Which ACC true freshmen are set to make instant impacts?

Five-star Clemson cornerback Mackensie Alexander - Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

True freshmen could play a big role in determining the ACC champion in 2013.

The ACC has recruited well of late, and several freshmen are set to make major impressions in 2013.

Florida State

Despite losing 11 starters from their best squad in a decade, the 2013 Seminoles are pretty loaded, and no true freshmen are slated to start. Several, however, may be too talented to keep off the field for long, as discussed at Tomahawk Nation.

On offense, freshmen receivers Jesus Wilson and Levonte "Kermit" Whitfield are likely to get playing time in the slot. On defense, end Demarcus Walker, linebacker Matthew Thomas, and cornerback Jalen Ramsey, all five-stars, should each play 100 or more snaps.


The Tigers are the favorite to win the ACC this year, according to the media, and will be depending on several talented freshmen to make that happen.

Mackenzie Alexander could start at cornerback, and Jayron Kearse could make the second team in the defensive backfield, as could Korrin Wiggins. Linebacker Ben Boulware is a likely second-teamer. On offense, tight end Jordan Leggett will play a major role if healthy, and T.J. Green and Mike Williams will play a good bit at receiver.


State of the U weighs in on the Hurricanes:

Early enrollee Alex "Figatron" Figueroa has taken the coaching staff aback with how good he has been in spring and through the first few days of camp. The son of two Marines is mature beyond his years and far better then his three-star ranking coming out of high school. He is also unusually big, at 230 pounds, for a frosh linebacker. Pencil him in as a starter at one OLB spot.

Perhaps he most impressive freshman on the roster is receiver Stacy Coley, who tied sophomore Herb Waters for the second fastest 40 on the team.

Coley will have to get past Allen Hurns, Phillip Dorsett, Herb Waters, and Rayshawn Scott to get major playing time. Look for him to start out slow but by season's end be right there with Waters as the best receiver on the team.

Miami is looking for a big back to take the role of Mike James as a change of pace from Duke Johnson. True freshman Gus Edwards is competing with bruising 215-pound sophomore Danny Dillard for a spot.

Cornerback Artie Burns is currently behind Ladarius Gunter, Tracy Howard, Antonio Crawford, and Nate Dortch on the depth chart, but if any of them struggle or get hurt, Burns is good enough to play ASAP. Gunter appears to have one spot locked up with an impressive spring. Word is Crawford is a touch ahead of the highly touted Howard.

North Carolina

The Tar Heels have been recruiting well under Larry Fedora, and several true freshmen should play early. Receiver Johnathan Howard and Ryan Switzer will play a good bit in UNC's spread offense, while corner Brian Walker and safety Dominique Green are some of the top reserves in the secondary.

Virginia Tech

I spoke with The Key Play about Virginia Tech. The Hokies have quite a few depth issues, and as a result, will be depending on true freshmen probably more than they would prefer.

Fullback Sam Rogers, a walk-on, has secured the starting job. One offensive tackle spot is between Jonathan McLaughlin and Wyatt Teller, a player who came to Virginia Tech as a defensive tackle and switched over a week ago. On defense, cornerback Kendall Fuller is slated to start, and Brandon Jacyson is one of the top reserves.

N.C. State

Running back Matt Dayes is a talented back out of South Florida and should see significant carries for the Wolfpack.

Boston College

The Eagles have major depth issues at running back, and Tyler Rouse and Myles Willis are both expected to play early and often. Kevin Kavalec could also play a bit at defensive end, according to BC Interruption.


Testudo Times thinks a few freshmen could have big effects in the Terps' final season in the ACC:

Yannick Ngakoue and Will Likely are the most likely to play, with Jacquille Veii and Taivon Jacobs having a shot. Edsall today said they expect about ten of the true freshmen to play this year, mostly on special teams.

Georgia Tech

From The Rumble Seat expects a few freshmen to contribute early:

Harrison Butker will likely take over as kicker, even with upperclassmen ahead of him. The returning guys have been consistently bad since Scott Blair left after 2010, so it's Butker's to lose.

Paul "P.J." Davis will probably make some nasty hits on special teams coverage. Ricky Jeune will likely play in our massively depleted receiving corps.

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