College Football Predictions: Projecting 2012 All-Freshman Team
Sometimes freshman surprise us.
Outside of Sammy Watkins' family and friends, who really saw him exploding onto the scene in such a big way last season?
Or how about USC's Marqise Lee?
These players were given the opportunity to step up during their inaugural season with their respective programs, and they did so in a huge way.
This list runs down the true freshman that have a shot at Freshman All-American honors in 2012.
While some of the best recruits in the nation are on this list, most of them are going to step into ready-made gaps on their squads and will have tons of playing time, giving them the opportunity to put up big numbers.
Forget the upperclassmen, these freshmen will keep us on the edge of our seats any time they are on the field this upcoming season.
Which, by the way, is approaching faster than you might think.
D.J. Humphries, OL, Florida
With all the trouble Florida's offensive line had blocking last season, it's almost a certainty that Humphries will get plenty of time on the field in 2012.
At 6'6", 220 pounds, Humphries will be difficult for defenders to move off the line.
He is extremely athletic, and while his technique needs to be tuned a bit, he will develop over the course of this season into the best freshman offensive lineman in the nation.
Andrus Peat, OL, Stanford
Stanford lost some superior talent on the offensive line, but simply reloaded with recruits such as Peat.
His ability to absolutely blow up tacklers will make him a centerpiece for a Stanford offense that likes to run the ball.
Peat has a surprisingly low pad-level for a man standing 6'7", and is still growing, two facts that should scare opposing pass-rushers.
Jay Guillermo, OL, Clemson
Clemson, on the surface, appears to be in great shape.
Their top skill position players are returning, and everything is peachy.
Except it's not.
The offensive line is looking for four new starters, and Guillermo has the talent to crack the two-deep and make some waves in his freshman season.
If he can rehab from surgery and see some time on the field in fall practice, expect good things from this kid in 2012.
Isaac Seumalo, OL, Oregon State
Not only can this guy block the stuffing out of defenders, he can compete in track and field, as well.
The strength that allows him to compete in that sport is the strength that makes him a factor in the Beavers' offensive line scheme.
He's mobile, pancakes with regularity, and has the smarts to be an All-Conference performer as early as this season for Oregon State.
Joshua Garnett, OL, Stanford
Yes, the Cardinal have two offensive linemen on this list.
That's because head coach David Shaw and staff have done an excellent job of convincing top-flight recruits that The Farm is the place they want to play their football.
Garnett can play any position on the offensive line, and has incredibly solid drive-blocking abilities.
It's easy to see how this guy could wind up on the Freshman All-American Team by the end of this season.
Trey Metoyer, WR, Oklahoma
Metoyer does not drop passes.
With the aforementioned suspensions to three leading Sooner receivers, Metoyer will have to carry the success he had in the spring over into actual gameplay.
This season will be good to Metoyer, but in 2013, with Jalen Saunders coming over from Fresno State, the Sooners' wide receivers will be downright scary.
Dorial Green-Beckham, WR, Missouri
He was the top wide receiver recruit of the 2011 offseason.
He has an experienced quarterback, James Franklin, to throw him the ball, and all the physical tools to put up massive numbers.
Judging from the success big receivers such as Alshon Jeffrey have had in the SEC, DGB could be one of the top receivers in the conference, if Franklin figures out SEC coverages.
Taylor McNamara, TE, Oklahoma
Whether McNamara beats out JUCO transfer Brannon Green for the tight end position or not, Oklahoma fans should be excited about seeing this guy on the field in 2012.
He has great pass-catching abilities and the speed to make him a threat if he hits a seam, something that's not very common to a tight end.
The biggest thing working in his favor is Landry Jones and the Sooners' wide receiver troubles.
With his targets somewhat limited, Jones will be looking for his tight ends, which bodes well for McNamara's chances of having a huge season.
Randy "Duke" Johnson, RB, Miami
This guy is freaky fast.
In Al Golden's system, he is going to be extremely effective.
His ability to shake defenders is downright unfair, and coupled with the other athletes the 'Canes can field at the position, Johnson will put up huge numbers.
1,000 yards and double-digit touchdown numbers are a very real possibility.
Johnathan Gray, RB, Texas
Gray is going to get some time on the field, in spite of having to share it with Malcolm Brown and Joe Bergeron.
While the Longhorns have some incredibly large barriers to good quarterback play, namely, no good quarterbacks on the roster, they have a wealth of talent at running back.
Gray, assuming he doesn't redshirt, will prove he deserved his 5-star rating coming out of high school.
His ability to make defenders look silly bodes well for the 'Horns rushing attack.
