Originally posted on Crystal Ball Run  |  Last updated 6/27/12

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

Elliott domestic violence case being taken to city prosecutor

Belichick: Brady is not going to lose his starting job

Report: Brown 'confident' Steelers will rework his contract

Report: J.T. Barrett lost full scholarship over summer for DWI

Police escort helped Joey Gallo get to ballpark on time

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Agent: Bryant ‘heartbroken that he’s not allowed to play’

Report: Trent Baalke could lose job if 49ers don’t show progress

Lawsuit: Baylor players gang raped student, school knew

Jets, Ryan Fitzpatrick reportedly remain far apart

Eddie Lacy defends Mike McCarthy for weight loss comments

Red Sox nearly had serious catcher emergency in loss to Tigers

Reds 'picking up the pace' on Jay Bruce trade talks

Kirk Cousins has excellent take on franchise tag

Broncos DB during DUI arrest: I can't wait to tell Obama

NBA champ Cavs honored with 2,000-pound butter sculptures

John Daly dons super-patriotic outfit for Champions Dinner

Aaron Rodgers not inclined to talk about brother Jordan

Astros fan starts GoFundMe page to buy out Gomez contract

Durant told Westbrook he was returning to Thunder?

Five NFL teams set to rise up in 2016

Jeremy Lin reportedly looking to trademark phrase ‘Brook-Lin’

Matt Leinart engaged to actress Josie Loren

WATCH: Inside the Nike SNKRS BOX in SF for Golden Air Celebration

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

WATCH: Inside the Nike SNKRS BOX in SF for Golden Air Celebration

WATCH: Five other uniforms Chris Sale should cut up

QUIZ: Name every Olympic event in which the USA has never won a gold medal

Five U.S. Olympians favored to win multiple gold medals

WATCH: What teams should join the Big 12?

One Gotta Go: Do NBA players really love NBA2K?

One Gotta Go: NBA players hate Facebook too

One Gotta Go: NBA players settle the fast food beef

One Gotta Go: NBA players make tough choices on their favorite rappers

One Gotta Go: NBA Summer League is not about that Game of Thrones life

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker