Rivals.com recruiting analyst Barry Every breaks down five freshmen the 2011 class that were passed over by some of the bigger programs but should have an impact at the next level.
DT Demetris Anderson, Fort Pierce (Fla.) Westwood (UCF)
Ever since I saw him overpower interior offensive linemen at the Miami Nike Training Camp, it was easy to be impressed with this defensive tackle. He backed that performance up a month later by dominating the competition at the Gainesville Nike Camp.
Anderson may not have the ideal height but he possesses a very good motor with superior strength. On top of that, he has grades at a position that college coaches struggle to find quality bodies. Look for Anderson to immediately add quality depth to the Golden Knights defensive line and don't be surprised if he is in the two-deep at the start of the season.
OG Matt Frazier, Kankakee (Ill.) Bishop McNamara (Northwestern)
Over a year ago, Frazier proved to be one of the most dominating offensive linemen at the U.S. Army All-American Combine. On top of that, his body structure and footwork are superior to the average interior offensive linemen coming out of high school. His offers were slow to come in, which did not make sense since his film confirmed what I saw down in San Antonio. Then several MAC schools became very interested and starting throwing out offers. Not long after that, the Wildcats became involved and secured his commitment.
Offensive linemen usually redshirt because defenses at the next level tend to be bigger, faster and more complex. He could be cross-trained at more than one position along the offensive line, increasing the chances of early playing time.
WR Quentin Gardener, Denton (Texas) Guyer (Minnesota)
Gardener started off the season strong as a go-to receiver for Oklahoma State commitment J.W. Walsh. His ability to create space using his running back-shaped body coupled with soft hands made him a dangerous weapon. And he has the power and strength to break simple arm tackles similar to Hines Ward of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Then an injury caused Gardener to miss several games. He came back just in time to help Guyer make a deep playoff run while his position changed. Gardener did not complain but relished the fact that he could also impress college coaches as a physical corner. This versatile athlete will be adding serious ball skills and a mental toughness that the Gophers will surely take advantage of.
OT Ryan Mack, Memphis (Tenn.) Wooddale (Louisville)
This massive lineman has the strength and girth to create huge holes in the defense at the next level. In my opinion, he was by far the top performer for offensive linemen at the Tuscaloosa Nike Training Camp. His ability to change direction once engaged with a defender was impressive and he competed with a nasty disposition.
Mack has the size and athletic ability to play right offensive tackle and either guard positions for the Cardinals. Look for him to make an immediate impact because he is physically big enough to compete right now, while having the mental toughness to take any abuse thrown his way.
ATH Ronnell Sims, Abilene (Texas) (SMU)
Not enough is made of what this signal caller has done for Abilene High School. He led the Eagles offense to a 5A State title as a junior and was the only offensive weapon when his cousin Herschel Sims went down with an injury in 2011.
Sims has excellent speed and superior change of direction, making him hard to tackle in the open field. He may lack the size of more coveted receivers but he does not lack the athletic ability or the home-run speed to make a difference for the Mustangs. Look for him to get early chances as a return man and a slot receiver in the wide-open SMU offense. You can't tackle what you can't catch and that is what he brings to the table in C-USA.