Top 5 impact freshmen: OL edition

It's not easy for a true freshman to come in and play at any position. But the first-year guys on this list, as of now, have a chance to make an impact right away. Take a look at our impact freshman offensive linemen.

Editor's note: Each Tuesday from June 5 to July 17, we'll pick out a position and identify the five incoming freshmen who we think might make the biggest impact -- for better or worse -- on the field for their college teams given their current situations. Today, we look at the offensive line. Which guys will be lining up in the trenches this season?


Check out our series on impact freshmen for the 2012 season:

June 5: Quarterbacks
June 12: Running backs
June 19: Receivers/Tight ends
June 26: Offensive linemen
July 3: Defensive linemen
July 10: Linebackers
July 17: Secondary

John Theus, Georgia

Theus is the No. 2-rated offensive tackle in Scout's 2012 class. But the No. 1-ranked OT -- Arik Armstead -- will actually be playing defensive tackle at Oregon this fall, so for our purposes, Theus is No. 1. He's a big, strong lineman who's talking like someone poised to start.

"I have talked to (Georgia offensive line) coach (Will) Friend about coming in and playing as a freshman and we have talked about that a lot actually," Theus told national recruiting analyst Chad Simmons.

"He has told me what I need to do to get there, so I plan to go in there, work hard, and try to start next year. I just have to do my part and I will have the chance to play in the fall."

A strong blocker with good feet, Theus is the total package as an offensive lineman, according to Simmons. Theus chose Georgia over a coast-to-coast stack of offers, highlighted by finalists Arkansas, Alabama, Florida, Notre Dame and Texas.

D.J. Humphries, Florida

D.J. Humphries

Offensive line has been a stinker for the Gators over the last few years, so landing Scout's No. 3 overall offensive tackle prospect is great news in Gainesville. The five-star recruit is expected to be a major factor for Florida in the years to come, and many expect him to play regularly -- maybe even start -- this season.

Standing in his way are a host of experienced players on the Florida line. Converted defensive lineman Matt Patchan, Xavier Nixon and Chaz Green are already in the mix before Humphries has even arrived on campus.

And Humphries will have some competition from his own recruiting class. Fellow offensive tackle Jessamen Dunker -- Scout's No. 12 overall OT prospect -- also comes to the Gators this fall. Still, if the talented Humphries can establish himself this season, it could play a huge roll for Florida, which was a dismal 98th in total offense last season.

Kyle Murphy, Andrus Peat and Joshua Garnett, Stanford

Kyle Murphy

After producing two early-round NFL Draft picks from the offensive line, Stanford is certainly in need of a reboot at the position this year. Enter Murphy, Peat and Garnett -- all of whom expect to be in the mix for starting spots this fall.

Murphy, a five-star prospect, was the No. 4 offensive tackle in Scout's rankings. Peat came in at No. 9. Garnett, also a five-star, is the No. 3 guard on the list. They'll try to make their names in the battle to replace the departed David DeCastro and Jonathan Martin.

The cupboards are by no means bare for the Cardinal up front, but adding three players of this talent -- not to mention Graham Shuler, Scout's No. 4 overall center -- will make them all players to watch once the season starts.

Isaac Seumalo, Oregon State

Isaac Seumalo

Scout's No. 1-ranked guard, Seumalo will have a shot to compete for a starting job in the fall. The position is a concern for the Beavers, and Seumalo is a local product and five-star talent who might just have the chops to step in and start as a true freshman.

Seumalo, who flirted with switching to USC before ultimately sticking with Oregon State, heads a loaded class of linemen heading to Corvallis this fall, though he is by far the standout. The 6-3, 275-pound Seumalo was also a high school athlete, competing in the shot put and discus.

The Beavers' right guard position appears to be up for grabs. Incumbents Mike Beaton and David Vieru didn't dazzle in the spring, leading many to believe the coveted Seumalo will be in the conversation right from the get-go. Head coach Mike Riley has indicated that Seomalu could conceivably start at guard, tackle or center.

Taylor Decker, Ohio State

Taylor Decker

The biggest thing the No. 14 overall offensive tackle in Scout's rankings has going for him is that he has already caught the eye of new Buckeyes head coach Urban Meyer. Decker enrolled early and is already listed on the second team. His solid play in the spring led Meyer to declare him challenging for the starting gig as well, according to the Cleveland Plain-Dealer.

Meyer says Decker and fellow recruit Kyle Dodson -- Scout's No. 24 overall offensive tackle -- fit their mold.

"That's exactly what we go look for," Meyer said. "Big, athletic guys that can block second-level defenders. Perfect fit."

Honorable mention: Dan Voltz, Wisconsin

In the proud tradition of bruising Big Ten offensive linemen, no one does it better than Wisconsin. Voltz could have an opportunity to make plays this fall in an always-strong Badgers front line, and the mere chance of him playing is impressive.

Scout's No. 7 guard, Voltz enrolled early and has been learning the ropes at guard and center, and the Wisconsin coaching staff thinks he's capable of playing any position on the line. You'll hear his name this fall, in all likelihood.

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