The following are prospects who could make the most immediate impact and have early-value potential for the 2014 CFB season.
RB Leonard Fournette, LSU: LSU inked the nation's No. 1-ranked prospect, and it couldn't have come at a more important time. Not only did the Tigers lose 1,000-yard rusher Jeremy Hill early to the NFL, but also a second running back in Alfred Blue. That means that Cam Cameron's offense has lost more than 1,700 yards and 17 touchdowns, and there is not a better replacement than Fournette. Not only does Fournette have the speed, hands, physicality and all-around ability to be an every-down back as a true freshman, but he also has a body that is developed well past his years capable of taking the beating required as an every-down back in the SEC.
CB Jalen Tabor, Florida: The five-star cornerback was a huge flip from Arizona in early January. The reason is simple: The 6-foot-1, 188-pound Tabor is already on campus in Gainesville and the Gators lost both Marcus Roberson and Loucheiz Purifoy early to the NFL. Tabor enters the college ranks with the size and physicality needed to compete right away and has a jump on the competition, having already enrolled. Tabor also possesses scheme versatility, which only furthers his chances of getting on the field from the word "go."
CB Tony Brown, Alabama: One of the targeted areas for Alabama in the 2014 class was size at corner, and the Crimson Tide covered that need in spades with five-star cornerbacks Brown and Marlon Humphrey (Hoover, Ala./Hoover). While the Crimson Tide return several corners who played last season, none of them have the size and speed combination of two-sport star Brown. Couple that with the fact that Brown is already on campus in Tuscaloosa and will take part in spring practice, and the 6-foot, 195-pounder is a good bet to see the field early and often.
CB Jabrill Peppers, Michigan: While Michigan returns both starting cornerbacks next season, the versatile and college-ready Peppers still makes the list. Not only is Peppers talented enough to crack the rotation at corner, but could also quickly become the starter in the nickel package and a factor in the punt return game. Peppers could also see time on offense at wide receiver in a limited role. Because of his mature physicality, confidence and versatility, the multitalented Peppers is a solid choice to become a household name in the fall of 2014.
WR Josh Malone, Tennessee: There is little doubt that the 6-foot-2, 191-pound Malone will hit the field for the Volunteers as a true freshman, but just how much playing time he gets is the question. With only Marquez North and Alton Howard returning as fully established wide receivers for Butch Jones, both Malone and junior college transfer Von Pearson are expected to play immediately with both being spring enrollees. While enrolling early is a key component, the time afforded to build ample chemistry with quarterback Joshua Dobbs throughout the spring and summer is ideal. Malone could also factor in the kickoff return game.
DT Andrew Brown, Virginia: Another early enrollee, the five-star Brown will have the chance to step in immediately for the Cavaliers and compete for a starting spot with the graduation of veteran Brent Urban. Brown arrives at Virginia as a physically advanced player in the trenches with elite quickness at 295 pounds. Brown is also strong at the point of attack with the ability to fire out low and gain leverage.
DE Myles Garrett, Texas A&M: While the Aggies return starters Julien Obioha and Gavin Stansbury, as well as talented rising sophomore Daeshon Hall, Garrett is a blend of power and athleticism in a college-ready body that few possess. It's clear Garrett will push the more experienced starters, but just when that will happen next fall.
OT Cameron Robinson, Alabama: While jumping onto the field from day one at offensive tackle is difficult on the college level, five-star Robinson is one of the few who have the opportunity. Not only does Robinson have the size/mass to hold up in the SEC, but also has the entire baseline athletic skill set to go with it. Add in the fact that the North Louisiana product is already on campus in Tuscaloosa going through the rigorous offseason and spring practice, and that Cyrus Kouandjio entered the NFL draft early, and the Under Armour All-America Game standout is positioned to make a run at a starting spot at either left or right tackle.
WR Speedy Noil, Texas A&M: The five-star Noil, for a variety of reasons, is a pick to hit the field in the Aggies' 2014 season opener and compete for a starting spot. First, Noil is on campus already and has the spring to learn the scheme and develop as a route runner. Second, Travis Labhart has graduated, leaving an open spot for competition between Noil, Sabian Holmes and LaQuvionte Gonzalez. Noil could also factor into the punt and kickoff return game.
WR De'Andre Thompkins, Penn State: While there might be more developed route runners and bigger and more physically gifted athletes entering the college ranks at wide receiver, Thompkins has the best opportunity considering that he's already on campus in Happy Valley. With Allen Robinson entering the NFL draft, the Nittany Lions have a nearly bare cupboard at wide receiver. There isn't a question of if Thompkins will play; he has no choice, ready or not.