Freshman Watch List: Temple's Pierce Takes Over, Stanford's Luck Gets on Board
So here we go. Week 10 is done and gone, and the workhorses of several teams continue to be the freshmen.
Oregon was amazed by Stanford, who, despite the scoreboard, really trashed the Ducks. LaMichael James loses his grip on the freshman race as Stanford's Andrew Luck makes the list.
So maybe he isn't the next Jacquizz Rodgers, but he still is in the hunt and continues to make a big impact for the Ducks. LeGarrette Blount will be getting some carries again most likely, and this could hinder James' amazing season.
A lot of freshman have gone unnoticed in the CBS and ESPN lists. For example, Tom Savage, the playmaking quarterback from Rutgers, and Andrew Luck, whose passing yardage now exceeds 2,000 following the Ducks game.
Let me know what you think of my list. It was a tough one to figure out.
1. Bernard Pierce, RB, Temple.
Pierce makes the jump over LaMichael James with his impressive performance against Miami (Ohio). Pierce ran for 184 yards and three touchdowns. A remarkable day.
Pierce is third in the nation in rushing yards. Quite the feat for a freshman. Keep your eye on Pierce. He's giving Temple national recognition and could be placed on a Heisman watch in years to come.
Pierce now has 1,211 yards and 14 touchdowns on the year.
2. Dion Lewis, RB, Pittsburgh.
Lewis is listed first by CBS. And maybe they're right. I still think Pierce is more impressive, though.
Dion has propelled his team to victory week after week, and now the Panthers are ranked No. 8. They killed Syracuse last weekend, led by Lewis who rushed for 110 yards and a touchdown. The totals gave him 1,139 yards and 11 touchdowns on the year.
He has now rushed for 100 yards in four straight games. (Syracuse, South Florida, Rutgers and Connecticut).
3. LaMichael James, RB, Oregon.
Oregon played a bad game against an underrated Stanford team. The Cardinal trashed the Ducks, despite the score being close.
And despite the Ducks' bad play, LaMichael James kept them in it. He proved himself once again to be the driving force behind this Oregon team. He ran for 125 yards and a touchdown to go with 89 yards receiving.
Lewis and Pierce move ahead, as I predicted they might, but James is still a great back as he crossed the 1,000-yard mark last weekend. He has 1,043 yards on the season and eight touchdowns.
Look for James to be the key to victory in upcoming games against Arizona and Oregon State, as well as having a field day against Arizona State.
The only problem with James is the un-suspended LeGarrette Blount. He could be getting some of the workload, hindering James' running yards. If Kelly wants to do the right thing, he won't let that happen. But watch out for James—he isn't done yet.
4. Luke Kuechly, LB, Boston College.
Kuechly is quite the impressive linebacker. The Eagles didn't play this week, but he won the vote for the top freshman among the CBS users. That's a task not easily accomplished.
Kuechly was No. 1 in tackles among freshman until BC's bye week last weekend. He is 13th in the nation for total tackles and will move up with a good game this weekend against Virginia.
Altogether he has 94 tackles and one pick-six on the year.
5. Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford.
Luck is feeling the love as the Cardinal offense trampled Oregon's highly touted defense.
He passed for 250 yards on only 12 passes, putting him over the 2,000-yard mark with 2,076 yards. He also has 11 touchdowns. ESPN predicts he'll be over 2,700 yards by the year's end.
Luck had a big role in the win against the Ducks, second only to Toby Gerhart.
Stanford now is getting national recognition and it's mostly due to Luck. He has, in addition to last weekend, four other games where he passed for over 200 yards. He even got 400 in one game against a ranked Arizona team.
Keep his name in mind. If Stanford is to beat USC, it's going to be because of this young man.
6. Ryan Williams, RB, Virginia Tech.
Ryan Williams bottoms out the list. It's a tough list and Williams is really a great back. He rushed for 179 yards against the all-powerful (sarcasm) East Carolina. He had no touchdowns in the game.
He has three 100-yard games in the last five, totaling 1,109 yards on the season with 10 touchdowns.
Williams will need a couple of amazing games to get back into the running.
On The Bubble:
Christine Michael, RB, Texas A&M; Manti Te'o, LB, Notre Dame; Tom Savage, QB, Rutgers; Matt Barkley, QB, USC.
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