8 College Football True Freshmen Who Could Scare Away Recruits
As I've been here at Bleacher Report for nearly two years, I've maintained several general points about the world that is college football recruiting. One of those points is that recruits pay close attention to depth charts, which factors into their decisions.
Each and every year, we see true freshmen enter college football and quickly establish themselves as key contributors to a team. Four weeks into this 2012 season, we're already starting to see who this year's true freshmen studs are.
This read will focus on eight true freshmen who already are making 2013 recruits think twice about considering their schools. If you want early playing time, you may want to stay away from these true freshmen's programs!
Max Tuerk, OT (USC)
Tuerk is a true freshman at USC that has gotten himself in the thick of a battle for the starting left tackle position. After a tremendous training camp, Tuerk nearly edged Aundrey Walker out for protecting Matt Barkley's blindside.
The 6'5", 275-pound Tuerk was among the top 100 recruits last year in 2012 recruiting. He has quickly grasped the USC playbook and protection schemes, which got him extensive playing time last week vs. Cal.
While the Trojans have a pledge from OT Nico Falah, many left tackle prospects have steered away from Troy this year.
Duke Johnson, RB (Miami)
I had a hunch all last year that Johnson would be an early impact guy in Coral Gables. He's not the biggest man in the world, but the 5'9", 185-pound running back is dynamite with the ball.
Right now, he leads the Canes in rushing with 326 yards on 40 carries, with eight being for TDs. He's averaging eight yards per carry and also has chipped in 12 receptions for 123 yards and a score.
Johnson also is Miami's leading kickoff returner with 13 returns for 395 yards and a TD. None of the top 10 running back prospects are heading to Miami this year.
Thomas Johnson, WR (Texas A&M)
The Aggies have commitments from both Derrick Griffin and LaQuvionte Gonzalez this year, who are among the top receiver prospects in the country.
I expect Griffin to be moved to tight end and outside of Gonzalez, the other four commitments are not a threat to Johnson.
At 5'11", 185 pounds, Johnson has 10 catches for 100 yards this year. Sure, those are modest numbers, but each game, he makes a play that has you do a double take. With his speed, athleticism and quickness, he figures to be the future No. 1 receiver in College Station, which could nudge Ricky Seals-Jones towards LSU.
Landon Collins, DB (Alabama)
Alabama is recruiting two safety prospects in Vonn Bell and Antonio Conner that are among the best players in the country. While I think Bell ends up at Tennessee and Conner will go to Ole Miss for other reasons, Landon Collins may have some influence.
Collins is a 6'0", 202-pound defensive back that can play both strong and free safety. He is getting his feet wet as a true freshman at Alabama, appearing in three games and totaling four tackles to date.
Alabama has no safety commitments yet in 2013 recruiting.
D.J. Humphries, OT (Florida)
Humphries was the top left tackle prospect in the country, according to many evaluators last year. He's at Florida, and the 6'6", 275-pound athletic lineman has already ascended to a backup role.
Florida only has one commitment from an offensive tackle this year, and not many other elite players at the position are looking at the Gators. Laremy Tunsil hasn't committed to Florida and he lives right near by Gainesville, so Humphries' presence may be putting off the top blocking prospects of 2013.
T.J. Yeldon, RB (Alabama)
Yeldon burst on the national scene with a 111-yard performance against Michigan in Week 1. He is leading Alabama in rushing, and the Crimson Tide roster has also has true freshman Kenyan Drake on it too.
With these two backs, especially Yeldon, it could be a wise choice for 2013 prospects like Derrick Henry and Alvin Kamara to head elsewhere. Tyren Jones is committed, but Henry and Kamara may be better suited to sign with another school if they want to be the No. 1 running back early in their careers.
Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall, RBs (Georgia)
Georgia boasts two true freshman backs that have quickly erased the memory of Isaiah Crowell. Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall are lighting it up and could be the new Cadillac Williams and Ronnie Brown.
Gurley has 44 carriers for 419 yards and six TD's, while Marshall has 42 carriers for 271 yards and three scores. Derrick Henry has already de-committed, I doubt Derrick Green comes to Athens and Alvin Kamara could opt for another school too.
Georgia has no commitments from any running backs in 2013 recruiting, and you can put the blame on these two true freshman rock-toters.
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 and 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 WeAreSC.com, GatorBait.net and Diamonds in the Rough Inc., a College Football and NFL Draft magazine.