In 2012, it seemed as though more true freshmen were major contributors in the Southeastern Conference than ever before.
Look for O.J. Howard to play early in Tuscaloosa.
Players such as Amari Cooper and T.J. Yeldon of Alabama are among the first that come to mind.
Which true freshmen will emerge next season?
In this look at SEC recruiting, 247Sports identifies the prospects currently committed to West Division programs that are most likely to make an instant impact in 2013.
IMMEDIATE IMPACT RECRUIT: O.J. Howard, TE, Prattville (Ala.) Autauga Academyy
THE SKINNY: Howard is a five-star prospect and the No. 1 tight end in the 2013 class for a reason. Simply put, he combines a great frame with uncanny athleticism and a sharp mind. Because of those attributes and the fact he physically is SEC ready, Howard is expected to see a lot of action at the H-back spot next season. With the current starter departing, the door is open for Howard, who could give the Tide a dimension at that position it really hasn't had.
IMMEDIATE IMPACT RECRUIT: Carroll Washington, CB, Hartnell College (Calif.)
THE SKINNY: Th No. 1 junior college cornerback and No. 10 overall junior college prospect in the 247Sports rankings, Washington is a big-time score for the Razorbacks, who not only need secondary players but need someone to step in and be a significant contributor. Washington, who picked Arkansas over offers from several other major programs, not only has a perfect cornerback frame (he's 6-feet, 175 pounds), but SEC speed to go with it. This is someone that has thrived in coverage, and likely will have had enough seasoning at the junior college level to step right in.
IMMEDIATE IMPACT RECRUIT: Cameron Artis-Payne, RB, Allan Hancock College (Calif.)
THE SKINNY: Artis-Payne isn't the highest-rated prospect currently committed to the Tigers. He's not even the highest-rated running back in the current Auburn class. Nonetheless, Artis-Payne is a player that has a few things working in his favor. 1. He is the No. 1 junior college back in the country, so ability is not an issue; 2. Auburn basically will return one proven running back (Tre Mason) in 2013; 3. He'll enroll at Auburn in January; 4. He's older and probably more college ready than a first-year player out of high school might be.
IMMEDIATE IMPACT RECRUIT: Tre'Davious White, ATH, Shreveport (La.) Green Oaks
THE SKINNY: White is among the best in-state products for the class of 2013, and he should be able to come in and compete right away for the Tigers at cornerback. Should Tharold Simon leave early for the draft, the opportunity to start could be there. Even if Simon sticks around, White will have a chance to play. At this stage, White has skills similar to former LSU standout Morris Claiborne, and there are some that think he can have the same kind of first-year impact that Claiborne had in Baton Rouge.
IMMEDIATE IMPACT RECRUIT: Nickolas Brassell, ATH, East Mississippi C.C.
THE SKINNY: 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. He'll head to Ole Miss as the No. 13 junior college prospect. Brassell will play cornerback, and seems like a good bet to grab a staring spot because the Rebels' have a need in the secondary. It also wouldn't be a shock to see the speedy Brassell getting some action on offense.
IMMEDIATE IMPACT RECRUIT: Corey Smith, WR, East Mississippi C.C. (Mss.)
THE SKINNY: Mississippi State is losing a handful of receivers from the 2012 squad, so this recruiting cycle it is absolutely critical for the Bulldogs to do well at that position. As of today, they have five receivers committed. Of the group coming in, Smith may be the one to watch. He's a four-star prospect that ranks No. 3 among all junior college receivers. The 5-feet-11, 175-pounder runs very well, and is versatile enough to be a slot receiver, or line up outside. There's little question he will have a big role once he arrives in Starkville.
IMMEDIATE IMPACT RECRUIT: JaQuay Williams, WR, Fork Union Military Academy (Va.)
THE SKINNY: The Aggies definitely have a need at receiver, with a few good players about to depart. Thus far, they have an extremely talented group of wideouts committed, including five-star athlete Ricky Seals-Jones. The player to keep track of early on, though, might be Williams. The 6-feet-4, 204-pounder signed with Auburn in 2012, but eventually landed in prep school. That extra year of seasoning may give him an edge over the other newcomers, and he also will be a mid-term enrollee. Williams not only has great size, but runs extremely well and is one of the more athletic receivers in the class.
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