College Football 2012: 18 True Freshmen That Could Impact Week 1 on Offense

Edwin WeathersbyAnalyst IAugust 29, 2012

College Football 2012: 18 True Freshmen That Could Impact Week 1 on Offense

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    On Monday we looked at 10 True Freshman defensive players that could impact this opening weekend to the college football season. Defense wins championships and we have a lot of young defensive talent coming into college football.

    With that said, we live in a world that wants to be entertained and in football that comes from scoring points on offense. So offensive talent is always wanted in college football, and there is a ton of true freshmen on the offensive side of the ball that could have an impact in Week 1 this week.

    Here are 18 freshmen that you can expect to see on the field this weekend, making plays and showcasing their talents.

18. Matt Jones, RB (Florida)

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    Jones is a big RB at 6'2" and close to 230 pounds. He's pretty athletic, runs tough and is a load to bring down.

    The big back has run well in camp so far in Gainesville and figures to get himself some carries this weekend vs. Bowling Green.

17. Jordan Payton, WR (UCLA)

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    Payton's recruitment was a head-scratching saga, but he wound up at UCLA and has had a solid camp for a true freshman. Teaming with redshirt freshman Devin Lucien, Payton gives Brett Hundley another WR to grow with.

    Look for the 6'2", 200-pounder to be on the field and catch a couple passes this Saturday vs. Rice. 

16. Wes Brown, RB (Maryland)

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    Brown is solid and steady back that has good tools to be an effective runner for the Terps. He's going to face stacked boxes all season long due to inconsistency of the passing game for Maryland.

    However, Brown should enjoy a solid true freshman season, and that will start this weekend as he and Randy Edsall's team hosts William & Mary. 

15. Jessamen Dunker, OL (Florida)

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    The 6'6", 315-pound Dunker is very athletic and agile. He has OT skills but likely will begin his career in Gainesville as an OG.

    Dunker has shown to be quicker study than expected, cracking the two-deep and will more than likely be in the huddle some vs. Bowling Green. 

14. Ricardo Louis, WR (Auburn)

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    Louis pushed himself hard in the summer and has bulked up to 210 pounds, while still standing just about 6'2". He's an incredible athlete that also has great speed and strength for the WR position.

    Auburn doesn't have a superstar WR and will have another WR group of serviceable pass-catchers. Louis probably has the most talent of the group, and combined with his work ethic, that should get him on the field vs. Clemson this Saturday. 

13. D.J. Foster, RB (Arizona State)

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    Foster was the highlight of Todd Graham's first recruiting class and is well known around Arizona. A 6'0" 190-pound RB, Foster scored 60 TDs as a senior and has been very productive thus far.

    He has impressed in camp as a true freshman, showing veteran savvy, smarts and a quick understanding of the playbook. ASU hosts Northern Arizona tomorrow, and I expect Foster to have a great first game.

12. Leonte Carroo, WR (Rutgers)

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    Carroo is at Rutgers and has already impressed enough to warrant playing time. Week 1 is solid time to play true freshmen, and you can bet the 6'2", 200-pound WR will see some time vs. Tulane on Saturday night. 

11. Kent Taylor, TE (Florida)

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    Taylor is a 6'5", 225--pound TE at Florida with excellent ball skills. He's an athletic, receiving TE that can play the move and joker role for an offense.

    A bit light in the pants, Taylor hasn't dominated as a blocker during camp but his receiving ability has been on full display. Will Muschamp and Brent Pease will likely use him on passing downs vs. Bowling Green. 

10. Bryce Treggs, WR (California)

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    Treggs came into camp and quickly established himself as one the best WRs on the California roster. The 5'11", 170-pounder has good speed, quickness, instincts, smarts, coverage recognition and RAC ability.

    Treggs is starting and should put up some very quality numbers in his first college game vs. Nevada.

9. Shaq Roland, WR (South Carolina)

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    Roland has been lining at the X position for South Carolina and impressed when camp opened up. His 6'1", 175-pound frame is long and lean, with great speed, smooth athleticism and quickness.

    He's going to be a great deep threat, and I think he'll make more of an impact towards the middle and end of this season. Yet, Roland will get time vs. Vanderbilt tomorrow, and if the Commodores secondary isn't cautious, he'll make a play deep. 

8. Duke Johnson, RB (Miami)

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    Johnson isn't the biggest at 5'9" and a bit over 185 pounds, but he's among the fastest and quickest. He has 4.39 speed and can factor as runner, receiver and returner for Miami.

    This Hurricanes offense needs a spark and Johnson, who grew up rooting for The U as a Miami native, could be just that for Al Golden. Boston College will see Johnson get some carries. 

7. John Theus, RT (Georgia)

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    I predicted Theus could start early as a RT for UGA, and he's doing just that. Theus will open his true freshman season as the No.1 RT helping protect QB Aaron Murray.

    The 6'6", 310-pounder is a grinder in both the run and passing game, which you'll get to see displayed vs. Buffalo this Saturday. 

6. Stefon Diggs, WR/RS (Maryland)

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    Diggs could have gone anywhere in the country, but in the end, he chose to stay home and play for Maryland. Randy Edsall will throw him out there vs. William & Mary because Diggs has been electric in camp.

    A playmaker, look for Diggs to be used in an array of fashions via running, receiving and returning. 

5. Keith Marshall, RB (Goergia)

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    Todd Gurley, Ken Malcome and Richard Samuel are all in the backfield but Marshall is a great talent at RB for UGA. He's 5'11" and is already 216 pounds, but has excellent speed and explosiveness.

    Marshall will have an impact vs. Buffalo and is more reliable off the field than Isaiah Crowell was in Athens. 

4. Trey Metoyer, WR (Oklahoma)

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    Oklahoma needs a second WR to step up for Kenny Stills and Landry Jones, and Metoyer could be that guy. The 6'2", 200-pounder was a 2011 recruit that sat out last year due to academic problems.

    Locked and loaded for a great true freshman season, Metoyer has the speed, size and ball skills to be very productive right off the bat for OU.

3. T.J. Yeldon, RB (Alabama)

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    Yeldon has been buzzing since he performed well at the US Army Game last January. The 6'1", 215-pounder has great speed, smooth change of direction skills, athleticism and natural running back instincts.

    With Alabama being a run dominant offense, look for Yeldon to make a good tandem with veteran Eddie Lacy.

2. Dorial Green-Beckham, WR (Missouri)

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    DGB is the best incoming true freshman in the country, as the 6'6", 220-pounder is in the same mold of an Andre Johnson, Calvin Johnson and A.J. Green.

    Missouri knows it has to get him the ball and James Franklin will. Gary Pinkel and David Yost will make sure Green-Beckham fulfills his vast potential, and that starts at the collegiate level this weekend vs. Southeastern Louisiana. 

1. Wes Lunt, QB (Oklahoma State)

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    I thought J.W. Walsh was going to be the guy to replace Brandon Weeden but Lunt came in early, showing off a 6'5" frame and quick release during spring practices.

    Having earned the starting job, Lunt will have a huge impact in Oklahoma State's Week 1 game vs. Savannah State. In the scheme that Mike Gundy and Todd Monken run, he should flourish and have a freshman All-American type of season for the Pokes.

    Edwin Weathersby has worked in scouting/player personnel departments for three professional football teams, including the New York Giants, Cleveland Browns and the Las Vegas Gladiators of the Arena League. He spent a year evaluating prep prospects & writing specific recruiting and scouting content articles for Student Sports Football (now ESPN Rise-HS). A syndicated scout and writer, he's also contributed to, and Diamonds in the Rough Inc., a College Football and NFL Draft magazine.