UCLA Fall Camp Preview: Freshman Impact?

Aug. 10 -- With Fall Camp starting today, we ask: Which true freshmen could make an impact this year?

With fall camp kicking off today, here's our look at the freshmen most likely to make a big impact this season. Bear in mind, more true freshmen than the ones listed here will probably play this year, but these are our top five most likely to make a big impact.

1. Josh Rosen

We should almost do this list as "besides Josh Rosen" since he is obviously going to have the biggest impact of the true freshmen and, as the starting quarterback for UCLA, will naturally be the Bruins' most important player on the field when he's on it. If there isn't some significant shakeup during fall camp, Rosen will be named the starter at some point. Our guess is that the decision will be announced sometime during the second week of San Bernardino.

2. Sotonye Jamabo

We haven't seen Jamabo in person since June of 2014, and in theory there isn't a big need at running back with Paul Perkins and Nate Starks both returning, but Jamabo is talented and versatile enough that we feel comfortable saying he's going to get a considerable amount of playing time this year. He has the ability to carry the ball out of the backfield, certainly, but it's his ability as a receiver that intrigues us the most. We thought last June that he might actually make the most sense in college as a slot receiver, and even if that isn't the case, he can certainly be used there in a pinch. Even if he's used as an oversized Damien Thigpen, that would give him a wealth of opportunities to catch the ball out of the backfield on swing passes, wheel routes, and the like.

3. Chris Clark

Clark is basically getting to carve out his own position at UCLA, and we can't imagine that the Bruins recruited him 3000 miles across the country to let him sit on the bench. Clark is a true tight end who can block, catch, and even split out wide on occasion for a mismatch. Now, UCLA didn't spend a whole lot of time installing a bunch of tight end sets this spring, but that might have simply been a product of only really having Colby Cyburt to run them with. Now that Clark is here, we expect that we'll see a few more formations with a tight end involved.

4. Stephen Johnson

Johnson will start out at receiver, but we would not be shocked at all to see him at cornerback by the second week of San Bernardino. He is extremely fast, with the ability to make an impact on both sides of the ball, but there is a bigger need at cornerback, and we could see him playing there this year, particularly if Johnny Johnson doesn't completely regain his athleticism this fall. The only absolute shoe-ins at corner right now are Marcus Rios, Fabian Moreau, and Ishmael Adams, and there's more than enough room for a player like Johnson to make an impact.

5. Nathan Meadors

Safety is a position where a true freshman can absolutely make an impact, and Meadors impressed us this spring with his headiness and overall feel, especially for a true freshman. He also showed great instincts for the position this spring, and those kinds of attributes are the sorts of things that will get him on the field early in his career. We could see him beating out Tahaan Goodman to be the third safety in the rotation.

Bruin Report Online Top Stories