Power Ranking the Most Electric Freshman Playmakers in College Football
Every year, fans are blessed by new faces; players hungry to carve out their place in history among the greats of college football. Though difficult, preparation and opportunity combine to present us with rising stars and a reminder of all that is good about the sport that we love.
Adrian Peterson rushed for almost 2,000 yards as a freshman at Oklahoma.
Michael Crabtree had 134 receptions and 22 touchdowns in his freshman campaign at Texas Tech.
Last year at this time, Heisman trophy winner "Johnny Football" of Texas A&M was still just Johnny Manziel, redshirt freshman quarterback.
Though the season is young, we have a fresh new crop of youngsters vying for national attention by lighting up scoreboards and filling up stat sheets across the country.
Could one of these electrifying freshmen be the next household name?
10. Laquon Treadwell, WR, Ole Miss
The highly recruited Treadwell burst onto the scene in his prime-time debut with a nine-catch performance, including this terrific one-handed grab, from ESPN.com.
[Ole Miss coach Hugh] Freeze on Laquon Treadwell's debut: "I had no idea he was going to go out and have nine catches." Added he knew he had all the talent.— Edward Aschoff (@AschoffESPN) September 4, 2013
Despite only two catches in Week 2, "Quon" is still leading Ole Miss in receptions. At 6'3", 215 pounds, Treadwell possesses elite size and speed to be an impact player in the SEC for years to come.
9. Dontre Wilson, RB, Ohio State
By the end of the season, Wilson may well be in the top three of this list. The only thing holding him back is a loaded backfield in Columbus and limited opportunities.
Quote of the day may belong to Dontre Wilson: "I'm way faster than a lot of people. Now, I have to prove it."— Kyle Rowland (@KyleRowland) September 8, 2013
In just 12 offensive touches this year, Wilson has 86 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown. He has also averaged 38 yards on his two kickoff returns.
Wilson drew praise all summer and was issued jersey No. 1, along with the "Percy Harvin" role. Though slightly undersized, it doesn't take long to see what makes him special. His rare speed and quickness will keep Wilson on highlight reels for the next few years.
8. Ricky Seals-Jones, WR, Texas A&M
Ricky Seals-Jones had just three catches in his debut, but one of them was this 71-yard touchdown, from ESPN.com.
After getting banged up in Week 1, Seals-Jones sat out last week and has just three catches on the year. However, Aggies head coach Kevin Sumlin has been putting together explosive offenses for years and has never had a wideout with this kind of natural ability.
Texas A&M just took its first lead of the day on 71-yard TD pass to Ricky Seals Jones, who looks big-time— Mark Schlabach (@Mark_Schlabach) August 31, 2013
Teamed with Johnny Manziel for at least another year, Seals-Jones should be filling up the stat sheet for the foreseeable future.
7. Thomas Tyner, RB, Oregon
Nobody has fewer touches on this list than Thomas Tyner. He sat out Week 1, then didn't have his first touch until the fourth quarter last week against Virginia.
Tyner scored twice while rushing for 51 yards on just four carries. His last carry was a 31-yard scoring run.
Thomas Tyner gets on the field and immediately picks up the short touchdown run for #Oregon. Holds Oregon state high school rushing record.— Kevin McGuire (@KevinOnCFB) September 7, 2013
While it will be difficult to find reps for the elusive freshman, Tyner gave the Ducks' coaching staff a reason to get him on the field. He's the perfect back for their fast-paced, explosive offense.
6. John O'Korn, QB, Houston
Maybe the least known player on the list, John O'Korn has yet to even start a game in college. All he has done is come off the bench in back-to-back weeks to throw for 340 yards and three touchdowns while not turning the ball over.
“He doesn’t look like an 18-year-old who went to the prom five months ago.” - @UHCougarFB coach Tony Levine on freshman QB John O’Korn.— American Football (@American_FB) September 7, 2013
Levine runs the same offense that Kevin Sumlin used to develop guys like Case Keenum and Johnny Manziel, and O'Korn has the goods to make the playbook run on all cylinders. He's completing 73.9 percent of his passes and is mobile enough to keep a defense honest.
At this point, it's not a matter of "if" O'Korn will take over the reins, just how long it will be until he does.
5. Alex Collins, RB, Arkansas
Through his first two career games, Collins is averaging 6.73 yards per carry as the focal point of the Arkansas offense.
Collins' 303 rushing yards is the fourth most in the country, and knowing Bret Bielema's track record with running backs, the sky is the limit for Collins' career. He scored his first touchdown last week in a 172-yard performance against Samford.
4. Christian Hackenberg, QB, Penn State
After throwing for 278 yards and two touchdowns in his debut, Hackenberg set the Penn State freshman record by throwing for 311 yards in his first game at Beaver Stadium.
Two games into the 2013 season, Hackenberg has completed better than 70 percent of his passes and is averaging 9.2 yards per attempt while throwing touchdown passes of 54, 51 and 45 yards.
He has the tools, coaching and weapons at his disposal that could result in the best career ever for a Penn State quarterback.
3. Baker Mayfield, QB, Texas Tech
All of the freshmen on this list are impressive football players. Baker Mayfield is the only one who is doing it as a walk-on player. That is-one without a scholarship.
Kliff Kingsbury confirms Baker Mayfield has yet to receive a scholarship. None are available right now, he says.— David Ubben (@davidubben) September 9, 2013
But that's not the story here.
Mayfield leads the Big 12 in total offense with 862 yards and seven passing touchdowns. His 780 passing yards place him third in the country, just ahead of Teddy Bridgewater, and he leads the Red Raiders in rushing with 82 yards.
On Thursday night, Mayfield will get a chance to showcase his talent on national television when Texas Tech takes on TCU in a game with special meaning for the walk-on QB.
TT QB Baker Mayfield wanted to go to TCU but didn't get an offer. Kingsbury's reply: I'll leave that to y'all but I know he'll be fired up— Krista Pirtle (@AJ_KristaPirtle) September 9, 2013
2. Jameis Winston, QB, FSU
In Winston's national debut, he shredded the Pitt defense for 356 yards and four touchdowns while completing 25-of-27 passes. He rushed for another touchdown in one of the most efficient and effective debuts in history.
If Winston can maintain a level of play anywhere near what he showed in Week 1, Florida State will be in the hunt for a BCS bowl and Jameis will garner some Heisman consideration.
The 'Noles host Nevada this weekend, so look out for another monster performance from the phenom in Tallahassee.
1. Jared Goff, QB, Cal
In Jared Goff's worst game this season, he threw for 445 yards against Northwestern. He "bounced back" from that performance with a 485-yard, two-touchdown outing against Portland State.
Goff's 930 passing yards are more than any other quarterback in the country, and it's really not close.
Cal's new fast-paced offense offers the quarterback opportunities and Goff has taken full advantage, completing better than 62 percent of his passes. He's also thrown four interceptions.
Cal's Jared Goff has 930 pass yards in 2 games, 2nd-most by a QB in his team's first two games since 2000 (Colt Brennan, 2007)— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) September 8, 2013
He will face a tough test this weekend as Cal hosts Ohio State in a game that the country should be watching.
All stats courtesy of CFBStats.com unless otherwise noted.