No such thing as a sure thing with freshmen

We took a look Wednesday at 10 incoming true freshmen who may have an early impact next season in the SEC.

Even coaches admit it’s hard to predict who will play early and who won’t. Everybody adjusts to the college game at a different pace.

Soon after picking the 10, I started thinking about highly-rated guys who’ve come into the SEC in recent years and were expected to make a big impact early, but haven’t to this point for various reasons. Several have already bolted for another school.

In some instances, injuries have held them back, while other players were simply overrated, couldn’t cut it academically, ran into trouble off the field or just never adjusted to the whole college scene.

A few are still hanging in there, and perhaps this will be their season.

So before we get too caught up in who is supposedly a “can’t-miss” prospect, remember some of these guys, who are listed in alphabetical order:

Brendan Beal, LB, Florida: Said last week he plans to transfer after struggling with injuries and playing sparingly.

DeAngelo Benton, WR, Auburn: Still trying to work his way up the depth chart after catching just six passes as a freshman last season. Signed with LSU twice before landing at Auburn.

Bryce Brown, RB, Tennessee: Had a solid freshman season, but didn’t go through spring ball and plans to transfer. Several on the team thought Tauren Poole was better.

Gary Brown, DT, Florida: Dismissed from the team earlier this year following his arrest on battery charges. Redshirted last season after showing up overweight.

Marlon Brown, WR, Georgia: Hopes to see his role increase after catching just two passes last season as a true freshman.

Enrique Davis, RB, Ole Miss: Coming off a solid spring, Davis wasn’t a factor his first two seasons after arriving as the No. 1 prep school player in the country.

Torrey Davis, DT, Florida: Struggled with grades and off-the-field issues his whole career and left the program following the 2008 season.

Chris Donald, LB, Tennessee: Came to Tennessee as one of the top linebacker prospects in the country, but was never able to get on the field and transferred to Chattanooga.

David Gordon, CB, Arkansas: Showed some promise last season as a true freshman, but was arrested this month on drug charges and plans to transfer to Oklahoma State.

Omar Hunter, DT, Florida: Injuries have been his biggest problem, but he’s yet to live up to the hype. Remember how much Urban Meyer talked him up?

Alonzo Lawrence, CB, Alabama: A big-time defensive back recruit for the Crimson Tide who wound up transferring to Southern Miss.

Tyler Love, OT, Alabama: One of the top-rated offensive line prospects of the 2008 class. Love is still trying to crack the Tide’s rotation.

Nu’Keese Richardson, WR, Tennessee: Arrested on robbery charges and dismissed from the team. Caught just eight passes last season as a freshman.

Tyrik Rollison, QB, Auburn: Once thought to be Auburn’s future quarterback, Rollison is leaving the program and transferring to Sam Houston State.

Chris Strong, LB, Ole Miss: Academic issues derailed Strong’s career. He left school following his freshman season after making a few starts at middle linebacker.