A few Pac-10 teams hope their patience pays off in 2007.
Two schools had star signees who redshirted in 2006 – one by choice and one by chance. Washington opted to redshirt quarterback Jake Locker rather than play him in the middle of the Pac-10 season after an injury sidelined starter Isaiah Stanback.
Oregon State will hope the jewel of its 2006 class, tight end Gabe Miller, will be ready for the 2007 after missing last year with a ruptured Achilles tendon.
Get the full story on these and other key players ready to contribute in our list of Five impact redshirt freshmen of the Pac-10:
Impact Redshirt Freshmen: Pac-10
David Ausberry, WR, USC
Don't cry for USC because they lost star receivers Dwayne Jarrett and Steve Smith. You should know better. The Trojans played plenty of true freshmen in 2006, but Ausberry - a Rivals100 prospect - was not one of them. Ausberry (6-5, 215) will compete for time with Patrick Turner and Vidal Hazelton - who both played as true freshmen - and Jamere Holland, who also redshirted.
Jovon Hayes, OG, Arizona
Arizona, which was second-to-last in the Pac-10 in rushing last year, will welcome Hayes' arrival on the active roster. The four-star recruit shunned offers from USC, Florida, Cal and Oklahoma to go to Arizona, and he had a quick impact on the scout team. The Wildcats' young offensive line will be more experienced in 2007 and will have an injection of talent from the 6-foot-4, 295-pound Hayes.
Jake Locker, QB, Washington
Huskies coach Tyrone Willingham resisted the urge to burn the redshirt of Locker when senior starting quarterback Isaiah Stanback suffered a season-ending foot injury in the eighth game of the season. Locker, a Rivals100 prospect who was ranked the No. 3 dual-threat quarterback in 2006, will have to compete with Carl Bonnell. A rising senior who started the last four games, Bonnell wants his chance to lead the Huskies back to a bowl game.
Gabe Miller, TE, Oregon State
A four-star player who was ranked the top prospect in Oregon, Miller was the top recruit in the Beavers' 2006 class. Coach Mike Riley hoped he would contribute as a true freshman, but he tore his Achilles tendon during a track meet two months after Signing Day. The Beavers need him to heal in a hurry with the departure of senior Joe Newton to the NFL.
James Montgomery, RB, Cal
The best Cal running backs come in pairs. Cases in point: J.J. Arrington and Marshawn Lynch, followed by Marshawn Lynch and Justin Forsett. Lynch left early for the NFL, leaving Forsett as the starter. Montgomery, a Rivals250 prospect, is a good pick as Forsett's running mate. At 6-foot, 205 pounds, Montgomery offers a bigger option than the 5-8 Forsett. Another Rivals250 member, Tracy Slocum, was a four-star recruit who should also be in the mix after redshirting last year.