Posted: 4:32 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2013
By Bud Elliott
I chatted with recruiting analyst and Big XII expert Wescott Eberts and SB Nation's Big XII bloggers to determine which true freshmen will make an instant impact in the Big XII.
Baylor's Our Daily Bears shared some thoughts on two key freshmen:
Baylor has a number of "rue freshmen with interesting stories that might contribute at different points in the season, but only two members of the 2013 class fit the bill: WR Robbie Rhodes and DT Andrew Billings.
Rhodes, from what I've been told, has a real chance at significant playing time at one of the outside receiver spots for the Bears opposite Jay Lee, a sophomore. While we have a number of skilled candidates for that spot, most of them lack ideal size. Rhodes is hardly a giant, as you well know, but he's big enough to let his natural athleticism flow through to the field. I'm actually hearing that he's running with the 1s already today, from people who are at practice.
Billings is probably going to have a tougher row to hoe in getting playing time, though Briles has raved already about his strength and agility. Right now, our starters are former 4/5-star DE-turned-DT Javonte Magee, who plays our 3 technique, and Beau Blackshear, who plays the nose. Behind those guys are redshirt sophomores Suleiman Masumbuko and Trevor Clemons-Valdez. If Billings is going to make a move, it will be to displace one of them in the second unit, possibly with incoming JUCO DT Terrell Brooks at his side.
Receiver Shelton Gibson is electric and will have every opportunity to step up at the receiver position, given the massive personnel losses West Virginia had at the position.
The Longhorns are an extremely veteran group, and Tyrone Swoopes is the most likely to make an impact, even though he is not a serious threat for the starting quarterback job.
Defensive end Matt Dimon may be pressed into duty for the Sooners with the injury to D.J. Ward. Running back Keith Ford may be too talented to keep off the field, and defensive back/linebacker Hatari Byrd is likely to be a valuable, versatile defender early on in his career.
Corion Webster won't be Oklahoma State's starting running back, but he is easily talented enough to make an impact in the hurry up offense.
Davis Webb is firmly in the mix to start at quarterback for the Red Raiders. Will Kliff Kingsbury give the job to a freshman?
Linebacker Nick Ramirez has the talent to make an early impact at linebacker.
Receiver Ty Slanina could get on the field early and center Patrick Morris is making a push, but isn't likely to be a starter.