NFL Media ranks Oregon true freshman DE Canton Kaumatule as the No. 10 impact freshmen in the nation.
Kaumatule was the No. 15 player in the ESPN 300. "The team is hoping that Kaumatule, a five-star recruit from Buckner's high school in Hawaii, will be able to step in right away to fill [Arik] Armstead's shoes as a similarly sized 6-foot-6, 290-pounder who can play multiple positions and roles," wrote College Football 24/7 writer Bryan Fischer. "Kaumatule is a high-effort and high-upside player with a very good blend of size and athleticism," reads his ESPN scouting report. "Projects as a top-level prospect with additional strength and refined technique."
NFL Media ranks Ohio State junior RB Ezekiel Elliott as the No. 6 offensive player in the country.
"For all the talk about the way Cardale Jones performed in three starts at quarterback to close out Ohio State's season, it was Elliott who raised his game even more over the same stretch," wrote College Football 24/7 writer Chase Goodbread. Indeed, Elliott went off for 20-220-2 against Wisconsin, 20-230-2 versus Alabama and 36-246-4 across from Oregon. "This fall, he'll be a staple of the Buckeyes' offense no matter who is at quarterback," wrote Goodbread. The 6-foot, 225-pound Elliott rushed for 1,878 yards and 18 touchdowns last season collectively.
South Carolina DE Marquavius Lewis ranks as the No. 6 immediate impact transfer in the country, in the estimation of NFL Media.
"Lewis, a consensus top-three JC prospect, enrolled early, went through spring practice and showed enough to make folks think he will be a key starter for a Gamecocks defense looking to bounce back from a mediocre season," wrote College Football 24/7 writer Mike Huguenin. "Lewis had 18.5 sacks in two seasons at Hutchinson; South Carolina basically had no pass rush last season, finishing last in the SEC with just 14 sacks." The 6-foot-3, 266-pound Lewis was ranked by 247Sports.com as the No. 3 JUCO recruit. He calls Greenwood, S.C. home, the same hometown of Sam Montgomery (Cincinnati Bengals), D.J. Swearinger (Tampa Bay Buccaneers) and Kelcy Quarles (Indianapolis Colts). Must be the water.
As a true freshman last season, Alabama sophomore OT Cameron Robinson was "an upgrade from 2014 second-round pick Cyrus Kouandjio at the position for the Crimson Tide," according to NFL Media.
NFL Media ranks Robinson as the No. 5 offensive player in the entire country. "The first true freshman to start for Alabama at left tackle since Andre Smith, Robinson gave up just three sacks all season while seeing action against six NFL draft picks (Dante Fowler, Shane Ray, Markus Golden, Preston Smith, Danielle Hunter and Trey Flowers)," wrote College Football 24/7 writer Chase Goodbread. "As if that wasn't enough of a test, he also battled three of the best 15 defensive players still in the college game: Ohio State's Joey Bosa, Texas A&M's Myles Garrett and Tennessee's Derek Barnette." The 6-foot-6, 326-pounder won't be draft eligible until after next season.
NFL Media believes Tennessee true freshman DT Kahlil McKenzie could have a similar impact as Derek Barnett had last year.
That's quite a statement given the season Barnett had. "Fellow freshman Shy Tuttle enrolled in the spring and has a bit of a head start on McKenzie, but there's little doubt McKenzie has the ability to come in and solidify the middle of the defense early on," wrote College Football 24/7 writer Bryan Fischer. The site ranks McKenzie, the son of Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie, as the No. 11 impact freshmen in the land.
Louisville redshirt sophomore CB Shaq Wiggins earned a starting job in spring practices.
Wiggins (5-foot-10, 171) started eight games at Georgia as a true freshman in 2013. He transferred a year ago after running into some problems on campus. NFL Media ranks him as the No. 10 most impactful transfer. "While he lacks bulk, he has good speed and ball skills, and also possesses the talent to contend for All-ACC honors," wrote College Football 24/7 writer Mike Huguenin.
Oklahoma sophomore RB Samaje Perine "possesses uncanny power at 5-11 and nearly 240 pounds, but can break long runs if he gets past the second level of the defense," notes NFL Media.
The site passes along an interesting comparison: As a freshman, Perine had 263 carries, 1,713 yards, 21 touchdowns and a 6.5-yard average while Adrian Peterson had 339 carries, 1,925 yards, 15 scores and a 5.7-yard average during his debut season. NFL Media ranks Perine as the No. 8 offensive player in the entire country.
JUCO transfer CB Brandon Stewart was Kansas' top CB in spring practices.
Stewart signed with the Jayhawks out of Trinity Valley CC (Texas). "Kansas might not find much success on the football field this fall, but a bright spot is that Stewart (6-0, 171) looks good," wrote College Football 24/7 writer Mike Huguenin. "He should help solidify the secondary: Both of Kansas' starting corners from last season were drafted earlier this month." Last season, Stewart posted three picks and 19 pass breakups.