Football: Which true freshmen will contribute in 2013?

Will any of the 2013 freshmen debut as memorably as Keenan Allen? - Jed Jacobsohn

It's the summer and what's a blog to do? Look forward to the upcoming season, duh! Continuing the series with Question #7: Which true freshmen will be able to contribute in a more meaningful way than carrying wood to the fire?

Nam Le: The first name on everyone's mind is track star slash running back Khalfani Muhammad, who is all but assured of seeing time in the backfield. With two tantalizingly inexperienced talents in Daniel Lasco and Brendan Bigelow, the door is open for Muhammad to come in and help out right away - and you can be damn sure Tony Franklin can't wait to play with this two time state champion's speed.

Beyond him, though, things get a little bit more tricky. Coach Dykes has offered some predictions on who he thinks could contribute right away - I remember Cameron Walker being mentioned as one at his NSD presser - but that decision will really depend on what happens at fall camp. Injuries could push some guys into action early, or someone could make a move. Obviously, you can expect Trey Cheek to be in the mix at cornerback, too - at least one of the two will be playing, since the Bears lack depth there. Beyond them, I think that any one of the linebackers could play on ST if needed - all three have good frames already, and boast a good amount of athleticism to go along with it.

A popular response might be Takkarist McKinley, which I would really disagree with. He has freak written all over him, sure, but there is no reason to rush Takk along, especially if he's as special as we all think - he's still quite raw as a talent, and it might be good for him to redshirt just to get adjusted to academics here

Keenan Allen Vs UC Davis Highlights (via HANDSOMElifeOFswing)

norcalnick: I guess I'll go with the obvious: There's roughly a one in three chance that Cal's newest quarterback will be a true freshman, which hasn't happened since . . . Kyle Boller in 1998? Even Kyle didn't start immediately his freshman year, if I remember correctly.

Just the fact that Jared Goff is in the conversation is surprising and impressive, even though I would guess that he is 1c to the 1a and 1b of Kline/Hinder. He may not start, but even being at least 3rd and potentially 2nd on the depth chart opens up the distinct possibility that he will see the field, perhaps for significant playing time.

The likely scenario is that Goff is a backup and Sonny Dykes does what he can to preserve his redshirt, so barring injuries he might not see the field. But stranger things have happened.

Jahvid Best 2007 Highlights (RB, KOR, Gunner, WR) (via ronenlish1)

Vlad Belo: I think Khalfani Muhammad is an obvious choice for a guy that is poised to contribute immediately. Although we have a lot to be excited about in Brendan Bigelow as the #1 guy, my sense is that Cal doesn't have the depth at RB that we have enjoyed in the past. Bigelow and Daniel Lasco give us reason to be optimistic, but what happens if one of those guys goes down? Enter Muhammad. He was a good get by the previous staff and a good hold by the current staff. I imagine he will push for playing time as the 2nd or 3rd RB.

Cameron Walker is another one I expect to contribute as a true freshman, only because Coach Dykes singled him out as a guy he expected to play immediately.

A couple of other guys I have an eye on are WR Jack Austin and LB Chad Whitener. Coach Dykes had a lot of great things to say about Austin and in post-signing day interviews, Austin struck me as a intelligent kid who would be able to pick up the college game fast. And with the Bear Raid a receiver-heavy offense, he could get into the mix. As for Whitener, he already has the size as a true freshman. Good player, good size -- could see some time on the field.

Cal Football: Marshawn Lynch Cal Debut 9/4/2004 - 92 Yards Rushing (via calathletics)

Leland Wong: Bah, you guys took all the easy ones! How do you feel about Aaron Matt Cochran? Some say O-line is the hardest position to crack as a freshman due to the complex blocking schemes and just having the right build. However, we're rather weak on the line and Cochran the Younger is pretty massive himself, not to mention he's got a study buddy in his brother, which may help him adapt mentally. Mayhaps Cochran could become a key backup in 2013?

Edit: Mixed up the names... Thanks atoms!

JahvidKnowsBest: I think Muhammad is a given to see the field in some way or form. I think Walker is another guy just because of our lack of experience at DB. Even if these guys don't see time on the field at their respective position, they will be great as utility players on special teams. And then I'd have to say Jared Goff. Even if it's in a backup role, I can't imagine the entire season going by without a single game where Goff doesn't see significant playing time. Whether that's due to injury, qb controversy, or simply due to a blow out game, I think Goff has impressed enough to be considered a legitimate option for the job.

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