Freshmen try to make their place in college football. Many freshmen have stellar first years and not-so-stellar careers. Some freshmen use their first season to spring their career throughout college and into the NFL.
With college football season just around the corner, a new set of freshmen will put on the pads and line up across upperclassmen.
Who will make an impact? What past freshmen have made an impact? Here is a list of the top freshmen performances of the past 15 years.
Charles Woodson began his freshman season at University of Michigan in 1995. He was the Big 10 Freshman of the Year with five interceptions and eight takeaways.
Mark Roman played for LSU. He was the SEC Defensive Freshman of the Year in 1996. He had 58 tackles including two tackles for loss. In addition, Roman had four interceptions and six pass break-ups.
Playing for Tennessee beginning in 1997, Jamal Lewis was the SEC Offensive Freshman of the Year. Lewis ran for 1,364 yards and seven touchdowns.
In 1997, Ron Dayne had a great freshman season for the University of Wisconsin. He had 1457 rushing yards, averaging 132.5 yards per game. Dayne also had 15 touchdowns in an 11 game season.
Kareem Kelly played wide receiver for USC. He caught 54 passes for 902 yards and four touchdowns. Kelly was named the Pac-10 Freshman of the Year in 1999.
In Ohio State's run to the national title in 2002, they rode the back of their freshman running back, Maurice Clarett. Clarett had 222 rushes for 1,237 yards and 16 touchdowns.
Mike Williams was named the 2002 Pac-10 Freshman of the Year, breaking several USC and Pac-10 Conference Freshman records. Williams had 81 receptions for 1,265 yards and 14 touchdowns.
Oregon State, defense, and freshman are a hard combination to overcome and be successful, but that is what Brandon Browner did in 2003.
He had six interceptions, 43 tackles, six pass breakups, two forced fumbles, and three stops for loss. Browner was the Pac-10 Freshman of the Year.
Better known for his impressive NFL debut, Calvin Johnson had a great freshman season in 2004 at Georgia Tech. Johnson had 48 receptions, 837 yards for a 17.4 average per catch, and seven touchdowns.
Before Adrian Peterson ripped it up for Minnesota, he ripped up the Big 12 defenses for Oklahoma in 2004. Peterson had 339 carries for 1925 yards in his freshman season.
He was second in the Heisman voting, a finalist for the Doak Walker Award, and a first team All-American.
In 2005, Darren McFadden had one of the best freshman seasons for the University of Arkansas. He had 176 attempts for 1113 yards and 11 touchdowns. McFadden was also named SEC Freshman of the Year, a Freshman All-American, and the SEC Newcomer of the Year.
Taylor Mays is a senior this year at USC. In 2006, his freshman year, Mays had 62 tackles and three interceptions, leading his team.
He was named Pac 10 Freshman of the Year, a second team All-American, a first team Freshman All-American, and the Defensive Freshman of the Year.
P.J. Hill was named the Big 10 Freshman of the Year in 2006. He had 311 attempts for 1569 yards and 15 touchdowns.
Jake Locker thrived on a less-than-stellar Washington team in 2007. He had 986 rushing yards, which was a freshman team record. Locker also had 2062 yards passing and 14 touchdowns.
Last year, Darren Evans helped lead his team to an Orange Bowl victory. Evans had 287 rushing attempts for 1265 yards and 11 touchdowns. He averaged 90.4 yards per game.
A new freshman quarterback for North Carolina State led the ACC last year in passing efficiency. Russell WIlson had 150/275 for a completion percentage of 54.5.
He also had 1,955 yards, 17 touchdowns, and only one interception.
In 2008, wide receiver Jacquizz Rodgers was Pac-10 Freshman of the Year for Oregon State University. Rodgers had 259 carries for 1253 yards and 11 touchdowns.
There are many more great freshman performances. Hope you enjoyed this group!