College Football 2012 Week 1: Freshmen Who Impressed in Openers

Mike MoraitisAnalyst ISeptember 1, 2012

College Football 2012 Week 1: Freshmen Who Impressed in Openers

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    The first week of college football saw some great games played, and in turn, many great freshmen athletes' skills were on full display.

    It isn't easy to break into the starting ranks on a major college squad, but these young stars are quickly making the case that they already belong on the field.

    Let's take a look at some of the best freshmen performances in Week 1 of the college football season.

Todd Gurley, Running Back, Georgia

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    He only had eight carries, but Todd Gurley certainly made the most of each one of them in Georgia's win over Buffalo.

    The freshman gained 100 yards on the ground in the game, and Gurley was able to get into the end zone three times in all. The Bulldogs back averaged an impressive 12.5 yards per carry and was even able to break a 55-yard touchdown run.

    But he wasn't done there.

    Gurley proved to be a dangerous kick returner as well when he broke free for a 100-yard touchdown in the first quarter. Before the first quarter was finished, Gurley's stamp was already all over this game.

    It might not have been against a top team in college football, but nobody can deny that Gurley's first game with Georgia was nothing short of impressive.

Sawyer Kollmorgen, Quarterback, Northern Iowa

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    Lost in the close final score between Wisconsin and Northern Iowa was the fact that rookie quarterback Sawyer Kollmorgen was incredibly impressive.

    Kollmorgen was 18-of-34 for 265 yards and three touchdowns without throwing a single pick. Not bad for a freshman quarterback in his first game against a ranked team like the Badgers.

    His three scoring strikes went for two, 55 and 31 yards, respectively.

    Not only can Kollmorgen make the short throws, but he clearly has a great arm that can get the ball downfield with great success.

Duke Johnson, Running Back, Miami (FL)

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    After just one game for the Hurricanes, Duke Johnson proved he is about as explosive as any runner in college football.

    Johnson had only seven carries, but he totaled 135 yards for an average of 19.3 yards per carry. The Miami running back got into the end zone twice with runs of 54 and 56 yards, respectively.

    Johnson also showed he has some versatility in his game.

    Out of the backfield, Johnson caught three passes for just 10 yards, but he did have three kick returns for a total of 69 yards, averaging 23 yards per return.

    With the ability to help Miami in multiple facets of the game, Johnson will continue to be a great asset for the Hurricanes and will only get better with more experience.

T.J. Yeldon, Running Back, Alabama

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    In Alabama's rout of Michigan, T.J. Yeldon made his mark as a running back that opposing defenses will have to prepare for from here on out.

    Yeldon carried the ball 11 times for 111 yards and a touchdown. His best run of the night was when he broke for an impressive 40-yard run. He ended up averaging 10.1 yards per carry.

    The 'Bama running back also caught a pass out of the backfield for a solid 26-yard gain.

    There's little doubt that if 'Bama quarterback AJ McCarron has a rough night and/or needs some extra support from his running back, Yeldon will certainly be able to oblige.

Wes Lunt and J.W. Walsh, Quarterbacks, Oklahoma State

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    I know, I know, Wes Lunt and J.W. Walsh had major success against lowly Savannah State, but it still doesn't take away from the fact that Oklahoma State's two freshmen quarterbacks shined in their debut.

    Not only did the quarterbacks throw for a combined 278 yards and two scores in the 84-0 blowout, but both Lunt and Walsh showed great accuracy with their passes.

    Together, Lunt and Walsh were 24-for-32, with Lunt a perfect 11-for-11. Walsh also added 29 yards on the ground with three carries.

    Cowboys fans can certainly take solace in the fact that if their starting quarterback goes down due to injury, they have another option to turn to.

Ashton Lampkin, Safety, Oklahoma State

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    Sticking with the Oklahoma State theme, Ashton Lampkin took full advantage of playing against a weak opponent in Savannah State.

    Lampkin played his position well during the game but was also able to notch an interception in his first game as a Cowboy. What was impressive about the pick was Lampkin's great athleticism, which was on full display as he wrestled with a Tigers receiver to steal the ball in midair.

    Lampkin's development will go a long way toward making Oklahoma St.'s defense one to be reckoned with. And I'd say after his first game, Lampkin looks like he has the potential to be a major player for the Cowboys.