Bama (Natl Champ)
Alabama Crimson Tide (National Championship)
L, 23-26

Today's question: Who will be the breakout rookie of 2009 (true and redshirt freshman only)?

Orson Charles could be the X-Factor on this offense. He's big enough to move defensive ends off the ball and fast enough to take a corner in tight coverage. He could line up anywhere and create a huge mismatch for defenses. If he understands some of Richt's complicated playbook, he could be used as a diversion or a key piece to a big play, whether he's the go-to guy or giving a huge block downfield. Orson won't redshirt so look for him to add value to an offense that oozes with big playmaking talent.

Carlton Thomas - Since he is my Breakout Offensive Star, I have to make him my Rookie of the Year. I expect him to fuel our energy level and keep us moving. He is the guy that's going to make us 2 or 3 key game changing/winning plays. His versatility will be a tremendous asset across the board.

There's no doubt that the success (or lack thereof) of the 2009 season will be impacted significantly by the contribution of the team's freshmen. Many rookies will be counted on to either start or impact the game from the bench. Guys like Marlon Brown, Orson Charles, Carlton Thomas, Cornelius Washington, Sanders Commings and Branden Smith could easily be the answer to this question because all will be needed and be expected to make plays and contend for starting jobs this fall. So while I could easily have made a case for one of those other names, I believe the Rookie of the Year will be redshirt freshman Tavarres King. King actually played some last season (2 catches for 66 yards) before an injury at Arizona State caused him to take a redshirt and lose the season. King was the number 1 rated WR in the state of Georgia coming out of Habersham Central in 2008, but was overshadowed by AJ Green. Last year King was more than holding his own and looking to increase his role in the offense when he was injured. I think King will step up and, by the end of the season, be the number 2 option at receiver behind Green. I'd look for 25-30 catches for 400+ yards and a couple of touchdowns.