Way back in February, just after national letter of intent day for division one recruits, I posted this about some freshmen to keep an eye on.
Looking at the list, it appears I did a pretty good job of spotting some guys who would do well.
Here's the list of names and reflections on their seasons so far:
- Mario Manningham, Michigan WR-6 carries for 38 yards (6.3 average), 24 receptions for 405 yards (16.9 average) and 5 touchdowns, 1 punt return for 17 yards. "Super Mario" has been a revalation for Michigan. Although still fighting through a lot of freshman issues, Manningham can play and came up with the game winner against Penn State. Would have a better season if Michigan stopped pretending Steve Breaston can play as an everydown receiver. Will swiftly assume the role as lead Wolverine receiver when senior Jason Avant (74 receptions, 936 yards, 8 touchdowns) departs.
- Victor Harris, Virginia Tech Athlete/CB-8 tackles, 1 pass defensed. Like most young defensive backs, Harris is being slowly worked into Tech's defense. It's a mark of distinction, however, that he's played in all ten games and did not redshirt. Is a great athlete and should be a star in the secondary very soon.
- DeSean Jackson, California WR-8 carries for 48 yards (6.0 average), 32 receptions for 471 yards (14.7 average) and 5 touchdowns, 1 punt return for 49 yards and a touchdown. Jackson led a talented fleet of Bears receivers in receptions, yards and scores. Has had some inconsistent moments this year, but has also been waiting out an even more inconsistent quarterback. Has unteachable athletic skills.
- Jason Gwaltney, West Virginia TB-45 carries for 186 yards (4.1 average) and 3 touchdowns, 4 receptions for 15 yards (3.8 average). Has struggled early for the Mountaineers, only playing in six games for a variety of reasons---some of the newspaper variety. Is just fifth on the team in rushing and was passed by fellow frosh Steve Slaton who is averaging 5.6 a carry with 11 touchdowns including a game with a record six scores against Louisville in triple overtime.
- Marlon Lucky, Nebraska TB-32 carries for 93 yards (2.9 average), 2 receptions for 3 yards (1.5 average), 13 kick returns for 270 yards (20.8 average). Lucky is playing this year, but not all that well, appearing in just eight of ten possible performances. The Huskers' rush attack has been woefully inept this year and it's surprising Lucky isn't getting more of a shot behind incumbent Cory Ross. In due time I think Lucky will become a more athletic version of a workhorse type back.
- Kenneth Phillips, Miami (Florida) S-Miami doesn't have any defensive statistics recorded on its website, but Phillips is starting at safety for the nation's top statistical defense. So far he has amazed teammates and program watchers and already looks like a dominant safety. Scary. Lone interception ended the three overtime Clemson game.
- Mark Sanchez, USC QB-Understandably redshirted behind Matt Leinart and former #1 recruit John David Booty. USC folks are raving about him, however. It looks like we'll have to wait him out but USC appears to be in great hands down the road.
- Fred Rouse, Florida State WR-4 receptions for 98 yard (24.5 average) and 1 touchdown, 4 kick returns for 75 yards (18.8 average), 11 punt returns for 97 yards (8.8 average). Well, he's playing. Unfortunately, he's also had a sideline meltdown this year and is being outshined by redshirtfreshman Greg Carr (22 receptions, 470 yards, 21.4 average, 9 touchdowns). Rouse has unbelievable athleticism when he does get the ball, but like any player he could use more repetitions and development. Florida State's confused offense may not give him a great opportunity to showcase his talents long-term, however.
- Melvin Alaeze, Maryland DE-Went the prep/juco/military whatever you call it route. He ended up at Hargrave Academy and is once again Committed to the Terps.
- Patrick Turner, USC WR-12 receptions for 170 yards (14.2 average) and 2 touchdowns. Slowly being worked into the USC offense, as he is playing behind two All American types in Dwayne Jarrett and Steve Smith. Looks like he's already a fairly polished receiver.
- Jamaal Charles, Texas TB-102 carries for 772 yards (7.6 average) with 9 touchdowns, 13 receptions for 154 yards (11.8 average) and a touchdown. Having an exceptional freshman season, emerging as the Horns' lead back. Just glides at times as he moves across the field. Should be a four year star for Texas.
Alright, that was my list from the beginning of the season. Not bad selections, overall. What other freshmen players have done well this season? Feel free to comment below.
Scanning a few recruiting lists and reading one story on emerging freshmen backs, here is my initial list: Tyrell Sutton, Darren McFadden, Felix Jones, Steve Slaton, James Davis, Andre Davis, Sidney Rice, Earl Bennett, Derrick Williams, Rey Maualuga, Jonathan Stewart, Justin King, Alex Boone, Kevin Grady, Antone Smith, Mohamed Massaquoi, Brian Cushing, Malcolm Kelly, Henry Melton.