College Football Freshmen We're Most Intrigued to See in Spring Games

David KenyonFeatured ColumnistFebruary 12, 2018

College Football Freshmen We're Most Intrigued to See in Spring Games

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    Trevor Lawrence
    Trevor LawrenceCredit: Student Sports

    National signing day marked the effective end to the 2018 recruiting cycle, but the players who signed in February won't arrive until the summer.

    Early enrollees, on the other hand, are already on campusand we're eager to see several of the best prospects from the class. Upcoming spring games will serve as the first national appearance for the former high school stars.

    We're most focused on top recruits who have a real chance to compete for a starting job immediately, but a couple of 5-star quarterbacks are also included. One other prized prospect set to initially play a new position  rounds out the group.

    The players are listed in ascending order based on their final 247Sports composite ranking.


    Spring game info via

Adrian Martinez, QB, Nebraska

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    Overall ranking: No. 139

    Spring game info: Saturday, April 21, noon ET

    Tanner Lee simply wouldn't have been a fit in Scott Frost's offense, so last season's starter is chasing an NFL dream. Nebraska will have a wide-open competition that includes Adrian Martinez.

    A 4-star dual-threat quarterback, Martinez missed his senior season because of injury. But in 2015 and 2016 combined, he piled up 4,234 yards and 39 touchdowns as a passer and scampered for 2,363 yards and 14 more scores.

    Martinez will compete with Patrick O'Brienthe only returning quarterback with in-game experience, though minimalTristan Gebbia and Andrew Bunch.

Emory Jones, QB, Florida

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    Overall ranking: No. 85

    Spring game info: Saturday, April 14, 3 p.m. ET

    New head coach Dan Mullen isn't tied to Feleipe Franks as the starter, so Emory Jones has a great opportunity this spring.

    During the early signing period, the 4-star quarterback flipped from Ohio State to Florida. The Gators have been searching for a reliable player behind center since the Tim Tebow era.

    Kyle Trask and Jake Allen are also on the depth chart, but along with Franks, none of them has the dual-threat skill set of Jones. If he shows that playmaking ability during the spring game, get ready for Florida fans to clamor for Jones getting a shot.

Justin Rogers, QB, TCU

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    Overall ranking: No. 43

    Spring game info: TBD

    This selection comes with a major asterisk, since Justin Rogers is recovering from a knee injury that ended his final high school season.

    If he's healthy, TCU will be able to compare the 4-star with Shawn Robinson. Though he's expected to succeed Kenny Hill, Robinson must be prepared for an annual competition with Rogers.

    During his junior year at Parkway, Rogers threw for 2,646 yards and 26 scores and rushed for 566 yards and nine touchdowns.

Lorenzo Lingard, RB, Miami

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    Overall ranking: No. 25

    Spring game info: TBD

    Mark Walton missed most of the 2017 season, but he's still a massive loss for a rising Miami program. And while Travis Homer was a respectable replacement, he's not a guaranteed starter.

    Lorenzo Lingard, a 5-star prospect, tallied 1,701 yards and 26 touchdowns as a senior. He's a powerful one-cut back who is built to run between the tackles but can create separation with speed once in the open field.

    Seeing him compete with Homer and DeeJay Dallas will showcase the variety of RB options for the 'Canes in 2018.

Terrace Marshall, WR, LSU

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    Overall ranking: No. 13

    Spring game info: Saturday, April 21, 6 p.m. ET

    Bad luck struck Parkway in 2017, as Rogers and 5-star wideout Terrace Marshall both missed most of the season.

    Fortunately for Marshall, it appears he will participate in spring practice. Ross Dellenger of the Advocate reported Marshall "is at about 90 percent of the way back from his ankle injury," according to the receiver's personal coach, Lawann Latson.

    Marshall, a two-time 1,250-yard wideout in high school, has plenty of competition at LSU. But it wouldn't be surprising if he ultimately performs better than one of Stephen Sullivan, Drake Davis or Dee Anderson during the spring.

Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State

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    Overall ranking: No. 5

    Spring game info: Saturday, April 21, Time TBD

    The No. 2 weak-side defensive end in the country, Micah Parsons will be playing a new position at Penn State.

    For now, at least.

    According to head coach James Franklin, per Land of 10's Tyler Donohue, the 5-star will begin his college career at middle linebacker and has a chance to start. Parsons has some experience there, but the Big Ten is a whole different level of competition.

    Regardless of where Parsons sits on the depth chart, we're looking forward to seeing him roaming the middle in April.

Justin Fields, QB, Georgia

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    Overall ranking: No. 2

    Spring game info: Saturday, April 21, 4 p.m. ET

    Jake Fromm pushed Jacob Eason last spring. After an injury to the latter, Fromm took over and ultimately pushed Eason out.

    Because of Eason's transfer, Justin Fields will be expected to serve as the immediate backup. And since the 5-star gathered 2,131 rushing yards during his final two high school seasons, he offers a mobile threat Georgia might want to utilize in 2018.

    Freshmen have occasionally looked overwhelmed in their first spring, but Fields can show he's ready for immediate snaps with a poised performance during the exhibition.

Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson

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    Overall ranking: No. 1

    Spring game info: Saturday, April 14, 2:30 p.m. ET

    The No. 1 prospect in the nation, Trevor Lawrence headed to Clemson with enormous potential and even larger expectations.

    Everyonefans and analystsmust be patient, since Kelly Bryant will likely retain the starting job in 2018. But it's not an irrelevant spring for Lawrence. After the transfers of Zerrick Cooper and Tucker Israel, only Hunter Johnson stands in the way of the backup spot.

    In addition to providing an initial glimpse of Lawrence, the spring game will be an intriguing look at the future of the position for the ACC powerhouse.


    All recruiting information via 247Sports. Stats from or B/R research. Quotes obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted. Follow Bleacher Report CFB Writer David Kenyon on Twitter @Kenyon19_BR.