Big Ten: Eight Freshmen Who May Play

Who are some of the class of 2012 recruits that you may see contributing in the Big Ten next year? Here are eight that have both talent and opportunity.

Early playing time for freshmen is dependent on the player's talent, but also how quickly they adjust to the college level and lifestyle, and the opportunity that is there based on the depth chart. Here are eight incoming freshmen that have the talent and favorable depth charts in front of them (JUCO guys were not included).

  Noah Spence | DE | Ohio State
The Buckeyes are bringing back several defensive linemen, but I don't know if they have a guy that can rush the passer quite like Spence. Johnny Simon lead the team with seven sacks last year, but he's not an edge rusher like this five-star prospect. I'd expect to see Spence, at the very least, on passing downs.

  Ondre Pipkins | DT | Michigan
With the graduation of Mike Martin and Ryan Van Bergen, there is an opening on the interior and Pipkins has a chance to come in and fill that void. From a physical standpoint, he has the size and athleticism to play right away and I would be very surprised if he was not out there in some capacity next season.

  Aaron Burbridge | WR | Michigan State
Both Keith Nichol and B.J. Cunningham are gone, but the Spartans have a great wide receiver class coming in lead by the dynamic Burbridge. He has all the physical tools and the polish to play early, and I could see him being a big contributor by the end of the season along with Monty Madaris.

  Bart Houston | QB | Wisconsin
Houston's situation is largely dependent upon the inury status of Curt Phillips and Jon Budmayr. Either way, the Badgers will be replacing 2011 starter Russell Wilson and Houston has the size and smarts to come in and compete at the least. He played for one of the top programs in California and should come in with a good degree of polish.

  Jordan Shine | S | Purdue
Safety is a position where the Boilermakers have an opportunity with two seniors graduating. Shine played for a strong high school program and has big game experience, which should help him adjust to the college game. Plus, he's an all around guy. He can cover (five INTs as a senior), and support the run (100 tackles as a senior).

  Akeel Lynch | RB | Penn State
The Nittany Lions' top back, Silas Redd returns, but they lose two others who toted the rock, Stephfon Green and Brandon Beachum. The loss of Beachum particularly opens the door for Lynch, because PSU doesn't really have any bigger backs returning other than Curtis Dukes, and Lynch, at 6'1, 205-lbs, will bring a little something different to the backfield.

  Michael Rose | LB | Nebraska
The Huskers graduate several linebackers, the most glaring of which is Lavonte David. While Rose is more likely to be inside than in David's outside spot, he still has an opportunity to help immediately. He has solid size at 6'0, 230-lbs and has 4.6 speed in that frame. All tools that could enable him to step right in.

  Greg Garmon | RB | Iowa
The Hawkeyes have been a little snake-bitten at running back, but they have gone a long way in rectifying that, gaining commitments from a couple of backs in this class. The most talented one is Garmon. Scout national analyst Bob Lichtenfels notes Garmon's game-changing speed in his scouting report, and he can also catch the ball out of the backfield.

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