1) Ricky Seals-Jones, WR, Texas A&M
Seals-Jones entered the 2013 college football season with as much fanfare as just about any freshman across the country. In fact, CBS Sports national columnist Gregg Doyel wrote a column prior to the Aggies' opener wondering if Seals-Jones would live up to the legend. At least briefly, he offered a tantalizing glimpse into his potential. Seals-Jones had three catches for 84 yards and a touchdown against the Owls, including a 71-yard catch-and-run where the 6-foot-5, 225-pound (that's his listed size, though A&M has said he's probably closer to 245) receiver broke clear and outran the defense for the score. Alas, such success was brief — Seals-Jones suffered from a nagging knee injury, and, following a missed second game and an uneventful Alabama contest, went under the knife to correct his issues. He's expected to take a medical redshirt, though certainly, he looks like a future star.
2) A'Shawn Robinson, DL, Alabama
At the U.S. Army All-American game practices, A'Shawn Robinson was moved to defensive end. The massive 6-4, 320-pound lineman was a natural tackle, but had the movement skills to fill in on a West roster that was low on players at the position. He fared well, winning most of his battles and generally looking like one of the top few players in the state. Apparently, it foreshadowed the start to his college career —Robinson quickly gobbled up a spot on the Alabama two-deep as a No. 2 defensive end in the Crimson Tide's 3-4 scheme. Robinson has made the most of his opportunity, making nine tackles, including two for loss, and he's tied for the team lead with two sacks. Robinson also has two quarterback hurries. He's always had a freakish combination of size and speed (he's about 30 pounds heavier than current starter Ed Stinson), and as he's currently behind a senior, he'll probably have a chance to start soon enough.
3) Kent Perkins, OL, Texas
Offensive linemen don't typically play immediately, especially not on teams that return all five starters and added a potential immediate-impact JUCO transfer. Don't forget either, that tackle Kennedy Estelle was a top-10 or so in-state player in his own right in the 2012 class. All told those are a lot of roadblocks to playing time for Perkins, and it isn't a surprise that he's expected to redshirt accordingly. Having said that, there's a general feeling in the Texas program that Perkins is destined for big things. He's been compared to former first-team All-American and long-time NFL'er Derrick Dockery, and Perkins spent time on the two-deep in fall camp, though ultimately a nagging shoulder injury and depth on the line have kept him off the field. Perkins was still the one offensive lineman in the 2013 Texas class who was in-line to play as a true freshman, however, and don't be surprised if he makes an impact sooner in his Texas career, rather than later.
4) Robbie Rhodes, WR, Baylor
Rhodes was rated as the No. 18 overall recruit in the country by Scout.com, a testament to his muscled frame and unbelievable speed. It didn't hurt anything that he joined a Baylor offense that has put up video game numbers of late. At 6-0 190, Rhodes is the classic 'X' receiver, someone who can hit for a big play in man coverage and obliterate defenders on go and post routes. He hasn't gotten a chance to do that just yet, though he's listed as a co-starter with sophomore Jay Lee at one outside receiver spot, and he ranks fourth on the Baylor team with seven catches. He has a long catch of 13 yards, and he has 65 receiving yards overall. The Bear offense has been clicking on all cylinders early, and it seems like it's just a matter of time before Rhodes connects on a home run ball.
5) Darius James, Texas
James figured to have a hard road to immediate playing time … not only did he enter the same deep line as Perkins, but James was also coming off a broken foot that caused his weight to balloon. Listed at 6-5 320, James got up as high as 350 pounds before trimming down to probably 330 for the start of fall camp. He'll still have some training to do before getting back to his normal size, between 310 and 320, James has great feet and agility that makes him a gifted puller who can block in space, and with power. Destined for a redshirt this year, look for James to come into camp next year with a reshaped body, and for him to compete for time at one of two guard spots abandoned by graduation.