What five freshmen could make an immediate impact?
- Yanni Karlaftis (If Healthy) – Linebacker
- Rickey Smith – Cornerback/Safety
- Brandon Calloway – Cornerback
- Tristan Cox – Linebacker
- Jah’Von Grigsby – Cornerback
Do you see a theme here? With yesterday’s report of how thin we are at cornerback, these incoming freshmen in the secondary will have all the opportunity in the world to find some early playing time in the secondary.
Don’t be surprised if you see all three at some point this season. My personal favorite is Rickey Smith from Orlando. Rickey had an offer to play at the U, but saw an opportunity to play early and often and came up north.
I think some of these guys could also play safety, but with the definite need at cornerback, look for them all to make at least an attempt at cornerback.
As for Karlaftis, it was destined that he will get a crack to start at Outside Linebacker. But, he has had a lingering hamstring issue, that appears to be worse than what was originally thought to be. Once healthy, he will have a shot – he could be our most athletic linebacker already.
For Trsitan Cox, he enrolled early and enrolled at 6-3, 240 pounds. He has a body ready to play in the Big Ten already and will only continue to get stronger in his early months here. Cox is a true 4-3 interior linebacker. He is broad, thick and can run sideline to sideline.
If he doesn’t play on defense at all, he will be a guy that should be able to plug into special teams.
On offense, I think we are pretty set and will not need many newcomers to make an impact. But, defensively, we will need all the help we can get with how bad we were on that side of the ball.