Each season SEC teams bring in their latest class of elite recruits, but many freshmen get redshirted and put on the shelf for a year.
In searching for an instant impact newcomer, JUCO transfers can often be the answer (think 2011 Heisman winner Cam Newton). Check out this abbreviated version of a list of the likely most impactful SEC transfers originally compiled by Bleacher Report.
1. Justin Evans, Texas A&M: was desperate for help in the secondary after the Aggies surrendered the third-most passing yards per game(225.5) in the SEC last season. The Aggies hope to get much-needed relief from JUCO safety Evans, a prized recruit who had considered SEC powers Auburn and Georgia. The addition of LSU defensive coordinator John Chavis probably spurred Evans’ decision to head to College Station. The six-foot, 180-pounder is a hard-hitting defender who could positively effect the Aggies’ takeaway ratio.
2. Jake Ganus, Georgia: The Bulldogs added to their stellar linebacking unit with the UAB transfer. Ganus collected more total tackles than any other Georgia linebacker last season (71). One of the Bulldogs’ defensive weaknesses last season was stopping the run, and Ganus’ tackling ability should help remedy that.
3. Mason Halter, Florida: The Gators’ 11-24 record over the last two seasons certainly wasn’t helped by supbar offensive lines. After giving up 27 sacks in 2013, Florida made a drastic improvement by giving up only 16 in 2014. However, Florida lost much of their 2014 depth, which makes the 6-foot-8, 297-pound Halter a sizable addition.
4. Jeremiah Ledbetter, Arkansas: The 275-pound defensive lineman should be a big boost. Ledbetter showed off his freakish athleticism in an unconventional way by doing backflips in front of his teammates during spring practice.
5. Tray Matthews, Auburn: The Tigers expect to have a defensive gem in their new safety who had an impressive 36 tackles in his freshman year at Georgia. Matthews’ Bulldogs career ended after his first season because of an arrest last March, and a classroom incident that triggered his dismissal. Now the talented 6-foot-1, 201-pounder looks to bounce back on and off the field.
6. Richard Mullaney, Alabama: The Tide lost their top three receivers from last season, including NFL first-round pick Amari Cooper. Mullaney, who had a productive 2013 season with 52 catches and 788 yards for Oregon State, should be a significant factor in the Tide’s passing game.
7. Alvin Kamara, Tennessee: The addition of No. 1 JUCO running back, Alvin Kamara, who transferred from Alabama, is expected to become a strong backup to Tennessee’s talented starting running back Jalen Hurd, who is coming off of 899 rushing yards last season.
8.Chad Kelley, Mississippi: The nephew of Buffalo Bills great Jim Kelly is a dual-threat JUCO quarterback transfer and will immediately compete to replace Bo Wallace. Kelly was initially enrolled at Clemson, but an off-field issue lead him to East Mississippi Community College where Kelly threw for 3,906 yards and 47 touchdowns as a sophomore.
9. Donald Grey, Mississippi State: The JUCO transfer wide receiver has already made an early impact on the Bulldogs’ passing game. Grey was one of Zak Prescott’s favorite targets during spring practice, according to the Clarion Ledger‘s Michael Bonner.
10. Marquavius Lewis, South Carolina: The JUCO transfer is drawing comparisons to Jadeveon Clowney, which might be a bit much at this stage. But he did record 66 tackles, 20.5 tackles for a loss and 10.5 sacks last season. The 6-foot-3, 266-pounder will be huge boost to a South Carolina defensive line that was part of Gamecocks unit that gave up the second-most total yards per game in the SEC last season (433.6).
[h/t Bleacher Report]