2014 College Football Recruits with Best Shot to Be Freshman All-Americans
Many recruits aspire to play right away in college as true freshmen. With coaching being better at the high school level and recruits being more physically developed today, more rookies are making an impact on college rosters.
Making some headway in Year 1 in college is nice, but the great true freshmen make noise by playing themselves onto the Freshman All-American team. It's hard to do, as redshirt freshmen are also eligible for the team.
Yet, several true freshmen make the team each year and there will be some elite 2014 recruits will continue that trend. Running back Leonard Fournette, ATH Jabrill Peppers and DE Da'Shawn Hand look like sure bets. While Cameron Robinson has the ability to be a rare true freshman starter at left tackle, which gives him a good chance to make the team.
Here are the top candidates on the radar to be 2014 freshman All-Americans.
Speedy Noil, WR/ATH
Noil could walk onto a college campus in 2014 and play a role similar to that of Stefon Diggs at Maryland. He has the skills of an multi-purpose player on offense and the potential to be a great a returner.
The 5'11", 176-pounder has excellent quickness and speed, which help him make jaw-dropping plays with the ball. Noil is creative on the field, can elude defenders and get to paydirt in a hurry.
Joseph Yearby, RB
Yearby isn't staying home to ride the bench, so expect to hear from him as a true freshman at Miami. He's not the biggest back at 5'9", 191 pounds, but he is one of the quickest and most elusive.
He can juke tacklers out of their cleats, has good instincts and doesn't take many hits. Yearby will also be able to catch a few passes in James Coley's offense. He will produce some big plays for the 'Canes in 2014 and is a player to keep your eye on to make the frosh All-American team.
Lorenzo Carter, DE/OLB
Carter figures to stay in the SEC, possibly at Alabama. From Georgia, the 6'6", 232-pound edge-defender has the size and athleticism to contribute and make plays right off the bat in 2014.
Carter has a quick first step, great length and can chase down plays from the backside. He should produce solid numbers to generate some Freshman All-American attention for himself.
Jalen Hurd, RB
Hurd will be expected to tote the rock immediately for the Vols. He's already 6'3", 225 pounds, so size and physical development aren't issues.
Hurd is from the state and is already popular among the fans, so there will be a buzz for him to play.
Expecting him to rush for 1,000 yards and 15 TDs is a bit much, but Hurd should put up good numbers for Butch Jones that could make him a Freshman All-American.
Andrew Brown, DT
Making an impact in the trenches is a tall task for a young freshman, but Brown has the size, strength and quickness to buck the trend. He's 6'4", weighs 295 pounds and plays like a man at the point of attack.
The Virginia native will weigh more than 300 pounds in all likelihood as a freshman. Combine his bulk with his power, quickness and solid hand usage, and you see a guy who should net a few sacks and tackles for loss as a freshman, wherever he lands.
Cameron Robinson, OT
Robinson is one of the rare OL prospects ready to play in college right now. The 6'6", 330-pound Louisiana native has great movement skills that will allow him to anchor the left island on the offensive front for 3-to-4 years.
Robinson doesn't catch blocks often, as he punches well and is a great deep-setter as a pass protector. He'll fight a DL as a run-blocker and can hit moving targets.
It'll be no surprise if he's an All-American LT on the frosh team after his initial college season.
Da'Shawn Hand, DE
Hand being redshirted is a ludicrous idea, so you can count on him getting highlight sacks, sack-fumbles and TFLs during the 2014 season.
At the worst, Hand will contribute as a nickel/sub-package-rusher as a true freshman. His explosiveness and ability to bend on the edge, convert speed to power and pursue ball-carriers are already top notch.
He's expected to make the Freshman All-American team as much as anyone on this list.
Quin Blanding, S
Mike London should expect Blanding to play and play well for Virginia right off the bat. The big safety stands 6'2", 200 pounds and has good instincts, play smarts and athleticism.
Blanding can play in sub-packages early in the 2014 season to get his feet wet before assuming a more prominent role. He'll intercept a few passes, break up several others and make a few tackles that will get him on the Freshman All-American team as a DB.
Jabrill Peppers, DB/ATH
The New Jersey native is expected to sign with Michigan or Stanford, and early playing time can be had at both schools. Peppers is 6'1", 205 pounds and perhaps the best pure athlete of all of this year's top recruits.
He's also one of the smartest and instinctive recruits.
It appears CB could be his first position. If Peppers reaches his ceiling, we could be looking at the next Chris McAlister, the former All-Pro CB for the Baltimore Ravens.
Leonard Fournette, RB
Big, fast, strong, quick and instinctive are all adjectives that describe Fournette as a player.
He's a 6'1", 232-pound RB prospect with a higher grade than many of the recent great rock-toter prospects like Johnathan Gray, Malcolm Brown, Ty Isaac, Isaiah Crowell, Keith Marshall and Kelvin Taylor.
Fournette's an easy pick for this list. If he's not an All-American as a freshman, the RBs who are must have an "S" on their chests.
Edwin Weathersby is the College Football Recruiting Analyst for Bleacher Report. He has worked in scouting/player personnel departments for three professional football teams, including the New York Giants and Cleveland Browns.