Blog Entry

The Tuesday Top 10: Best Freshmen

Posted on: November 15, 2011 12:24 pm
Edited on: November 15, 2011 4:07 pm

1. Sammy Watkins, Clemson, WR/KR: There was hype around the five-star recruit, but no one could've imagined Watkins would be quite this much of a difference-maker this soon. He's been everything for Clemson. "He is a true freshman who plays like a senior," says Tiger OC Chad Morris. "He is such a student of the game." Watkins is fourth in the nation in all-purpose yards and tied for fifth in receiving touchdowns.

2. Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina, DE: The biggest freak in the class, the former No. 1 overall recruit has been a force for a nasty Gamecock D-line, racking up five forced fumbles, five sacks and eight TFLs. Two of those FFs directly led to Melvin Ingram touchdowns. Hard to imagine Clowney being anything other than a three-and-out guy.

3. DeAnthony Thomas, Oregon, WR/KR/RB: After an up-and-down debut against LSU where the LA youth football legend had two fumbles but also flashed his blazing speed, the 5-9, 173-pound x-factor has quickly proven to be a great fit for the Ducks offense. Thomas is 16th in the country in all-purpose yards, averaging 150 per game to go with his 12 TDs.

4. Marqise Lee, USC, WR: Most people expected his old HS teammate George Farmer to be the rookie that generated the buzz among the newcomers this year for the Trojans. Instead, it's been Lee, a guy many figured would get switched to safety. The explosive 6-1, 190-pound Inglewood native has emerged as quite the weapon opposite another former Serra High star, Robert Woods, catching 25 passes for almost 300 yards and four TDs in the past three games for USC. I really try to avoid having two players from the same school on the Top 10s or else LB Dion Bailey, the team's leading tackler would be on here too.

5. Gio Bernard, UNC, RB: Only UCONN's Lyle McCombs has run for more yards among freshmen this season and Bernard (1,012 yards, 11 TDs) is averaging over than a yard more per carry than the Husky RB and has twice as many rushing TDs.

6. Isaiah Crowell, Georgia, RB: I was tempted to pick Malcolm Mitchell as the top Dawg freshman, but for as dynamic as he's been he's missed a bunch of games with a hamstring injury, while Crowell continues to pile up yards and give QB Aaron Murray a lot of support. Best thing about Crowell's impact: he's played in seven SEC games and gone over 100 yards in four of them.

7. Anthony Chickillo, Miami, DE: The Canes defense has struggled mightily after having been rocked by injuries and the NCAA suspension. Chickillo, a third-generation UM player, has been one of the biggest bright spots and is going to be a cornerstone for the rebuilding effort in Miami. He has started seven games, has made 34 tackles to go with 5.5 TFLs and four sacks.

8. Aaron Lynch, Notre Dame, DE: Notre Dame has been lacking impact D-linemen for a while, but they have a couple of young studs in South Bend now. Stephon Tuitt, who has started three games is another one, but for this list Lynch gets the nod. The guy is relentless and has lived up to his spring hype, notching four sacks and a team-best 11 QB hurries.

9. Brett Smith, Wyoming, QB: Going into this season it was fellow freshman Adam Pittser, a former Elite 11 QB that was the one people figured would take over the offense. Smith wasn't even ranked among the top 100 QB recruits, but the Oregon native has been very impressive for the Cowboys who are quietly having a nice season at 6-3. They've won three of their past four and Smith's thrown seven TDs and zero INTs to go with four more rushing TD and more than 200 yards on the ground.

10. (tie) Malcolm Brown, Texas, RB: UT is loaded with first-year studs and if WR Jaxon Shipley hadn't been banged up he probably gets a spot on here too. Like Crowell, you have a former blue-chip back who has made an impact early at a program that really needed a RB to step up. The bad news is he's battled turf toe problems that have limited him and Texas really missed him last week against Mizzou. Still, you had to be impressed with him running for over 100 yards in three of his previous five games before being sidelined.

10. (tie) Timmy Jernigan, FSU, DT: The Noles have a strong group of first-year players with TE Nick O'Leary, RB Devonta Freeman, WR Rashad Green and 17-year-old OT Bobby Hart, but I'll go with Jernigan who has really come on as FSU's gotten on a roll. Jernigan has 6 TFLs to go with 2.5 sacks and 3 QB hurries.


Since: May 11, 2009
Posted on: November 16, 2011 9:38 pm

The Tuesday Top 10: Best Freshmen

Didn't that Tim Jernigan fella commit to Michigan and then change his mind??

Since: Feb 27, 2008
Posted on: November 16, 2011 8:40 pm

The Tuesday Top 10: Best Freshmen

DAT is gonna light up the USC D, and it will provide me a hearty laugh!

Since: Dec 13, 2006
Posted on: November 16, 2011 7:27 pm

The Tuesday Top 10: Best Freshmen

Matt Miller of Boise State is making an impact.  His one handed circus catch in the end zone last week was highlight reel material.  The kid runs tight routes and is sure handed.  He's fast too, well, for a white guy.  7 touchdowns, over 500 yeards, in an offense with 8 or 9 guys catching passes every week.  He has single handedly turned the state of Montana into Bronco Country, unheard of in the days when Boise & Montana were bitter rivals.

Since: Jul 13, 2011
Posted on: November 16, 2011 6:06 pm

The Tuesday Top 10: Best Freshmen

My bad. He's scored 4 to Crowell's 5. But he's averaging 18.7 yards a catch. 

Since: Jul 13, 2011
Posted on: November 16, 2011 6:04 pm

Malcolm Mitchell?

He's Georgia's top deep threat, and he's scored more TDs than Crowell.

Since: Aug 30, 2007
Posted on: November 16, 2011 4:25 pm

The Tuesday Top 10: Best Freshmen

I would have put Blake Countess on there.  He looks like a veteran CB with his outstanding pass coverage and sure tackling as a true freshman
Don't forget Michigan redshirt freshman LB Jake Ryan, dude is a stud!

Since: Oct 18, 2006
Posted on: November 16, 2011 2:01 pm

The Tuesday Top 10: Best Freshmen

How does the "best" job in the Nation look now? Florida is a joke. They are in the heart of the best state for recruiting and that is all they can do? The Gators won during Meyer's reign with two players. Who couldn't have won with Tebow and Harvin. Remove them and what do you have. Mediocrity.

Gators are a joke! Meyer was a joke and a quitter. Left the program because he knew he didn't have winner and blamed it on health. Yeah right!

Since: Sep 30, 2006
Posted on: November 16, 2011 12:51 pm

The Tuesday Top 10: Best Freshmen

Braxton Miller from OSU should be in the top ten, no doubt.  If it werent for Miller the Buckeyes would have maybe 3 wins total.  Up until last week they were in the hunt for the Big Ten race. 

Since: Nov 16, 2011
Posted on: November 16, 2011 12:48 pm

The Tuesday Top 10: Best Freshmen

I would have put Blake Countess on there.  He looks like a veteran CB with his outstanding pass coverage and sure tackling as a true freshman.

Since: Nov 7, 2006
Posted on: November 16, 2011 12:35 pm

The Tuesday Top 10: Best Freshmen

Completely not the point.  The poing is they score mass points again weak pac-10 defense.  Its obvious defense isn't on the pac-10's mind.  Just look at the last to years in the bcs games they dont put up nearly the amount of points and what a surprise what is there lowest point total again this year???  Thats right againest LSU.  Dont get me wrong they have an amazing offense their is no question about it, but they wouldnt be putting up that kinda points every week in the big-10, sec, or even the big-12.

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