Even with the microscope on recruiting these days, it's still almost impossible to accurately predict which players will make an immediate impact in college. The five-stars who look like obvious breakout players don't always break out, and inevitably, someone comes out of nowhere.
Consider last year's crop of Big 12 freshmen. Colorado tailback
With redshirts dwindling every year, these lists of potential impact freshmen keep getting longer. As preseason practice begins this year, a traditional Big Ten power (Michigan) has a true freshman leading its quarterback derby. A perennial top five program (USC) still may give a true freshman a look at quarterback. Meanwhile, the loaded defending national champ (Florida) hopes to get a significant contribution from a receiver who just arrived on campus in June.
Bearing in mind the most interesting potential freshman breakout star may start camp buried on somebody's depth chart, SI.com has compiled a list of the true freshmen with the best chance to become household names by November.
Everyone wants to know about massive freshman offensive lineman
The defending champion Gators have only one question mark: at receiver, where
McDaniel didn't enroll early, but if he treats FSU offensive linemen the way he did the blue-chippers at the Under Armour All-America Game in January, the 6-0 freshman from Greenville, Fla., will rocket up the depth chart. According to the
Armstrong's Seminole (Sanford, Fla.) High teammate, Florida freshman Debose, got more attention during the recruiting process, but Armstrong is one of the most intriguing players in the class of 2009. He's 6-foot-5 and 220 pounds and he's athletic enough to play safety, linebacker, tight end or receiver. He'll start out as a safety for the Hurricanes, who showed last season they aren't opposed to throwing a true freshman into the fire. Armstrong may follow in the footsteps of linebacker
Gilmore, from Rock Hill, S.C., won a first-team cornerback spot in the spring and should start when the Gamecocks open against N.C. State on Aug. 3. But don't expect Gilmore to be limited to defense. He also should take snaps at quarterback as part of coach
Rivals.com's top-rated recruit in the class of 2009 dragged his recruitment into overtime, but the 6-foot, 215-pound Brown picked a program that could use a boost at tailback. Senior
The Aggies averaged just 2.9 yards a carry last season thanks mostly to an offensive line ravaged by injuries. Texas A&M boasts a pair of quality backs in
Wynn finds himself in a position similar to USC's Barkley. The early-enrollee from Oceanside, Calif., surprised coaches during spring practice and made it a three-man race to replace