2011’s Top 10 Impact Junior College Transfers
A huge key to success in college football is the mining of talented junior college transfers. Last year, we predicted Cam Newton to have the biggest impact and he won the Heisman. Who might be this year’s Cam?
10. Zach Mettenberger (LSU, QB)
Mettenberger was kicked off Georgia’s team prior to the 2010 season for a pattern of poor off-field behavior, including two misdemeanor counts of sexual battery. He transferred to Butler County C.C. in Kansas, where he had 32 TDs and four interceptions. Needless to say, he’s ready to jump back into the SEC. And with Jordan Jefferson perpetually on shaky ground for the Tigers, the 6-foot-5, 250-pound Mettenberger might eventually be the Tigers’ starter this season on a team that could compete for a national title.
9. Marcus Kennard (Texas Tech, WR)
Kennard had 45 receptions, 893 receiving yards and 13 TDs for Butler County C.C. last season while teaming up with Mettenberger. At 6-foot-4 with a great vertical leap, Kennard was No. 12 on the Top 100 JuCo list. He has been compared favorably to departing Texas Tech wide receiver Lyle Leong, who caught 19 TD passes last season. The Red Raiders hope Kennard can have a fraction of Leong’s success.
8. John White (Utah, RB)
White rushed for 2,527 yards and 34 touchdowns in his two seasons at California’s Harbor College, which the diminutive 5-foot-9, 180-pound back used as a proving ground. With Utah’s top two rushers gone at an inopportune time, the Utes will need to replenish their running game as they move into the Pac-12. White has a good shot to be Utah’s lead back with true freshman Harvey Langias his main competition in the backfield.
7. Rahsaan Vaughn (Oregon, WR)
Vaughn played for the College of San Mateo, where he had 1,005 receiving yards in 2010 en route to the team’s offensive MVP. It took him a while to put it all together, which is why he spent two years at San Mateo. Vaughn had just 17 catches for 238 yards in his first JuCo season. But at 6-foot-2 and 190 pounds, Vaughn has good size and speed. His profiles on both Scout.com and Rivals.com suggest he makes good plays on the ball, making him a prime candidate to replace at least some of the production the Ducks will lose with the departure of talented receiver Jeff Maehl.
6. Sheldon Richardson (Missouri, DT)
It’s been a long trip to Missouri for Sheldon Richardson, who was supposed to be a member of the Tigers in 2009 class but did not qualify academically. As such, he had to play at College of the Sequoias (CA), where he proved his versatility on defense, though he missed all but two games with a wrist injury last season. Richardson was touted as either a tight end or top tackle coming out of high school but proved his worth on defense during his JuCo stay. With Blaine Gabbert gone to the NFL, the Tigers will have to rely on their defense, meaning it will be hard not to give Richardson playing time, even on Missouri’s already formidable defensive front.
5. Jonathan Jenkins (Georgia, DT)
Jenkins spent last season at Mississippi Gulf Coast, where he improved his academics and became one of the nation’s most sought-after defensive linemen. He de-committed from Oklahoma State to join the Bulldogs, with whom he will be a monster 340-pound nose guard in Todd Grantham’s 3-4 defense. As we know, the nose is an extremely important position in that scheme. But more importantly, Georgia coach Mark Richt needs the defense to improve to save his job.
4. Jared Ebert (Oregon, DT)
According to Scout.com, Ebert was a late-bloomer, causing him to be “overlooked” in high school and end up at Iowa Western Community College. He filled out his 6-foot-5, 285-pound body and used his JuCo time to tap into some potential that many were unsure existed. For Ebert’s shot at success, it also helps that Oregon must replace its interior defensive line. The Ducks may be able to return to the national title game if it can do so. Therefore, Ebert may be a key cog right away.
3. [Updated] Cornellius Carradine (Florida State, DE)
Could Carradine be FSU’s next great pass rusher? He hasn’t even played a down for the Seminoles and yet there is already talk about where he will go in the 2012 NFL draft after a dominant sophomore season at Butler County C.C. in Kansas (yes, Butler was absolutely loaded last season). Nicknamed “Tank,” this Cincinnati native bulked up by 50 pounds at the JuCo ranks after being overlooked by schools coming out of college. He certainly caught their eye last season with 119 tackles, 13.5 sacks and 29 tackles for loss. Carradine might not even start on this stacked defense, but we have a feeling you’ll hear his name plenty.
2. Jacob Fahrenkrug (Florida State, OG/C)
A self-described “couch potato” coming out of high school, Fahrenkrug weighed 400 pounds and was not a hot college prospect. As such, he was forced to play at North Dakota State College of Science, where he proved to be an athletic lineman who can play multiple positions. Fahrenkrug now weighs 315 pounds and may have an immediate impact for the Seminoles, who are expected to be a top 10 team. FSU needs to replace two departing linemen and, oh yeah, must protect new quarterback E.J. Manuel.
1. Jesse Williams (Alabama, DT)
Coming from Australia, not exactly fertile SEC recruiting ground, is what landed Williams at Arizona Western College, but it’s clear he can play. He dominated JuCo competition, where he earned himself some comparisons to former ‘Bama All-American Terrence Cody. The 6-foot-4, 320-pound Williams may be a key contributor right away in the Tide’s 3-4 defense thanks to Kerry Murphy’s possible career-ending knee injury. Without overstating it, Williams could have the one-year impact Nick Fairley did for Auburn. Yes, the national title and all.