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SEC Impact Freshmen: Alabama

With the SEC season less than three months away, here’s a look at the potential impact freshmen for each team. Recruiting rankings are based on the 247Sports Composite which calculates the average of all four major recruiting websites (247Sports, Rivals, ESPN and Scout.)

2014 Record:

12-2 (7-1 SEC), SEC Champions.

2015 Team Ranking

National Rank No. 1

SEC Rank: No. 1

Class Breakdown

5-star: 3

4-star: 16

3-star: 5

Top Incoming Prospects

  • WR Calvin Ridley- 5-star, Monarch (Pompano Beach, FL), No. 1 WR, No. 11 overall
  • CB Kendall Sheffield- 5-star, Fort Bend Marshall (Missouri City, TX), No. 4 CB, No. 20 overall
  • PRO QB Blake Barnett- 5-star, Santiago (Corona, CA), No. 2 PRO, No. 21 overall
  • DT Daron Payne- Shades Valley 5-star, (Birmingham, AL), No. 7 DT, No. 29 overall
  • CB Minkah Fitzpatrick- 5-star, St. Peters Prep (Jersey City, NJ), No. 5 CB, No. 30 overall.

Class Overview

Like most years, Alabama has a top-ranked class of signees and little depth issues. Think about it. On most teams incoming freshman Damien Harris, the nation’s top running back, would compete for a starting role.

Instead, Harris will play behind veterans Derrick Henry, Kenyan Drake and a cast of former blue chip prospects on the depth chart.

Ridley does have a chance to make an impact at wide receiver. Aside from being the Tide’s best incoming prospect, he plays a position that lost its three most productive players in Amari Cooper, DeAndrew White and Christion Jones.

Delonte Thompson and Ronnie Harrison also have a chance to compete for playing time. Alabama looks to fill replace starters Landon Collins and Nick Perry. Both Thompson and Harrison opted to enroll early in January and could have a serious chance to fill a starting role.

While Barnett may be the quarterback of the future, his odds of starting in 2015 are bleak. Despite enrolling early, his lack of experience is his greatest disadvantage. Jacob Coker should finally secure the starting role leading up to his second season in Tuscaloosa.

As a whole, Alabama’s class will likely make the largest long-term impact. Head coach Nick Saban is capable of getting players to reach their full potential. He has coached an astounding 48 NFL players during his tenure at Alabama and should add to his streak in the coming years.

But the 2015 class will likely have to wait to make an on-field impact. Again, Saban’s mastered the recruiting trail and has top classes on top classes.

The Tide’s experienced veterans will see the most playing time and should see a strong output. However, Alabama’s new signees will lay the foundation for continued success in the future.

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