Former East Lake standouts Mason Cole of Michigan and Artavis Scott of Clemson each made a strong enough impression during spring games that they could start in the fall as true freshmen.
Cole, a 6-foot-5, 275-pound lineman, moved quickly up the depth chart in the offseason and started at left tackle in the Wolverines' spring game two weeks ago.
"(Cole) has a confidence about him," Michigan coach Brady Hoke told mlive.com "He's athletic. Nothing seems really to faze him. That's unique."
Cole, rated a four-star prospect by ESPN.com, committed to Michigan before his senior season and graduated in December to get a jump on his college career. He is one of the candidates to start at either tackle position.
"The guy that's come in, and he's a guy who should be getting ready for prom here in a few weeks, is Mason Cole -- who has done a tremendous job at left tackle," Michigan offensive line coach Darrell Funk told The Michigan Insider this month. "We knew he was an excellent player; he's very athletic and he'll get bigger and stronger.
"But he's been as pleasant a surprise as anyone. ...He's come in, and I don't want to say effortlessly, but between academics, the football, the weights, he's done everything we've asked. He's right in the mix."
Scott, the Times' all-Pinellas County offensive player of the year, should see significant playing time in the fall after catching five passes for 17 yards in the Tigers' spring game. Scott took the same path as Cole by graduating from high school in December, and enrolled in classes at Clemson for the spring semester.
Scott is part of a talented group of freshmen recivers for Clemson that includes Demarre Kitt and Kyrin Priester.
“Their performance has been incredible," Tigers quarterback Cole Stoudt said of the freshmen receivers. "You will see them on Saturdays this fall, playing and possibly starting. Where they’ve gone from that first practice to where they are now is unbelievable. How much they’ve improved and the knowledge that they have, that’s all on their coaches. Their teammates have helped them come together and we’ve really bonded and they’ve really excelled.”
Another former East Lake star, Pete DiNovo, is vying to be the starting quarterback at UCF. DiNovo, a redshirt freshman, completed 10 -of-20 passes for 117 yards with one touchdown and an interception in the Knights' spring game last week. UCF coach George O'Leary decided to wait on naming a starting quarterback until the preseason.