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The Top 10 College Football Freshmen Performances from Week 3

Andrew KulhaSenior Analyst IIISeptember 17, 2012

The Top 10 College Football Freshmen Performances from Week 3

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    Getting a good performance from a freshman can be a huge boost for a football team, and there were quite a few freshman from the 2012 recruiting class that impressed in this past week of college football.

    Not only does a big game from a freshman help the team on the field, but it can also be a huge plus for recruiting. It goes a long ways towards showing potential recruits that a program can find ways to get them on the field even as freshman, and that if you're talented enough you will be utilized.

    You may even make it on a list like this.

    Here are the best performances put up by the 2012 recruiting class this past week:

Honorable Mention: Deontay Greenberry, WR, Houston:

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    5 Rec. 60 Yards.

    There aren't many positives Cougars' fans can take out of their 37-6 loss to UCLA, but Greenberry is one of the few.

    Houston only completed 28 out of their 60 passing attempts against the Bruins. Five of those completions were to the 6'3'', 193 pound Greenberry, who notched his second five reception game in a row.

    If there's anything good to take out of this game for Houston fans, it's the fact that Greenberry is a young, talented and emerging receiver.

10. Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama:

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    2 Rec. 46 Yards. 1 TD

    The Crimson Tide rolled all over the Arkansas Razorbacks this past weekend, and Cooper was able to make a contribution and even find the endzone.

    He caught two passes for 46 yards and one score, which could be the first of many for the talented freshman.

9. Stefon Diggs, WR, Maryland:

4 of 12

    3 Rec, 57 Yards, 1 TD

    Maryland couldn't get past Connecticut, falling 24-21, but Diggs can certainly say that he played his part for the Terrapins.

    Diggs caught three catches, averaged 19 yards a snag, and found the endzone in the Terrapins near loss to UConn.

8. Shaq Thompson, S, Washington:

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    7 Total Tackles, 2 TFL.

    With a list like this it could get easy to focus on offensive production, but let's not forget that freshman can have a huge impact on defense as well.

    The Washington Huskies beat up on Portland State 52-13 and Thompson played a huge roll, leading the team with seven total tackles from his safety position.

    Usually it's not a good sign when your safety is the leading tackler, but two of Thompson's tackles were for a loss, which points to him playing strong near the line of scrimmage.

7. T.J. Yeldon, RB, Alabama

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    13 Carries, 55 Yards, 1 TD. 1 Rec, 18 Yards.

    In his freshman year with the Crimson Tide, Yeldon has already shown glimpses of being the next great Alabama running back. He runs with a great combination of speed, aggressiveness and strength, and he can even be a factor out of the backfield.

    He played a big role in Alabama's win over Arkansas, picking up double-digit carries and another touchdown—his second in three weeks.

6. Keith Marshall, RB, Georgia

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    10 Carries, 104 Yards, 1 TD.

    Georgia's freshman running back looked extremely impressive in a route against Florida Atlantic.

    He surpassed the century mark and found the end zone, but perhaps the most impressive stat he put up was the 10.4 yards per carry average.

    Bulldogs' fans have to be very excited about this young man's future.

5. Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia

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    10 Carries, 111 Yards, 1 TD.

    Not to be outdone but Marshall, Georgia's other freshman back Todd Gurley took his ten carries and turned them into 111 yards and a score.

    If you thought Marshall's 10.4 yards per carry was impressive, I give you 11.1 yards per touch from Gurley.

    Talk about your one-two punch. Georgia is looking real good in the backfield with these two young backs.

4. Mike Davis, RB, South Carolina:

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    4 Carries. 84 Yards. 1 TD.

    It's got to be tough to impress at the running back position when you have Marcus Lattimore as your program's featured back, but Davis sure did the trick this past weekend against UAB.

    He only saw the ball four times, but Davis made the most of his looks by averaging 21 yards per carry, with his longest going for half the field—50 yards.

    Davis may not overtake Lattimore for the No. 1 spot just yet, but his future is certainly bright.

3. Gabe Marks, WR, Washington State:

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    6 Receptions. 126 Yards. 1 TD

    The Washington State Cougars passed for 378 yards in their 35-27 win against the UNLV Rebels. Marks accounted for 126 of those yards.

    Marks put up some big numbers, averaging 21 yards a catch with a long of 52. His touchdown was also the first of his career.

2. Rushel Shell, RB, Pittsburgh:

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    23 Carries, 157 Yards. 2 Rec. 15 Yards.

    Pittsburgh rushed for 254 yards in their win against Virginia Tech, and Shell account for most of those. He absolutely carried the load for the Panthers offense as he grinded out a 6.8 yards per carry average.

    To top it off, he added two catches for 15 yards to complete a monster performance by any standards, let alone for a Freshman.

1. Duke Johnson, RB, Miami.

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    14 Carries, 94 Yards, 2 TD. 3 Rec, 57 Yards, 1 TD. Kick Return for 95 Yard TD.

    One look at Johnson's stat line and it's quite obvious why he takes home this week's No. 1 spot.

    The freshman looked like a complete back on his way to three touchdowns. He averaged 6.7 yards per carry and 19 yards per catch, and ran a kick back, accounting for 28 of Miami's 38 points in their 38-10 win over Bethune-Cookman.

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