stamped on their meal plan.
Here are 10 to keep an eye out for this fall.
1. Christian Hackenberg, Penn State, QB - State Penn stole a good one from the likes of Alabama and Florida in getting QB Hackenberg who is expected to start sometime this season. The Nittany Lions QB situation is a mess right now with Steven Bench transferring and no player returning with any significant playing time in Happy Valley. Hackenberg can sling it and he stuck with Penn State when every one else fled faster than you can say Sandusky.
2. Robert Nkemdiche, Ole Miss, DL - The nation's #1 overall recruit was considered a steal for Ole Miss since he's from Georgia and...well...Ole Miss sucks. But this mammoth beast of a defensive lineman is expected to join his brother as a starter for the Rebels and make a tremendous impact even in the rough and tough SEC West. He won't get double digit sacks but he should have an equal impact like Aaron Lynch had with Notre Dame two years ago.
3. Jaylon Smith, Notre Dame, OLB - Speaking of Notre Dame the Fighting Irish found their replacement for retired LB Danny Spond (concussion issues) with the extremely athletic and fast Fort Wayne prospect in Jaylon Smith. Smith is the most highly touted defensive player to sign with the Irish since Kory Minor back in 1994 and is expected to make or exceed his impact at the college game. Fast enough to play safety and big enough to play OLB Smith is a freak who many think will be a future multiple All-American player and captain.
4. Su'a Cravens, USC, Safety - Despite a torn meniscus in spring after early enrolling Cravens is expected to start on a depleted Trojans depth chart hit hard by recent sanctions. Expectations are sky high on this elite prospect who many compare to Ed Reed with his ball hawking instincts.
5. Carl Lawson, Auburn, DE - A physical specimen out of Milton High School (Go Eagles!) Lawson should make his presence known for the Tigers and their new coach Gus Malzahn. Hopefully he plays more like beast and less like Jane since War Eagle is coming off a disastrous 3-9 season.
6. Derrick Green, Michigan, RB - There is some concern in Ann Arbor about his weight (too much) but Green is one of those elite tailbacks who is going to be more Jerome Bettis than Knowshon Moreno. Expect Green to put up nearly a 1000 yards for the Wolverines who don't have a proven commodity in the backfield.
7. James Quick, Louisville, WR - Perfect name for this elite speed receiver. The state record holder in the 200-meter dash Quick will be running fly routes and catching bombs from Heisman candidate Teddy Bridgewater all season.
8. O. J. Howard, Alabama, TE - Three year starter Michael Williams is gone in Tuscaloosa leaving the door wide open for the nation's #1 prep tight end to start right away. With the same athletic build as murderer Aaron Hernandez had down in Florida don't be surprised if Howard becomes a favorite red zone target of QB AJ McCarron starting in week 1 vs Virginia Tech.
9. Greg Bryant, Notre Dame, RB - Bryant was a recruiting coup out of the state of Florida and showed up in South Bend already in college gameday shape and size. With the loss of Cierre Wood and Theo Riddick to the NFL expect Bryant to share some of the carries with junior speedster George Atkinson III this fall.
10. Marquez North, Tennessee, WR - First-year head coach Butch Jones thinks this 6'3 freshman can be an instant playmaker in Knoxville starting in game 1. I've heard whispers he looks a lot like Carl Pickens. For the Vols who lost two starters to the NFL at the WR position that can only be a great comparison.