10 Early-Enrollees To Watch During Spring Practice

    10 early-enrollees from the 2016 recruiting class to watch during spring practice.

    February 10, 2016

    With the National Signing Day dust having settled, here are 10 early-enrollees to watch during spring practice.

    As we see every year, National Signing Day is quite the showcase with college football coaches eagerly waiting by the fax machine as their recruiting classes take shape.

    With the countless hours of work put in on the recruiting trail, signing day is the culmination of years worth of effort. What tends to be lost in the mix, however, are the recruits who enroll early.

    But that doesn’t make the prospects who step on campus in January any less valuable. In fact, often times they’re even more crucial to a team’s success. Extra development time is always a plus. They also sometimes fill positions of severe need for programs. 

    With 2016 NSD in the history books, we take a look at 10 early-enrollees from this past class fans should keep an eye on during spring practice. 

    Jacob Eason

    Quarterback, Georgia Bulldogs

    The starting quarterback job for Georgia is wide open right now, and Kirby Smart would definitely have support in starting true freshman Jacob Eason. It’ll be interesting to see how he transitions in the spring. Those early reps will come in handy.

    Feleipe Franks

    Quarterback, Florida Gators

    Much like their SEC East rival, the Georgia Bulldogs, the Gators are looking for a new starting quarterback now that Will Grier will be transferring from the program. Treon Harris is not the answer, and will reportedly be practicing at wide receive this spring. Austin Appleby transferred to Florida from Purdue, and Luke Del Rio is now eligible after transferring from Oregon State. That means Feleipe Franks will have to have a great spring to beat them out for the starting job.

    Jonathon Cooper

    Defensive End, Ohio State Buckeyes

    With Joey Bosa on his way to the NFL, Ohio State needs to turn the page and find a new playmaker at the defensive end position. Enter Jonathon Cooper. At 6-foot-3 and 234 lbs, Cooper has elite size and can use the spring to win the starting job for the 2016 season.

    Brandon Peters

    Quarterback, Michigan Wolverines

    Jim Harbaugh had the Wolverines defense performing at a very high level last season, but now his quarterback situation will be up in the air with Jake Rudock moving on. Brandon Peters needs a big spring to jump-start his development.

    Matt Fink

    Quarterback, USC Trojans

    As you could probably tell by now, the quarterback position is sort of important. Clay Helton is entering his first season as the official head coach of USC, and he’ll have his eye on Matt Fink in spring practices. Fink won’t be catapulted into the starting job like Franks or Eason, but he can put pressure on the Trojans’ other quarterbacks and provide some competition.

    Lokeni Toailoa

    Inside Linebacker, UCLA Bruins

    With Mique Juarez and Krys Barnes having signed their letters of intent to play for UCLA, Lokeni Toailoa can use the spring practices to his advantage. If he can bulk up by about 15 lbs and get the playbook down, Toailoa will be in a position to earn some early reps.

    Malik Henry

    Quarterback, Florida State Seminoles

    Deondre Francois was all the rave last year, but Sean Maguire will likely be the starting quarterback once again this upcoming season. Malik Henry will need to beat out Francois for the backup job and get a leg up on the redshirt freshman quarterback for the starting position in the 2017 season.

    Dexter Lawrence

    Defensive Tackle, Clemson Tigers

    Clemson was this close to winning a national title until it ran up against Alabama. Now, the Tigers are losing some key defensive players to the 2016 NFL Draft — Shaq Lawson being one of them. Dexter Lawrence can earn some early playing time in the spring by proving he can stop the run, which will be important when Clemson runs into Florida State and Dalvin Cook next season.

    Isaac Nauta

    Tight End, Georgia Bulldogs

    A lot of the talk will be about the guy throwing him the football, Jacob Eason, but Isaac Nauta is a different kind of beast. He’s a physical freak, who can stretch the field and help stabilize the running game by sealing the edge. Nauta will be able to earn the starting tight end job in the spring.

    Tren’Davian Dickson

    Wide Receiver, Baylor Bears

    With Corey Coleman taking his talents to the NFL, Baylor quarterback Seth Russell will need a go-to target when he comes back after having neck surgery last fall. Tren’Davian Dickson can do himself a favor and prove himself as a worthy pass catcher in spring practices.

    MORE: Early Top 25 College Football Recruiting Rankings For 2017


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