Originally written on Crystal Ball Run  |  Last updated 11/18/14

Eli Harold will look to make an impact in a hurry for Virginia.

Is there another Sammy Watkins out there in the ACC? Another standout, super-versatile freshman ready to take the stage on the FBS level become the talk of college football's town?

If you are looking for an offensive breakout candidate in the ACC, Stefon Diggs up in College Park could possibly fit the bill for the Terrapins. Many may make a case for Mario Edwards at Florida St., and I do believe if we were talking about a freshman for longevity's sake—the one who has the most potential—he would be at or near the the top of the list.

But Maryland is mired in, well, a mess, and Florida State has a massive amount of depth on the defensive side of the ball. We're talking impact, year one.

Who could have the greatest single impact as a freshman? I propose Virginia linebacker Eli Harold.

I remember watching film on Harold and nearly salivating at his versatility, as I am sure his coach did as well. His high school accolades include:

  • ESPNU Top 150 prospect
  • SuperPrep Elite 50 prospect, as well as, SuperPrep All-American and defensive player of the year
  • 247Sports.com All-American
  • Consensus top 50 recruit (247Sports, Rivals, Scout, ESPN)
  • No. 1 player in Virginia
  • No. 5 player nationally at his position
  • Played in the U.S Army All-American Bowl and was selected team captain for the East squad
  • SI.com honorable mention All-American
  • First-team All-Tidewater
  • Beach District Defensive player of the Year and first-team all-district selection at wide receiver and defensive end

A defensive player, yes, but Harold played quarterback, running back and wide receiver, accounting for 1,146 total yards and 20 touchdowns in a wildcat offense (41 receptions or 723 yards receiving).

Reading the book on Harold has to make Mike London quite the happy coach down in Charlottesville:

  • 6-3, 230 pounds
  • Athletic
  • Long wingspan
  • Burst speed and closing speed

Harold has the pure athletic ability to be able to play wide receiver—and you may see him line up on that side of the ball from time to time—but where Eli will, in my opinion, become a star is on the defensive side of the ball, especially in the UVA scheme. His combination of size, speed, wingspan and instincts will make him a force sooner than later against opposing offenses in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Harold chose Virginia over LSU, Florida and Arkansas in order to stay home and play for the Cavaliers. He will be one to watch from the start.

Others to watch:

  • Mario Edwards, DL, FSU
  • Stefon Diggs, WR/ATH, Maryland
  • Tracy Howard, CB, Miami
  • Joel Caleb, ATH, Virginia Tech
  • Eddie Goldman, DL, FSU
  • Randy "Duke" Johnson, RB, Miami
  • Chris Casher, DE, FSU
  • Mario Pender, RB, FSU

[follow]

GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

John Harbaugh: Bill Belichick is best coach of this century

Brandon Jennings suffers horrific Achilles injury

Van Gundy rips Bulls management about Thibs

Harbaugh lands first commitment at Michigan

NFL warns Seahawks about 'obscene gestures'

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Lane Kiffin will remain with Alabama in 2015

Belichick: Patriots followed 'every rule' prepping footballs

Colts LB Andrew Jackson arrested on DUI charge

Sam Shields: Dez Bryant catch should have counted

Klay Thompson sets NBA record with 37 pts in a quarter

Hall of Famer Ernie Banks passes away

Should Tom Izzo be worried about his Spartans?

Five potentially fatal flaws for Seahawks in the Super Bowl

WATCH: Urban, OSU students send message to Mark May

The five best Super Bowl matchups ever

WATCH: Mike Riley gets big welcome at Nebraska game

Leonard Fournette's brother commits to LSU

Bledsoe not happy about other QBs trashing Brady

Red Sox P Joe Kelly predicts he will win Cy Young Award

WATCH: Bill Belichick drops 'My Cousin Vinny' reference

USC sends recruit personalized business cards

Coastal Carolina planning to install teal-colored field

The five most significant Super Bowls of all time

College Football News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Jennings suffers horrific injury

Harbaugh lands first commitment

Seahawks GM: I love Lynch's act

Lane Kiffin staying with Alabama

Belichick goes 'My Cousin Vinny'

Belichick: Patriots followed 'every rule'

Could Patriots have used a sauna?

Klay Thompson scores 37 pts in a quarter

Hall of Famer Ernie Banks passes away

Sesame Street makes "inflate" the word of the day

Which NBA player should get next on a signature shoe deal?

NFL's Deflategate statement doesn't say much

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.