In college football, even blue chip recruits may redshirt their first year on campus, or primarily contribute on special teams. This is mostly due to the tremendous difference in physicality and speed from high school to the college level. Because of this, we tend to forget about some previous commits who sit out a year due to redshirting. But this doesn't mean that redshirt freshmen don't have a big impact.
Last season, Wake Forest received value contributions from a number of redshirt freshmen. Most notably: Cortez Lewis, Justin Herron, Phil Haynes, and Ryan Anderson. Who are the Wake Forest players from the 2015 recruiting class who redshirted and could be solid contributors in 2016?
Amari Henderson - Henderson is a very talented cornerback out of Charlotte, North Carolina. He would have been good enough to play some last season, but Dave Clawson smartly opted to save a full year of eligibility. The 2015 recruiting class duo of Amari Henderson and Dionte Austin has the potential to be a very good pair of corners for the Deacs. Austin played well as a true freshman last season, and I expect him to have a breakout sophomore campaign. Henderson should get a lot of playing time as a nickel corner.
Scotty Washington - Washington has outstanding size at 6'5", 210 pounds, and could be a major red zone threat this year for the Deacs. By all accounts he has had a great offseason, and was highly rated coming out of high school. He has very good hands, and the team does not really have another wide receiver like him. Cortez Lewis is physical on the outside, and has great leaping ability, but Washington still has four inches on him.
Steven Claude - Steven Claude was the highest rated receiver recruit in Wake Forest's 2015 class. He was very productive at the prep level in the Miami area, and chose the Deacs over Syracuse. Despite Wake's young receiving corps, I expect Claude to come in and make a difference. He has the hands and route running ability to have a positive impact this season.
Rocky Reid - Rocky Reid's commitment to Wake Forest was very celebrated. He had a tremendous prep career, and because of this, I expected him to compete for the starting job as a true freshman. He suffered an injury early on fall camp, and as a result, lost meaningful reps. I believe he was good enough to play last year, but once again, Clawson wisely used a redshirt on him. Wake played true freshmen Matt Colburn and Tyler Bell last season, but I expect Reid to gain significant carries.
Jessie Bates - Bates was one of the last players to commit to Wake Forest in the 2015 recruiting class, but was a very nice pick up for the Deacs. He ultimately chose the Deacs over Iowa, which was an impressive recruiting win. I expect that the projected starters at safety are Ryan Janvion and Cameron Glenn, but Bates should earn playing time. He was a big frame at 6'2", and will be a ball hawking safety.
Those are my picks. Are there any obvious ones who you all feel should be added to the list?