Once again, Southeastern Conference programs landed a ton of talent -- not to mention a lot of big-name prospects -- in 2013.
Alabama signee O.J. Howard could challenge for a starting spot in 2013.
But the highest-rated prospects aren't always the ones that make the biggest impact early.
In fact, early playing time arguably is based more on need than it is on someone's ability.
Looking at the SEC, here's the 247Sports list of the 2013 signees we believe could have the greatest impact for their team next season.
O.J. Howard , TE, Prattville (Ala.) Autauga Academy -- Howard, a five-star prospect and the No. 1 tight end in the 2013 class, has a great chance to get significant playing time in 2013. In fact, it's possible he could start. Howard is expected to see a lot of action at the H-back spot. With the Tide's 2012 starter having left, the door is open for Howard, who could give Alabama a dimension at that position it really hasn't had. The 6-feet-5, 221-pounder is an early enrollee. His frame and physical skills are off the charts.
- For more on Alabama, visit BamaOnLine.com
Carroll Washington, CB, Hartnell College (Calif.) -- The No. 2 junior college cornerback in the 247Composite, Washington has a very good chance to be a Day-1 starter for the Razorbacks. He has excelled in coverage, and likely will have had enough seasoning at the junior college level to step right in. Washington was a big-time pickup for Arkansas, which desperately needed talented secondary players in the 2013 class. He has a perfect cornerback frame (he's 6-feet, 175 pounds), and SEC speed to go with it.
- For more on Arkansas, visit Hawgs247
Because Mississippi State has a need at receiver, the door is open for 2013 signee Fred Ross.
Cameron Artis-Payne, RB, Allan Hancock College (Calif.) -- Artis-Payne isn't one of the bigger names in the Auburn class, but he has ability and he has opportunity. Auburn basically will return one proven running back (Tre Mason) in 2013, so he will have a very good chance for early playing time. Artis-Payne, the No. 4 JUCO running back in the 247Composite, is older and probably more college ready than a first-year player out of high school might be. He also will have the benefit of going through spring practice since he enrolled at Auburn in January.
- For more on Auburn, visit AuburnUndercover
Tre'Davious White, ATH, Shreveport (La.) Green Oaks -- White, the No. 55 overall prospect in the 247Composite, should be able to come in and compete right away for the starting spot at nickelback. Tharold Simon left for the draft, and Jalen Collins should slide from nickel into his old spot at corner. However, if White progresses rapidly, he possibly could push Collins. Regardless, we expect to see White on the field a lot in 2013. At this stage, White has skills similar to former LSU standout Morris Claiborne.
- For more on LSU, visit Geaux247
Fred Ross, WR, Tyler (Texas) John Tyler -- Defensive end Chris Jones, the No. 2 overall prospect in the 247Composite, is the jewel of the 2013 Bulldogs class, but Mississippi State returns both starting defensive ends. Meanwhile, the Bulldogs lost five senior receivers, including their top three players at that position. Therefore, Ross should have a bigger impact than Jones -- at least in Year 1. Ross is the No. 194 overall prospect in the 247Composite. At 6-feet-2, 185 pounds, he gives Mississippi State a big, talented target.
- For more on Mississippi State, visit Bulldawgs247
Nickolas Brassell, ATH, East Mississippi C.C. -- It would seem as though the obvious pick is prized defensive end Robert Nkemdiche, the No. 1 national recruit for 2013. Nkemdiche should play this year, and play a lot. But Brassell, who originally signed with the Rebels in 2011 and spent a season in Oxford before he was forced to enroll in a junior college because of grades, is an exceptional athlete that we think will start in 2013 at cornerback. The Rebels have a serious need there, and Brassell is a major talent. He's also a proven commodity. While at Ole Miss two seasons ago, he made an impact.
- For more on Ole Miss, visit Rebels247
Four-star linebacker Larenz Bryant was an important signee for the Gamecocks.
JaQuay Williams, WR, Fork Union Military Academy (Va.) -- The Aggies are looking for receivers after having lost four of the five top guys from 2012. In the 6-feet-4, 204-pound Williams, they landed one of the most athletically gifted receivers in the country. He's already on campus, and is competing with the team this spring. That should help. While the Aggies also signed the ultra-talented five-star athlete Ricky Seals-Jones, Williams has a little more seasoning and Seals-Jones isn't yet in College Station.
