Ten immediate impact B1G signees
After the confetti is cleaned up from the party that is signing day, the next question is always, who will play right away?
These 10 guys could all become instant contributors in their teams in 2016:
Dele Harding, Illinois LB
The possibility of playing right away had to be appealing for the former Michigan commit. With three linebackers transferring and one graduating, depth is a major issue at the position for Illinois. At 6-1, 230 pounds, the Maryland inside linebacker is physically ready to play the position. Bill Cubit already said that Harding is mature beyond his years, which is something a young defense will need Harding to be.
Nick Bosa, Ohio State DE
Don’t let the anterior cruciate ligament tear fool you. Bosa is a consensus five-star recruit for a reason. His combination of size and athleticism are rarely found in pass-rushing prospects. Urban Meyer likes him so much that he said he’s ahead of where Nick’s brother, future top-three pick Joey Bosa, was at his age. That’s a scary thought. Could his knee injury slow down his development during the spring? Perhaps, but Meyer is expecting him to be at full strength by the summer.
Jordan Fuller, Ohio State DB
Ohio State lost three of its four starting defensive backs early to the NFL draft, and there were injury issues with some of the reserves in 2015. Perhaps that’s why Urban Meyer honked his car horn like a 12-year-old when Fuller told him he was coming to Columbus. Meyer said “there’s no doubt” that Fuller is playing as a true freshman. The sixth-rated athlete in the 2016 class could be an immediate replacement for Eli Apple at cornerback.
Richard Lagow, Indiana QB
The third-rated JUCO quarterback in the country has all the intangibles Kevin Wilson likes. At 6-6, 240 pounds, Lagow certainly has the size to play quarterback for a Power Five program. He can also spread a defense out and run Wilson’s offense like his predecessor Nate Sudfeld did. Zander Diamont will challenge him for the starting job, and he could even earn some snaps to give IU a different look. But all signs point to Lagow being the guy. In Wilson’s system, that means a prolific season is on the way.
Donnie Corley, Michigan State WR/CB
How good of an athlete is the four-star Detroit product? He’s already leading the Spartans in sprints during winter conditioning. The early enrollee is part of MSU’s loaded group of 2016 receivers, and he could easily wind up playing both ways. It remains to be seen what kind of plan Mark Dantonio will have with Corley, but the aspect of playing on both sides of the ball pushed MSU over the top of Alabama and Ohio State. Assuming he stays healthy, it won’t take long for Dantonio to unleash the Spartans’ new weapon.
Michal Menet, Penn State OL
The Under Armour All-American was pegged as the top guard in the 2016 class. His quickness and versatility could make him a candidate to play a lot of variety of positions. With Saquon Barkley and Miles Sanders, Penn State figures to transition to a more run-heavy offense, which matches perfectly with Menet’s ability to pull. Menet might not start right away because he can still get bigger and stronger. But given the amount of shuffling the Lions have had to do up front in recent memory, Menet’s work ethic could move him atop the depth chart sooner rather than later.
Lamar Jackson, Nebraska S
Nebraska was desperate for a game-changing defensive back, and it might have that in Jackson. The California product is the fifth-rated athlete in the 2016 class. He seeks contact and he has the quickness to chase down ball-carriers in the backfield, much like fellow Husker safety Nate Gerry. Jackson has a 6-3, 205-pound frame that he’ll be able to add some more muscle to. With Nebraska’s struggles stopping the pass last year, Mike Riley could turn to the freshman for his playmaking ability in the defensive backfield.
Tino Ellis, Maryland WR
Maryland didn’t have a receiver average three catches or 45 yards receiving in 2015. Part of that was quarterback play, but outside of D.J. Moore, it remains to be seen who will move the chains for Maryland. Ellis is capable of becoming that guy. The DeMatha High School prospect flashed his athleticism with a 51-yard catch in the Under Armour All-America Game. The 6-1, 185-pound wideout could be featured in new offensive coordinator Walt Bell’s system early, especially if Maryland struggles to find a go-to target like it did last season.
Carter Coughlin, Minnesota LB
Nobody would’ve faulted Coughlin if he opened up his recruitment following Jerry Kill’s resigning. But the Eden Prairie, Minnesota native stuck with his home-state school, which was far and away the biggest recruiting victory for Tracy Claeys. Coughlin will likely start at outside linebacker as a true freshman, and the staff told him they aren’t concerned about overloading him with new information. The four-star recruit has lethal speed for a 6-3, 220-pound high school senior, which will allow him to make an impact as an edge rusher. It wouldn’t surprise anyone if Coughlin stepped in right away and filled the void left by De’Vondre Campbell.
Rashan Gary, Michigan DL
If you’re questioning the hype surrounding the consensus No. 1 recruit, consider this. Before his junior year of high school, Gary was roughly the same size as the average defensive lineman at the 2015 NFL Combine and he was running a faster 40-time and he had a better shuttle time. He ran a faster 40-time than 15 linebackers at the combine. The guy is ready to play and star right away. Perhaps the only question will be where he’ll play on the defensive line. Frankly, he can get into the backfield from any position. The three-year nightmare of dealing with Gary begins this fall.