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MWCConnection Roundtable: Which true freshman will make the biggest impact for their team in 2021?

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The team weighs in.

San Diego State v Utah State Photo by David Becker/Getty Images

The Roundtable continues this week. Looking ahead to the fall, one of the fun offseason questions is to think about which true freshman can make an early impact for their new teams. Thus, this week’s question is: Which true freshman is most likely to make an impact on your team this season?

Zach: Spring football is influencing my decision here. But I have to go with Seyi Oladip. The early enrollee looked great in the spring game. He should be in the two-deep at safety and contribute on special teams. I would also keep an eye on linebackers Andrew Simpson and Rejhan Tatum, there are some depth issues at that position.

Matt: Even though the rotation is super deep, and he won’t arrive until Fall, I have to think that it’ll be Jordan Hornbeak. It’s rare to have a true freshman this highly rated coming in, but I think that the staff will find ways to get him on the field, even with an August arrival. I don’t think he’ll be starting like Ronnie Rivers and Jordan Mims did in 2017, but he’ll get playing time. That could easily increase though if someone ahead of him gets injured, but the RB room is incredibly deep, especially with Jonathan Arcenaux also coming in.

Mike: I’ll take a few teams again this week.

San Diego State: There are many recruits to pick from, but Noah Avinger is one who I think can blossom right away. The Aztecs lost a lot in the secondary to the NFL, and Avinger is a good bet to come in early and contribute. Combining talent, need, and the pattern of a freshman being able to contribute at DB, it’s a good bet.

UNLV: Again, take your pick here in the Rebel recruiting class, but I’m going with Deamikkio Nathan. He’s one of the better wide receiver prospects in the conference and he gives UNLV a play-maker in the passing game that they desperately need. Nathan is talented enough to step into that right away and develop on the field.

New Mexico: Aaron Dumas. I may have gone in a different direction before the news of Nathaniel Jones entering the transfer portal. I would expect Dumas to absorb some of Jones’ carriers next season if he can demonstrate he deserves to be on the field. The Lobos have shown they like to rotate their backs frequently and Aaron is talented enough to be part of that rotation.

Graham: This is an interesting question to consider for Utah State because there is room for young talent to thrive and the Aggies certainly need help in positions such as the wide receivers group. However, one of the players that could be considered a potential breakout is defensive end Tupou Maile. This is the type of player that can get off blocks quickly and has the ability to blow up plays in the backfield. Utah State struggled last season in the department of giving up big plays, even when defending the run, so talent along the line is welcome. Two names to keep an eye on in the receiving category are tight end Jackson Rigby, who is a reliable target, and Otto Tia, who excels at making plays in space, especially in regards to gaining yards after catch.