ANNISTON, Ala. -- Alabama is bringing the nation's top-rated recruiting class to campus, but it's uncertain how many of these guys will make much of an impact this fall.
After all, everybody on the Tide roster came from a recruiting class that some organization named No. 1 in the country. Still, there are places in the lineup where Alabama needs players, and some of these recruits have the talent to help on the field right away.
Top five possible contributors
1. Ben Davis, LB, Gordo: A five-star prospect, Davis seems the best suited of all of Alabama's 2016 signees to play immediately. Rising senior Reuben Foster and junior-to-be Shawn Dion Hamilton return at will linebacker, but both Reggie Ragland and Dillon Lee are gone at mike linebacker where they were 1-2 on the depth chart.
If Davis doesn't work himself into the regular playing rotation, keep in mind that Alabama likes using young linebackers and safeties on kick coverage. Foster, Trey DePriest and Vinnie Sunseri made their marks first as aggressive tacklers on kickoff coverage teams.
2. Charles Baldwin, OL, Brooklyn, N.Y. (ASA College): Baldwin was rated the top junior college offensive tackle in the country, and with only two years of eligibility remaining, Alabama didn't sign him so he could take his time in developing. He'll have a chance to start right away at right tackle, where Dominick Jackson, another junior college transfer, has completed his eligibility.
Jackson and 2014 Alabama starting lineman Leon Brown, who came from the same Brooklyn community college that produced Baldwin, didn't start in their first year on campus, but Baldwin is considered a better prospect. In addition, he is going through spring practice.
3. Raekwon Davis, DL, Meridian, Miss.: Alabama has lost all three starting defensive linemen in Darren Lake, A'Shawn Robinson and Jarran Reed. In addition, Denzel Devall, who started at the linebacker/end hybrid spot, was a senior, too.
Davis won't start, but considering how much success Alabama had this past season rotating plenty of linemen in and out, he can earn a spot in the rotation.
4. B.J. Emmons, RB, Morganton, N.C. (Freedom): Rivals rated Emmons as the nation's No. 1 running back. Even eventual Heisman winner Derrick Henry was only fifth in Rivals' 2013 list of prep running backs.
The Tide returns only Bo Scarbrough and Damien Harris -- the No. 1 running back on Rivals' 2015 list -- in the running back rotation, so there's a chance for Emmons to compete immediately. Nick Saban says he doesn't mind using true freshman running backs, as the position doesn't require a lot of instruction to play right away.
5. T.J. Simmons, WR, Pinson (Clay-Chalkville): Simmons was only a three-star prospect, and he might be a bit underrated at that ranking.
He might be the most polished of Alabama's receiver prospects, and even with guys such as Calvin Ridley, ArDarius Stewart and Robert Foster back, there's room for anyone who shows they can do the job, no matter if he is an incoming freshman.
Five others to watch
1. Jamar King, DL, Ukiah, Calif. (Mendocino College): Again, Saban doesn't bring in junior college guys to sit, so he will be asked to compete immediately for a spot in the playing rotation.
2. Mack Wilson, LB, Montgomery (Carver): Alabama has a lot of depth at outside linebacker, but it needs good special teams kick coverage guys, and Wilson seems too talented to leave on the bench.
3. Shyheim Carter, DB, Kentwood, La.: Carter is from the same hometown as singer Britney Spears, but the difference is he actually has talent.
4. Irvin Smith, TE, New Orleans (Brother Martin): He's 6-foot-4 and 235 pounds, and Alabama would like somebody just a bit bigger, but the Tide needs depth at the position.
5. Christian Bell, LB, Hoover: A 2015 high school graduate, he delayed enrollment, so he's not a typical true freshman. He has the size (6-2, 240) to help quickly.
-- Mark Edwards is the sports editor of the Anniston Star. You can write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org