Earlier this spring I was able to write about the incumbents as well as the unsung players either coming out of a redshirt or who haven't played much before this year. There is a third group that will have a big impact on the 2013 season, and that is the true freshmen.
A few freshmen have already stated their case by graduating early so they could go through spring practice. This gives them a leg up on everyone else since their classmates won't be here until the summer. With a new regime taking over there will likely be at least 3-5 true freshmen that will have some sort of impact.
Here are the prospects for each incoming player:
Matt Burke - TE - The 6'6" tight end was a late addition and looks solid, but there are a lot of more experienced guys in front of him. Gabe Holmes, Sterling Carter, Justin Sinz, Patrick Bade, and Carlos Carvajal just to name a few. Burke likely redshirts because of that.
Keith Byars II - RB - Byars is a bigger back that could be used immediately as a third down/short yardage back. Does anyone remember Steve Ennis? He was the ultimate 1-yard touchdown vulture at Purdue. Given the amount of running backs coming in, however, Byars could easily redshirt.
Leroy Clark - DB - Again, it is an issue of depth and experience ahead of him. Clark would have to greatly impress to see the field immediately in the fall.
Johnny Daniels - DT - Only 250 pounds at defensive tackle will get you eaten alive in the Big Ten. He'll redshirt like most linemen do in order to gain size and strength.
Dalyn Dawkins - RB - Akeem Hunt needs a backup, so why not Dawkins? He is a small, quick back that could be a situational runner. I think he plays at least a little.
Danny Etling - QB - If Etling is already at least No. 2 on the depth chart there is no way he redshirts. In fact, Etling could be the starter in the opener at Cincinnati.
Danny Ezechukwu - LB - Given as much as our linebackers have struggled for a decade I am all for giving anyone a shot. He likely redshirts, but if he is the best available we should play him.
Keyante Green - RB - Green was very highly rated according to most services and there is an opportunity there with Hunt and Brandon Cottom as the only established backs. I think Green is more likely to play than Dawkins.
Ra'Zahn Howard - DT - Of all the incoming linemen I could see Howard playing the most because he is coming out of a prep school year. He does have 4-5 guys ahead of him on the depth chart already though.
Da'Wan Hunte - DB - This is another likely redshirt because of depth.
TyVel Jemison - DB - There are question on if he will qualify academically, but if he does he could be the most talented freshman defensive back we have. That means an early route to the field at safety.
Austin Logan - DB - Yet another player in a mass of young defensive backs. We all know Ricardo Allen is starting and guys like Landon Feichter and Normondo Harris are going nowhere, so that makes a mass redshirtting of defensive backs likely.
Antoine Miles - DE - Someone needs to play opposite Ryan Russell on the defensive line, but I doubt it is Miles after the way that unit was so good at the spring game.
Dan Monteroso - WR - Coach Hazell likes his big wide receivers and Monteroso has good size at 6'3". I'd like to see what he could do across the street at Mackey Arena since he scored over 2,000 points in his career in high school basketball.
Myles Norwood - WR - Norwood is at another position where there are plenty of upperclassmen ahead of him, but they haven't exactly lit the world on fire, so he could get a look.
Evan Panfil - DE - If 250 pounds is too small for a defensive lineman in the Big Ten then 230 pounds is an almost automatic redshirt.
Dezwan Polk - LB - Very few two-star linebackers play immediately. He is tall, but skinny at 210 pounds.
Jake Replogle - DE - His three older brothers played at Indiana, so Replogle has the genes to be a backup immediately at defensive end and knows what it takes too. It wouldn't surprise me if he avoided a redshirt.
John Strauser - ATH - Strauser is listed as an athlete but will likely be somewhere on the front seven on defense. I could see him becoming a speed rusher or a reserve linebacker and playing since he is one that already went through spring practice.
Johnny Thompson - LB - At 6'2" 210 he is almost undoubtedly going to redshirt.
Jason Tretter - OL - The lone offensive line recruit has a large number of players coming off of a redshirt in front of him. I think he definitely redshirts.
David Yancey - ATH - Yancey was the third true freshman to go through spring practice and he was tried out at a number of positions. Look for him to be a pass catcher out of the backfield or punt returner.
DeAngelo Yancey - If you have speed you can always make an impact somewhere. Allegedly DeAngelo has 4.5 speed.