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February 6, 2007

Impact Redshirt Freshmen: Big East

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The Big East doesn't have to be reminded of the impact redshirt freshmen can have on a season.

In his first year as a starter, South Florida quarterback Matt Grothe led the Bulls to nine wins and was second in the conference in total offense behind seasoned veteran Brian Brohm.

Behind Grothe, the Bulls went to their second consecutive bowl and won in the postseason for the first time.

A year earlier, another quarterback - West Virginia's Pat White - elevated his team as a redshirt freshman with a Big East title and Sugar Bowl victory.

In 2007, the impact redshirt freshmen might not be under center. Instead, they might be found in the trenches or on defense. Who will make the most of their year away from the field in the Big East?

Find out about five impact redshirt freshmen we'll be watching in the Big East next season:

Impact Redshirt Freshmen: Big East
Brandon Heath, S, Louisville
Heath, a four-star recruit out of Palm Beach Lakes (Fla.), was on track to see immediate playing time as a true freshman. However, a broken bone in his left foot before training camp derailed his season. A healthy Heath (6-1, 195) could see playing time in a secondary that lost three senior starters.
Charlie Noonan, DT, Rutgers
Noonan fits the mold of many of Rutgers' key players from the 2006 season. He was lightly recruited and undersized, but has an excellent motor. The Scarlet Knights lose starter Ramel Meekins and backup Joe Giacobbe at defensive tackle, leaving a spot for Noonan. He should compete for regular playing time if he is fully recovered from a knee injury sustained before coming to Rutgers in 2006.
Adam Rosner, OL, Syracuse
While the Syracuse offense sputtered behind a weak offensive line, the former four-star Rosner played on the scout team. In 2007, Rosner should reach the field after spending 2005 in prep school and redshirting last season. The Orange is counting on Rosner (6-6, 215) to be healthy and to contribute. Syracuse will also welcome help from three-star Tucker Baumbach and Jim McKenzie, who also redshirted last season.
Jason Sherman, WR, South Florida
The Bulls will have five redshirt freshmen vying for a spot in the rotation in 2007, including a starting job vacated by leading receiver Ean Randolph. The 6-foot-4, 200-pound Sherman has an intriguing mix of size and speed. He was clocked at 4.4 seconds in the 40-yard dash during the recruiting process. The coaching staff has also spoken highly of local product Carlton Mitchell.
Greg Webster, LB, Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh will miss tackling-machine H.B. Blades at middle linebacker next year, but the Panthers could have help on the way from Webster (6-1, 235). A three-star recruit in 2006, Webster should compete to replace Blades. During the season, coach Dave Wannstedt raved about Webster's hard-hitting on the scout team.

More Impact Redshirt Freshmen: ACC | Big 12 | Big Ten | Pac-10 | SEC

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