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: Nov 15, 2009
Posted on: November 15, 2011 7:57 pm

The Tuesday Top 10: Best Freshmen

Sammy Watkins is not only hands down the best Freshman but he is a legit heisman canidate.  I'm thinking he could be the next Randy Moss/ Julio Jones caliber pro. Roll tide Roll.

Since: Aug 22, 2011
Posted on: November 15, 2011 7:55 pm

The Tuesday Top 10: Best Freshmen

In terms of ideal matchup, I was speaking on Rose Bowl matchups

Since: Aug 22, 2011
Posted on: November 15, 2011 7:51 pm

The Tuesday Top 10: Best Freshmen

Actually Ohio State has around 4 standout freshmen that are the caliber of those listed, but it doesn't show up statiscally. Devon Smith WR- Evan Spencer WR-Antonio Underwood OL- and Braxton Miller QB, now if you look on paper, the impact these guys have is not seen unless you watch the actual games. But these guys, along with a slew of top notch sophmores, have made a great impact at Ohio State considering the conditions. If Urban Meyer takes over, and Ohio State is allowed to play in bowl games, which they very well should be allowed, they have a good chance at running the table next season. Luke Fickell will make a fine coach, but he coaches scared, and does not know how to handle all the talent he possesses. And this is coming from a person that lives in the deep south here in Alabama, and watches SEC football every week, but I do watch Big Ten and Big 12 football. The PAC-12 simply doesn't move me very well. The media has fallen asleep at the wheel on schools like Georgia-Northwestern, yes I did say Northwestern, USC- Houston-and Arkansas. The media focuses too much attention on the top 5 schools, as if anything out of the top 5 doesn't matter, when in fact come bowl season, many of these schools (will) matter. Right now its a scamble because you have 5 teams bunched together, but in actuality, in terms of the national championship hunt, its only 3 schools that should be in the running, LSU-Oklahoma State- and Oregon. Alabama should not get a shot at the national championship because they won't be playing in the conference championship, its that simple, so they should be prepating themselves for the Sugar Bowl. The ideal and hidden matchup, would be Stanford against Oklahoma or Wisconsin. Its still a lot of football to be played, lets let it play out and see where it goes.

Since: May 7, 2011
Posted on: November 15, 2011 7:38 pm

The Tuesday Top 10: Best Freshmen

I don't want to be bias,but how about Blake Countess(#18) who plays cornerback for the Michigan Wolverines. Ever since he's been on campus from spring ball to where we are now in the season,he's been compared to Charles Woodson as far as the corner skills go. Now I know that that's saying alot but he's been very impressive in every Wolverine game this season......."Go Blue!!".

Since: Dec 3, 2006
Posted on: November 15, 2011 6:50 pm

The Tuesday Top 10: Best Freshmen

8 for 23 against Purdue, stellar!  He is an amazing athelete, living in the Columbus area I am quite aware of his talents.  However, several games this year (Miami his first start for example) he has been horrific.  When you complete less then 50% of your throws, its hard to say you are competent as a QB.  What I do like about him, is he has the capacity to win games late.  The Wisc drive, and also the drive at the end of the Purdue game.  Unfortunately the later resulted in a L because of the kicker  (don't get me started on these I'm a Bama fan whos still reeling over our kicker!)

It wouldn't hurt my feelings if B Money was on the list, but I see why he is not.  He clearly hasn't had the impact of a Watkins or Thomas on the offensive side of the ball. 

Since: Jan 13, 2007
Posted on: November 15, 2011 6:24 pm

The Tuesday Top 10: Best Freshmen

I know I'm a homer but what about Braxton Miller/He has played well after being thrown into the fire and anyone that has watched him can tell he is the real deal...give him some love.

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