October 23, 2007

Rebel freshmen make an impact

The ink is hardly dry on signing day when the question is first posed - which new signees will have the biggest impact?

While the eyes are on the four-star prospects who have been evaluated as having the best potential to impact a team immediately, more often than not the true freshman who has the biggest impact is a lesser heralded player.

Such as been the case this season where three-star athlete Johnny Brown, who caught the eyes of coaches in fall camp last August and saw early playing time in the Rebels' nickel package - when a linebacker is substituted for a defensive back. Brown's time has been increased even more since strong safety Jamarca Sanford went down with an injury early in the Louisiana Tech game resulting in him missing the last two games.

Rebel defensive coordinator John Thompson said last spring when talking about inbound help on defense that it's often the unheralded recruit who steps up and when the dust settles about who sees early playing time, it's often the transition from high school football to the speed of the college game that dictates who gets a redshirt season and who sees the field even more so than shear talent.

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