Every school has them, simmering in a pot and ready to boil over.
Sometimes it's easy to forget about them. They get a year of seasoning then are trotted out onto the field to feast or starve.
No more scout team action for these guys. The redshirt freshmen are ready for the real thing, or so they and their coaches hope.
Which redshirt freshmen will have an impact in the Big Ten in 2007? Keep in mind the first requirement to make a big impact is opportunity. Some will be handed opportunity. Others will create their own.
The following five players will have the biggest impact of redshirt freshmen in the Big Ten:
Impact Redshirt Freshmen: Big Ten
Stephen Schilling, OT, Michigan
Schilling (6-5, 300) is a former five-star prospect out of the state of Washington who was coming along nicely in 2006 prior to a bout with mononucleosis and a shoulder injury. He should compete for the starting job at right tackle, and if not for the shoulder injury (which may slow his spring practice progress) he would be the frontrunner. Schilling chose the Wolverines over a bevy of West Coast offers, including USC and California.
Adam Weber, QB, Minnesota
Weber (6-3, 210) is a former three-star prospect who chose the home-state Golden Gophers over Wisconsin a year ago in large part because of Glen Mason's contract extension. A year later, Weber has redshirted and Mason has been fired. Still, the kid is the odds-on favorite to replace Bryan Cupito under center. Rivals listed Weber as the No. 14 dual-threat quarterback in the country. He has the leadership skills and the moxie to step in from the start.
Adrian Clayborn, DE, Iowa
The buzz coming out of practices last year was that Clayborn, a former four-star prospect out of Missouri, was an absolute terror as a pass rusher. The Hawkeyes definitely could have used someone in that role. While starters Kenny Iwebema and Bryan Mattison are back for their senior seasons, Clayborn (6-3, 250) will be in the rotation and getting plenty of snaps this fall. He chose the Hawkeyes over Nebraska, Illinois, Indiana and Michigan State.
Jerry Brown, DE, Illinois
Brown, a 6-foot-5, 285-pound former three-star prospect, is expected to come in next fall and be the speed rusher Illinois hasn't had in a long time. Illinois beat Oklahoma and Nebraska for the former St. Louis Vashon standout. Brown was Illinois' defensive scout team player of the year last fall. Because of NCAA clearinghouse issues, he wasn't able to practice in preseason camp in August. He was cleared by the NCAA in early September, but the Illini coaching staff decided to redshirt him.
Jason Diehl, G, Michigan State
Diehl, a former four-star prospect, arrived at Michigan State from New Berlin (N.Y.) Milford Academy last January and was expected to have an impact in 2006. He suffered a knee injury and ended up redshirting. His recovery is on schedule, and if he is healthy he should have the inside track for the starting spot at left guard vacated by Kyle Cook. Diehl (6-3, 290) is already the strongest player on the team with a bench press of 450-plus pounds. He chose the Spartans over West Virginia, Pittsburgh, Illinois and Iowa.