Wes Lunt, QB, Oklahoma State
Mike Gundy made this an easy nomination, naming Lunt as his starting quarterback for 2012 following a spring game that saw Lunt dominate.
Oklahoma State returns 11 starters to the squad that won the Big 12 title last season, but it won't be easy to replicate that success, unless Lunt is the second coming of Peyton Manning.
That said, Lunt is one of few freshman to earn the starting nod at quarterback, and will put up some solid numbers, earning him the honors.
Leonard Williams, DL, USC
SEC coaches totally whiffed on this one.
Williams, from the heart of SEC territory in Florida, committed to USC, all the way across the country.
Score one for Lane Kiffin.
This kid is insanely athletic, with the ability to step right into the defensive line rotation for the Trojans and make an impact on a defensive line that could use a boost.
USC's schedule is not exactly the toughest in the nation, and Williams will have the opportunity to grow up fast against Pac-12 opposition.
Arik Armstead, DL, Oregon
Armstead is the epitome of versatility.
He was rated as a 5-star offensive tackle by many, but projects as a defensive lineman for the Ducks.
His speed off the edges gives him the capability to play end, while his size, 6'7", gives him the strength and physical tools to play tackle.
The Ducks are known for rotating their defensive line on a regular basis, so there is almost no question that Armstead will have plenty of opportunity to prove that all the hype was deserved.
Malcolm Brown, DL, Texas
Not to be confused with the running back playing for the Longhorns by the same name, Brown is a five-star defensive tackle recruit.
Brown played some tight end in high school, which shows us his athletic ability, especially for a tackle.
While the Longhorns have some great depth at the position, Brown's skill level and motivation will get him on the field.
Once there, he will be hard to take off the gridiron.
Ellis McCarthy, DL, UCLA
Watch the video at the :38 mark for about 15 seconds.
That's what UCLA has got to throw on the field in 2012.
Matt Barkley, Keith Price, this guy is coming for you.
Ronnie Feist, LB, LSU
The rich got richer when Ronnie Feist got off to a great start for the Tigers in spring practice.
Kwon Alexander got most of the hype, but it was the play of this young man that had folks talking after the Tigers' spring game.
With stars in the secondary and on the line, this defense was scary enough, but if Feist continues to improve, and sees time on the field this fall, it will be downright ridiculous, and his contribution will play a large role in the Tigers' success.
Noor Davis, LB, Stanford
Stanford has two of the best linebackers in the nation in Chase Thomas and Shayne Skov, but Davis has an opportunity to step into the two-deep and have an instant impact.
While his plays will be somewhat limited by the returning talent, it will be very difficult for coach David Shaw to keep him off the field when the Cardinal are in a position to give him some experience.
When he gets his chance, expect some big-time play from this guy.
Eli Harold, LB, Virginia
Harold may line up at DE, especially this season for the Hoos, as they have some depth at linebacker.
That said, he has some incredible skills that would make him a superb OLB, and seems a natural fit for the position.
Expect him to get time on the field in passing situations, probably at defensive end. His speed and agility will absolutely blow you away.
Shaq Thompson, DB, Washington
Thompson was a big haul for the Huskies.
He's a big hitter who closes well on receivers, and has the height and body control to make big plays when the ball is in the air.
As you can see from the video, he can do just about anything on a football field.
Head coach Steve Sarkisian seems to think he is ready to play, and Thompson will be terrorizing Pac-12 receivers on crossing routes all season long.
Travis Blanks, DB, Clemson
Clemson's secondary got a big boost when Dabo Swinney picked up Blanks' commitment.
He's a lanky, speedy defender that makes it incredibly difficult to complete a pass.
Clemson needs some help in the secondary, even with the returning starters that Swinney can field.
Blanks' skills and football intelligence lead me to believe he will crack the two-deep and see quite a bit of playing time in 2012, leading to solid numbers.
Yuri Wright, DB, Colorado
There have not been many bright spots recently for the Buffaloes.
Wright has the potential to be a beacon of hope in a dark Pac-12 universe for Colorado.
He wound up at Colorado due to some extremely classless tweets, whereupon elite level schools stopped pursuing him, but his talent on the football field is undeniably solid.
As a member of the Colorado secondary, he will have the opportunity to show them what they are missing against some of the best wide receivers in the nation.
Ronald Geohaghan, DB, Clemson
As mentioned in a previous slide, the Tigers could use some shoring up in the secondary.
This guy provides an instant spark with the talent to play considerable chunks of time and make some quality stops.
His speed and tackling ability are ideal for a safety roaming the field, and given the opportunity, Geohaghan will put up solid numbers.