Who Are The Top 10 SEC Freshmen In 2014?


As the Crimson Tide prepare to kickoff the 2014 season, we’ve devoted ample time to discussing the incoming Alabama players expected to make immediate impacts. Now let’s turn our attention to other freshman across the SEC.

RB Leonard Fournette, LSU

Fournette is a top-flight recruit who is expected to make an immediate impact for the Tigers.  LSU seems to always have a stable of able backs, but with the departure of Jeremy Hill, there’s an opening for a Day One playmaker.  Enter Leonard Fournette, who one day we’ll be proud to call an SEC product. But that will only come after Alabama is no longer tasked with bringing him to the ground.

DE Myles Garrett, Texas A&M

The Aggies’ struggles on defense last year were legendary.  A lack of depth pressed many young players into action for a harsh on-the-job training environment.  Such an issue is not fixed overnight, but the returning players will bring significant experience to the mix this time around.  Having a five-star defensive end to launch at opposing quarterbacks will certainly help, and Garrett fits the bill nicely.

LB Tre Williams, Auburn

The War Eagle’s defense was not as flimsy as that of the Aggies, but it returns enough holes such that a player of Tre’s talent level should be able to find an opportunity to showcase his wares.  The hurry-up offense employed by Auburn speeds up the time between possessions and increasingly fatigues the defense; yet another reason to expect Williams on the field early and often.

WR Malachi Dupre, LSU

There’s a reason LSU is supplanting Tennessee as a significant rival; they have the talent to make the rivalry stand on its own two feet.  Bringing in the top rated running back and wide receiver in the same class is a coup for anyone, but much like it would be at Alabama, it more resembles a day in the office at LSU.  It has not been unlike LSU to waste receiving talent in the past, which contributes further to this being an interesting player to watch.

NG Matt Elam, Kentucky

What self-respecting, Alabama football recruiting-obsessed fan (is that redundant?) is not keeping an eye on Matt Elam?  Does he go on to become the next Dwayne Robertson or does he get lost in the Bluegrass?

CB Jalen Tabor, Florida

Florida has needs all over the field, but one position which can help shore up a defense in a hurry is a shutdown corner.  Delivering on that full promise as a freshman may be unrealistic, but if the ability is there we’ll see glimpses of it early.

Ath Jeremy Liggins, Ole Miss

Recruited as an Athlete, Liggins has spent time at quarterback while at North East Mississippi Community College, which is only interesting because he goes a good 285 pounds.  Don’t expect Liggins to burst out as an instant star, but it’ll be interesting to see if he is given a shot at QB, or if he’s shuttled quickly to TE.

WR Darnell Green-Beckham, Missouri

As with Liggins, ‘Top to Watch’ doesn’t have to mean future superstar.  Darnell’s brother Dorial was recently (since signing day) removed from the Missouri squad and has subsequently signed with Oklahoma, where he is petitioning to play this season.  We’re no experts on the dynamics of the Green-Beckham family, but it stands to reason that Darnell, a two-star recruit, was afforded his opportunity in Columbia based in some measure on the name brand of his brother.  Against this backdrop, it’ll be interesting to see how it plays out.

RB Jalen Hurd, Tennessee

Tennessee has ramped up their recruiting under Butch Jones, and a player expected to make an immediate impact is five-star running back Jalen Hurd.  Playing behind a brand new offensive line will pose its own obstacle, but expect Hurd to make some noise early.

WR Josh Malone, Tennessee

Another example of Tennessee’s improved recruiting emphasis is wide receiver Josh Malone, another highly-rated in-state prospect.  Receiver is a more dependent position, and the holes in the UT roster are mighty, but expect Malone to make a mark by season’s end.  He and Hurd will be the hallmarks for bold proclamations come 2015.

For analysis of Alabama’s impact freshmen, Download our 2014 Alabama Football Viewing Guide.