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 17, 2011
Posted on: November 17, 2011 4:21 pm

The Tuesday Top 10: Best Freshmen

The sanctions are basically done, we know what we have to deal with from here on out, this is an argument about the validity of a player's skill level. 

Since: Apr 21, 2011
Posted on: November 17, 2011 3:53 pm

The Tuesday Top 10: Best Freshmen

NCAA sanctions, not Braxton Miller, should be the primary concern for OSU fans.

Since: Nov 17, 2011
Posted on: November 17, 2011 2:55 pm

The Tuesday Top 10: Best Freshmen

Miller is a good player. His stats are ranked #135.

Since: Nov 17, 2011
Posted on: November 17, 2011 1:50 pm

The Tuesday Top 10: Best Freshmen

I am going to respond but I do agree with B and C. We have had to play freshman cause thats the cards we were dealt, however, the freshman could have just said screw it and bombed...instead they have stepped up and at times outplayed and hidden incredibly poor coaching/nestalgic defense. In response to E, saying never is also saying you personally know exactly what Meyer will do which is arrogant and calling us a car wreck is not completely far off but you can buy a new car which Meyer has not ever said no to coming to OSU, which you would think he would by now if he didn't want to come. And your response?

Since: Nov 17, 2011
Posted on: November 17, 2011 1:46 pm

The Tuesday Top 10: Best Freshmen

Being that your screen name is screwwoodyhayes im going to assume your biased and probably a big ten also going to assume michigan, just cause. If that is that case your already bitter being that the high standards have not been met due to your qb is a walking insurance claim whenever he gets hit...our freshman qb takes more hits and hasnt missed due to injury. Michigan should be a top 15 team but their qb is lacking, yet they will probably beat osu cause Fickell will find a way to screw the game up, like putting in Bauserman or something dumb like that after Bollman calls 95% run plays and gets our runners hurt. As far as being a mediocre qb, as a freshman he is not a mediocre qb because he is just that....a freshman. If he was a junior or senior I would agree with you. Feel free to claim your team so I can possibly make a better argument. 

Since: Jul 22, 2007
Posted on: November 17, 2011 12:22 pm

The Tuesday Top 10: Best Freshmen

Beckham Jr. is the best WR on the #1 team in the nation. At least worth an honorable mention, if not a spot on the list.

Since: Nov 17, 2011
Posted on: November 17, 2011 11:14 am

The Tuesday Top 10: Best Freshmen

Hilliard Davidson could beat Ohio State. Braxton Miller needs to learn how to throw the ball before he will ever be a good QB. He is mediocre at best.

Since: Oct 25, 2006
Posted on: November 17, 2011 10:22 am

The Tuesday Top 10: Best Freshmen

List is meaningless without Braxton Miller - but I will take the disrespect and wait until next year when tOSU is kikn a$$ and taking names again!!

I am going to laugh my a$$ off if the stars align, Illinois beats Wiscy and PSU loses out - then guess what haters . . .

THEY'RE BACK!!!!  tOSU in the B1G CCG and a possible BCS Game!!! 

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA  -- keep hating - worst year in over a decade and we are still competing for a BCS Game with 2 games left!!!!

Since: Sep 30, 2006
Posted on: November 17, 2011 7:14 am

The Tuesday Top 10: Best Freshmen

Braxton Miller has to be in this list.

Since: Mar 6, 2010
Posted on: November 16, 2011 11:41 pm

The Tuesday Top 10: Best Freshmen

I think you have to put Braxton Miller in this list just because of pity. The fact that he has done what he has with Ohio State missing their best skill position players for half the season or more, and having to go with that crap offensive coordinator Bollman, shows that he would be (and will be) an absolute stud, and soon. He will wind up having the most impact of any freshman from this class by the time they all finish out their time in school.

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