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New stars prepared to emerge in 2011

The 2011 college football season is less than 50 days away.

The unofficial start to the 2011 season comes later this week, as SEC media days get underway in Birmingham, Ala., followed by the ACC, Big 12, Big East, Big Ten and Pac-10 next week.

Who are college football's next stars? Here's a look at a handful of incoming freshmen and other players ready to emerge in 2011:

Malcolm Brown, RB, Texas

The Longhorns have lacked an every-down running back in each of the past few seasons, which was a big reason they limped to a stunning 5-7 record in 2010. Brown, from Cibolo, Texas, is a bruising, downhill runner and was ranked the No. 2 running back prospect in the country by ESPN Recruiting. Texas ranked No. 66 nationally in rushing last season, averaging 150.5 yards per game. The Longhorns need the highly touted freshman to help provide a more consistent running attack and take pressure off quarterback Garrett Gilbert.

Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina

The Gamecocks freshman, who was ranked the No. 1 recruit in the country by ESPN Recruiting, is one of the most highly recruited players to ever sign with South Carolina. Blessed with a rare combination of size and speed, he figures to make an immediate impact on Ellis Johnson's defense in 2011. The Gamecocks, the defending SEC East champions, are already stacked on the defensive line, but Clowney might become a pass-rushing specialist because he creates so many matchup problems for opponents.

Isaiah Crowell, RB, Georgia

Georgia coach Mark Richt didn't hesitate in saying Crowell would have a chance to win the Bulldogs' starting tailback job. Richt might not have another option now, without leading rushers Washaun Ealey (transferred) and Caleb King (ruled academically ineligible). Crowell, a freshman from Columbus, Ga., might have to become UGA's every-down back if the Bulldogs are going to rebound from last season's 6-7 record.

Kiehl Frazier, QB, Auburn

Frazier, a freshman, might be the leading candidate to replace Heisman Trophy winner Cameron Newton, after Clint Moseley and Barrett Trotter struggled to claim the job during spring practice. Frazier ran a version of Auburn offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn's offense at Shiloh Christian School in Springdale, Ark. Frazier passed for 2,975 yards with 42 touchdowns and rushed for 1,164 yards with 22 scores as a senior.

Christian Green, WR, Florida State

Florida State coaches raved about Green's vast improvement during spring practice, and the redshirt freshman might emerge as a big-play receiver for the Seminoles this coming season. The nephew of former FSU receiver E.G. Green, Christian Green played quarterback as a senior at Catholic High School in Tampa, Fla., passing for 777 yards with 11 touchdowns, while also running for more than 500 yards. He spent this past season polishing his receiver skills and seems ready to break out in 2011.

Aaron Lynch, DE, Notre Dame

Fighting Irish coach Brian Kelly believes his team will be much better in his second season because its defense will be much-improved. Notre Dame has had a dearth of game-changing defensive linemen over the past several seasons, but Lynch showed in the spring that he has the potential to become a game-changing pass-rusher as a freshman. The Irish ranked 54th nationally in sacks last season, and they'll have to do a better job of pressuring the quarterback in 2011.

Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State

Ohio State might start the 2011 season with a new coach and a freshman quarterback. Luke Fickell was promoted to head coach after Jim Tressel resigned, and Miller might win the starting quarterback job after Terrelle Pryor turned pro. Miller, from Huber Heights, Ohio, wowed OSU fans with his athletic ability during spring practice. Fickell will have to decide if he'll go with Joe Bauserman, a 25-year-old former minor league baseball player, or Miller, an immensely talented freshman.

Kyle Prater, WR, USC

Injuries derailed Prater's first season with the Trojans in 2010, as thumb and hamstring injuries caused him to be redshirted. Prater was ranked among the top 10 receiver prospects in the country in 2009 as a senior at Proviso West High School in Maywood, Ill. He caught 64 passes for 1,151 yards with 13 touchdowns. Prater was slowed by a foot injury during spring practice this year, but he has the size and speed to become one of Matt Barkley's favorite targets if he stays healthy.

Phillip Sims, QB, Alabama

Sims battled AJ McCarron for the starting quarterback job during spring practice, and their competition during preseason camp figures to be one of the most-watched storylines in the country. Sims, from Chesapeake, Va., redshirted this past season, after throwing for 10,725 yards with 119 touchdowns at Oscar Smith High School. He went 48-4 as a starter during his four-year high school career. McCarron, from Mobile, Ala., threw for 338 yards with three touchdowns in limited play behind departed starter Greg McElroy in 2010.

Tyler Wilson, QB, Arkansas

Wilson wowed his teammates and coaches when he replaced injured starter Ryan Mallett in last season's 65-43 loss at Auburn. After coming on in the second quarter, Wilson threw for 322 yards and completed 14 straight passes at one point. He's blessed with one of the country's best receiver corps, especially with Greg Childs coming back from a knee injury that caused him to miss the final five games in 2010. Wilson, who completed 66.7 percent of his passes for 453 yards with four touchdowns and three interceptions in six games last season, might be Hogs coach Bobby Petrino's next NFL-bound pupil.

Mark Schlabach covers college sports for ESPN.com. You can contact him at schlabachma@yahoo.com.