In 2008, MSU had seven true freshmen who contributed in some way: Keshawn Martin, Johnny Adams, Glenn Winston, Trenton Robinson, David Rolf, Drew Stevens and Fred Smith.
In 2007, Greg Jones, Mark Dell, Chris L. Rucker, Aaron Bates, Oren Wilson and Antonio Jeremiah came right in and helped. And another half dozen or so will probably do the same this season, which means a top-10 list of freshmen likely to contribute is too long -- but hey, putting out that list at this point ensures that several on the list won't even be considered, while a handful not mentioned will become starters.
1. Larry Caper. Running back is wide open and this guy appears to be the complete package. He’s a bit bigger than Edwin Baker, although Baker may be more of a home-run hitter. They’re basically 1a and 1b.
2. Edwin Baker. See above. Could both of them play? Sure, but it’s probably best for MSU to be able to redshirt one of them.
3. Chris Norman. Actually, it’s more certain that Norman will play at least on special teams, while Caper and/or Baker may redshirt. It’s less certain that Norman will get snaps on defense, but an immediate spot in the third-down package seems very possible.
4. Dion Sims. It wouldn’t be a shock if Sims redshirted considering the depth at tight end, but perhaps he’ll get a look at the other side of the ball in camp, as a DPR. He may be too athletic not to use in some way in 2009. Cue the Kellen Davis comparisons.
5. Patrick White. He was quite impressive in spring ball, and he looks like the kind of athlete who can certainly help in the kicking game. If the depth chart got down to him at cornerback this year, MSU would survive.
6. Jairus Jones. The unwritten rule in the Big Ten is that you don’t redshirt Florida guys unless absolutely necessary – homesickness gets pretty intense in the winter after a season with no action – and Jones is billed as an athlete who can lend speed to special teams immediately.
7. Blake Treadwell. It’s probably best for Treadwell to redshirt, but he may prove too good to keep out of the playing rotation inside.
8. Kevin Muma. The kicker of the future will redshirt and have four years starting in 2010, ideally. If he’s the best by far at kicking off, though, perhaps MSU will feel compelled to use him there.
9. David Barrent. It’s unlikely that Barrent can come in and contend for snaps on the offensive line. It doesn’t happen much at this level. But he is a celebrated recruit with great size, so it’s worth mentioning as a slight possibility.
10. Andrew Maxwell. No, he won’t come in and blow Cousins and Nichol off the field, but both of those guys will take some hits. And Maxwell is No. 3