By Troy Weller on April 20, 2014
Every year, hundreds of high school football stars make the jump to the college ranks, inching one step closer to an NFL career. While most will end up redshirting or barely playing as freshmen, there's always a handful of young studs who see the field from Day 1. Here are 15 incoming freshmen who could make a big impact for their respective teams in 2014.
The Minnesota Golden Gophers don't reel in many highly-touted prospects, so grabbing running back Jeff Jones is exciting for the program. He'll provide an immediate jolt to the team's rushing attack.
The Notre Dame Fighting Irish are thin at inside linebacker, so Nyles Morgan's summer arrival is extremely anticipated. He'll need to improve against the pass, but he's still ready for the college game.
The Clemson Tigers will have to replace Tajh Boyd, and quarterback DeShaun Watson could be the guy to do it. After Chad Kelly's recent dismissal from the team, the door is open for Watson to win the job in the fall.
The Penn State Nittany Lions needs help at wide receiver after losing Allen Robinson, and De'Andre Thompkins will be asked to play from the start. The fastest guy on the team, Thompkins is great in space and will also help out in the return game.
The Florida State Seminoles lost a couple running backs to the draft, so Dalvin Cook's arrival comes at a good time. He enrolled early, so the added exposure to Florida State's offensive scheme will allow Cook to be a threat from the start.
Georgia Bulldogs fans should be excited to see what defensive end Lorenzo Carter can do in 2014. With excellent speed off the edge, Carter should be getting to the quarterback quite often.
The Texas A&M Aggies need to replace the great Johnny Manziel, and quarterback Kyle Allen is certainly in the mix to take over. Matt Joeckel just transferred, and Allen's talented enough to beat out the other guys on the roster for the job.
Cornerback Jalen Tabor made a late commitment to the Florida Gators. Florida has had great success developing young corners the last few years, and Tabor's talent and coachability should net him a starting job in 2014.
Wide receiver Josh Malone isn't the Tennessee Volunteers' top recruit of 2014, but he'll probably contribute the most this year. Malone had three touchdown catches in the Vols' spring game, and was very impressive during practices.
One of the top defensive end recruits, Da'Shawn Hand will be a force next year for the Alabama Crimson Tide. Hand is quick off the ball and extremely athletic, so head coach Nick Saban should be excited about this kid.
Cornerback Jabrill Peppers is too talented of a player for the Michigan Wolverines to keep off the field as a freshman. His versatility to play anywhere in the secondary should mean he'll see a ton of snaps in 2014.
Linebacker Raekwon McMillan was an early enrollee for the Ohio State Buckeyes, and by all accounts was impressive during spring ball. Head coach Urban Meyer has raved about him, so expect McMillan to be a key piece to the Buckeyes' defense.
The Texas A&M Aggies' defensive line was probably the team's weakest link last year, so defensive end Myles Garrett can help change that in 2014. A player with all the makings of a premier pass rusher, Garrett will get the chance to shine in 2014.
Every new coach needs a new toy, and Steve Sarkisian and the USC Trojans will be getting a great one in Adoree' Jackson. He will likely play cornerback, wide receiver and return kicks for the Trojans in 2014, making him a dynamic threat.
The LSU Tigers don't have a lot of depth at running back, so Leonard Fournette -- the nation's top recruit -- seems destined to shine in 2014. Fournette is the real deal, and many believe he was the best high school running back since Adrian Peterson.
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