As with any cycle, there are prospects all over the 2024 class that will make an immediate impact as freshmen. Rivals.com national analyst Cole Patterson highlights a handful of prospects out of the Mid-South Region that have the ability to announce their talents to the college football world early on.
Simmons ranks atop the region at No. 5 overall in the Rivals250. He is an explosive pass rusher with impressive bend off the edge. Simmons has lived in the backfield during his Duncanville career, highlighted by a 22-sack campaign as a junior in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.
Already in Austin, the Longhorns have shown that they are willing to put their talented athletes on the field during big situations early in their careers. Look no further than 2023 five-star linebacker Anthony Hill who has wasted no time in making his presence felt during his freshman season.
It’s easy to envision Simmons having a similar type of impact with the Longhorns. He has taken over games on the highest of levels in Texas – none bigger than his MVP-winning performance in the state championship last December.
Hudson has firmly established himself as one of the nation’s elite pass catchers. Drawing some comparisons to former Texas high school football star Garrett Wilson, Hudson is a smooth and crafty route runner that is electric with the ball in his hands.
The five-star committed to Texas Tech earlier this month and looks primed to make an immediate impact in Lubbock. With the Red Raiders off to a disappointing 1-3 start, Joey McGuire and his staff are in need of firepower in a big way. Hudson would fit that bill perfectly.
Hudson will instantly become the most talented player on the Red Raiders’ offense as soon as he steps onto campus. Not only will Hudson play early, he has the chance to be the go-to weapon for Texas Tech right out of the gate.
Franklin announced his pledge to Ole Miss over pushes from Auburn, Miami and Tennessee, giving the Rebels a five-star prospect in consecutive classes after Suntarine Perkins inked last cycle. Franklin is a versatile defensive lineman that can play all over the trenches. Whether on the edge or in the interior, Franklin creates havoc.
The five-star set a school record with 19 sacks as a junior and has picked up where he left off already this season. He uses his 6-foot-6 and 255-pound frame to his advantage as he gets after the quarterback and defends the run. Franklin has even shown off his playmaking ability on offense this year with multiple touchdown receptions.
He has the talent to come right in and play for Pete Golding‘s defense as a freshman. Ole Miss prioritized Franklin as a must-get for its 2024 class and securing the state’s No. 1 prospect should pay off quickly in Oxford.
Tatum has an argument to be the top-ranked running back in the 2024 cycle when considering his high-level production, long speed and multi-sport backfield that translates well to the football field. Tatum rushed for 33 touchdowns and nearly 2,000 yards as a junior and is the engine to Longview’s success in East Texas.
Tatum committed to the Sooners over serious efforts from USC and others as he wanted to play for former Oklahoma star DeMarco Murray in Norman. There looks to be an opportunity for Tatum to carve out a rather significant role in the backfield during his initial collegiate season. And with the move to the SEC, the Sooners could be leaning on the high four-star running back much sooner than later. With his big-game experience in the Lone Star State, Tatum should be more than ready for when that opportunity presents itself.
Harrell saw his recruiting stock blow up in a big way following a breakout junior campaign in the Magnolia State. Initially committed to in-state Southern Miss early in his prep career before decommitting and eventually pledging to Tennessee, Harrell is set to make a difference at Mississippi State on the next level after making his decision for the Bulldogs in the summer.
Harrell is a playmaking wideout with impressive athleticism on the outside. He is a vertical leaper with the ability to go up and get the football at the highest point, where his basketball and track backgrounds really show up on the gridiron. Additionally, he’s dangerous after the catch and has flashed the ability to be a go-to weapon.
Mississippi State is in need of playmakers on offense as the Bulldogs transition away from the Air Raid under head coach Zach Arnett and offensive coordinator Kevin Barbay. It shouldn’t take long for Harrell to rise to the top of the depth chart in Starkville and make a difference in the SEC.
Cole Patterson, National Recruiting Analyst