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August 6, 2013
Pac-12: Newcomers who could make impact
Fall camps are under way across the country, including in the Pac-12, and there is no question freshmen will make a big impact in that, and every other, conference.
UCLA finished atop the 2013 Pac-12 Rivals.com team rankings, and many freshmen are expected to contribute, especially in the defensive backfield, but its top early contributor could be someone who wasn't even expected to play for the Bruins.
The Trojans' top-rated prospect, quarterback Max Browne, might be sending in signals from the sidelines, but he could see early playing time. Another five-star prospect could be an immediate contributor, though, and he made the list.
Seven five-star prospects will be freshmen at Pac-12 schools this fall. Many will see the field early, but we feel these five players could make serious contributions right away.
As the college football season approaches, Rivals.com will break down the conferences across the country to see which five true freshmen or junior college transfers could have the biggest impact.
PAC-12: NEWCOMERS WHO COULD MAKE AN IMPACT
Recruiting ranking: Five stars. No. 2-ranked defensive tackle and No. 21 overall in Rivals100 presented by Under Armour
Buzz: Vanderdoes was supposed to be at Notre Dame, and if Fighting Irish coach Brian Kelly had had his way, Vanderdoes would not be playing this season. However, last week an appeals board ruled the former five-star could suit up for the Bruins immediately. That's important because Vanderdoes is huge and talented. He should be an immediate contributor along UCLA's defensive line. The Northern California prospect has the rare combination of speed, power and toughness, especially for a player who carries 300-plus pounds so easily.
Recruiting rankings: Five stars. No. 1-ranked safety and No. 12 overall in Rivals100
Buzz: The reports out of early fall practice about Cravens have been positive, and that's really no surprise. The former top-rated safety has the uncanny ability of being in the right place at the right time, being a step ahead of the game and reading plays to be right where he's supposed to be. There is a very good chance Cravens will see some time as a first-team safety or maybe even linebacker in USC's new defensive scheme. There is a chance he could be a star in USC's defense early in his career.
Recruiting rankings: No. 49 in the Rivals.com junior college postseason top 100 2013
Buzz: There are many things working in Strong's favor. First, Arizona State was average at wide receiver last season and it is even thinner this year, so players will absolutely need to step up. Strong has outstanding size, and he's coming off an exceptional season during which he led Southern California junior college players with about 1,200 receiving yards. There are not many players in front of him, so Strong could be a productive player right away. The Sun Devils might need him to do it.
Recruiting rankings: Four stars. No. 2-ranked dual-threat quarterback and No. 99 in the Rivals100
Buzz: The quarterback situation at Arizona is in flux, and that bodes well for Solomon. He has reportedly looked strong early in fall camp, and he has as much ability as anyone on the roster. Solomon led one of the best high school programs at Bishop Gorman for years, and he fits perfectly into coach Rich Rodriguez's offense. It seems like a wide-open competition. Although Solomon doesn't have experience on his side, his talent could be enough to get him on the field as a freshman.
Recruiting rankings: Five stars. No. 2-ranked running back and No. 17 in the Rivals100
Buzz: De'Anthony Thomas will get rushes, and Byron Marshall could start the season as Oregon's main running back in an offense that should put up major points, but Tyner is expected to see the field fast. He's a local prospect, the biggest name from that area in years. With his ability and reputation, Tyner isn't going to stay on the sidelines long. Oregon's offense should mirror what it has been in years past, and that means it will be fast and aggressive. Many players will get the ball, and Tyner should be one of them.