- For more on Texas A&M, visit GigEm247
Kelvin Taylor, RB, Belle Glade (Fla.) Glades Day School -- The son of former Gator and NFL standout Fred Taylor should contribute early in Gainesville, where he already is enrolled. With 1,000-yard rusher Mike Gillislee gone and rising sophomore Matt Jones still learning the ropes, there is an opening for early playing time at tailback. Taylor, a five-star recruit and the No. 2 running back in the 247Composite, might not start, but he should at least be in the rotation. Taylor isn't a speedster, but coaches love his vision, his patience and his footwork. It should help that he will be running behind an experienced -- and talented -- offensive line.
- For more on Florida, visit GatorBait.net
Tray Matthews, S, Newnan (Ga.) -- Georgia lost both starting safeties from 2012, Bacarri Rambo and Shawn Williams, and that will give Matthews a great chance to hit the field early and often in 2013. Not only is there opportunity, but he's a tremendous talent. An early enrollee, Matthews finished as the No. 79 overall prospect and No. 11 safety in the 247Composite. The 6-feet-1, 192-pounder, who is known for his athleticism and ball skills, will play Rambo's old spot at free safety.
- For more on Georgia, visit Dawgs247
Za'Darius Smith, DE, East Mississippi C.C. (Scooba, MS) -- While Kentucky needs to improve in many areas, a glaring weakness last season was its play on the defensive front. As a team, the Wildcats recorded only 25 sacks. Smith is a player with the potential to help change that. He's a 6-feet-6, 250-pound end that ranked as the No. 2 junior college player at his position. Given that he's older and already has enrolled, Smith should be ready to be a factor from Day 1 for defensive-minded head coach Mark Stoops and new Wildcats defensive coordinator D.J. Eliot, who had a stellar track record as defensive ends coach at Florida State before moving to Lexington.
- For more on Kentucky, visit CatsPause.com
Josh Augusta, DT, Peoria, IL (Peoria) -- Augusta was a significant signee for the Tigers. With Missouri star Sheldon Richardson leaving early for the NFL, Augusta could have a major impact in 2013. He's the No. 236 overall prospect and No. 19 defensive tackle. In the SEC, you can never have enough good tackles, and Augusta has the potential to do big things in Columbia. One thing that stands out about Augusta is his size. He's 6-feet-5, 295 pounds. At this position, Missouri did extremely well for itself as the Tigers also landed Antar Thompson.
- For more on Missouri, visit TigerProwl.com
Larenz Bryant, OLB, Charlotte (N.C.) Vance -- South Carolina had a serious need at linebacker, and the Gamecocks landed their top target in Bryant. There is an opening in Columbia at linebacker and the ultra-talented Bryant, the No. 9 outside backer and No. 105 overall prospect in the 247Composite, has the skills to make an immediate impact. The Gamecocks lost almost their entire two-deep at their true linebacker spots. Bryant likely will be outside, but has the versatility to also play inside or even at the team's Spur position (a linebacker/safety hybrid).
- For more on South Carolina, visit TheBigSpur
Paul Harris, WR, Upper Marlboro (Md.) Frederick Douglass -- The Volunteers signed an excellent receivers class, and there is a great need at that position given what Tennessee lost from 2012. From the group of talented newcomers we'll give Harris an edge for now since he's the only Tennessee receiver signee that already is enrolled. Early reports from Knoxville indicate the coaches love Harris. Apparently, he watches a ton of film and he's a gym rat. The 6-feet-4, 195-pounder also has some talent. When you combine all of that, it seems likely Harris will find his way onto the field this fall.
- For more on Tennessee, visit govols247
Jay Woods, DT, Jackson (Ga.) -- Woods, a four-star prospect in the 247Composite, has a few things working in his favor. For starters, he's a solid player that has all the physical attributes needed for the rugged SEC. Also, Vanderbilt graduated some tackles from its 2012 team, and will need help at that position. The 6-feet-3, 275-pound Woods is an athletic and intelligent player that also is hungry to succeed. The Commodores usually prefer to redshirt most of their freshmen, but given Woods' physical maturity and the team's need up front he has a legitimate chance of finding his way into the defensive line rotation if he arrives prepared this summer.
- For more on Vanderbilt, visit Vandy247
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