Former Virginia Tech cornerback and current Houston Texan Roc Carmichael once said you have to bring your "big boy pads" to a game.
College football is hyped-up to be bigger, stronger and faster than high school football. Some will make the jump, while others will not.
For five true freshmen, 2012 could hold for them the success and glory on the gridiron. For others, it will be a building block for the rest of their time in Blacksburg.
Here are five true freshmen that could have an impact on the Hokies 2012 season:
Coleman, who the coaches raved about this spring, has the advantage of having been on campus for workouts before his freshman year starts. He’s tiny at just 5-foot-7, but his talent should shine through if he executes in the situations he’s put in.
Because of the limited depth chart at running back, Coleman should have a chance to prove himself as a true freshman. In spring practice, offensive coordinator Bryan Stinespring put Coleman and fellow tailback Michael Holmes in the pistol formation behind Logan Thomas. To no one’s surprise, the two had success running out of the formation, likely meaning we’ll see that in the fall.
Don’t expect Coleman to get too many carries as a true freshman. He will likely play some on third downs, but in a limited capacity of five to 10 plays per game.
One of the last commitments the Hokies got on National Signing Day, Caleb will be asked to come in and compete for the No. 4 wide receiver position as a freshman. He’s physically talented enough at 6-foot-2 and 205 pounds, so his main obstacle will be the mental aspect of the game.
Much like the running back position, the Hokies are losing most of their production from the 2011 season. Marcus Davis is poised to break out, Dyrell Roberts is returning from injury, D.J. Coles returns, and Corey Fuller should fit in nicely at the No. 4 spot.
Caleb, listed on recruiting sites as an athlete, played quarterback in high school, just like Davis did when he got to Blacksburg. His transition to wide receiver will be a main thing to watch in fall practice.
One of the South’s most-talented cornerbacks in the 2012 class, Manning arrived in Blacksburg along with Coleman for spring practices. While he suffered his fair share of mistakes, for the most part his play satisfied defensive backfield coach Torrian Gray.
Manning, who will be expected to fall in line with the recent great Hokies defensive backs, will backup Kyle Fuller at the field corner position. At a slender 160 pounds, Manning doesn’t have the strength to fight with receivers on the boundary side of the field yet, so a majority of his plays will come while playing the ball in the air.
Should Fuller or Antone Exum go down with injury, expect Manning to be the first replacement at either spot. Manning should also be a strong candidate for a multitude of roles on special teams.
A natural athlete, Edmunds’ key trait is his versatility. A linebacker and running back at Dan River High School, Edmunds has the chance to play on both sides of the ball at Tech.
While the running back depth chart figures to promise more early playing time for Edmunds, linebacker could be where he truly shines. A fast and rangy player, Edmunds has the skill set to possibly play linebacker at the next level.
Early on at Tech, expect Edmunds to work at running back. Much like Dominique Patterson did, Edmunds could make the switch back-and-forth on offense and defense several times while on campus. For a player of his caliber, Edmunds should have no problem picking up two positions and strive at both of them.
Unlike Coleman, Holmes or Martin Scales, Harris has the potential to be a 25 carries per game workhorse back for the Hokies. While Holmes had a great spring, Harris and Coleman have a chance to see some playing time in backup roles.
Stating he doesn’t want to redshirt this fall, Harris doesn’t want to limit himself to the “power back” stereotype. A knee injury his senior year kept him from being 100 percent, but that figures to be cleared up by fall camp. Darren Evans, Ryan Williams and David Wilson all performed as freshman, so look for Harris to get his chance when he gets on campus.