QB: I picked Deshaun Watson at Clemson who was a true freshman from Gainesville, Georgia. Cole Stoudt was the starter coming in, but lost his job during the season to Watson.
Watson threw for 1,197 yards and 12 Touchdowns against 2 Interceptions. Watson also ran for 187 yards. Those aren’t mind boggling numbers, but it was extremely obvious from day one that Watson was the future at Clemson at Quarterback. Watson did miss some time due to injury, but if he stays healthy this kid will dominate.
I didn’t do as well with my other picks. Brandon Harris at LSU couldn’t beat out sophomore Quarterback Anthony Jennings, but Harris played well given the opportunity and nnearly led the Tigers from behind to defeat Mississippi State. Harris threw for 452 yards and 6 Touchdowns.
Also picked were Troy Williams at Washington and Jerrod Heard at Texas. Both of these guys redshirted and I may pick them again next season.
I am happy with Watson pick, but redshirt freshman Anu Solomon was the best freshman Quarterback in the country and threw for 3424 yards before the Pac 12 championship. Redshirt freshman JT Barrett from Ohio State was phenomenal as well, but who could have picked him with Braxton Miller returning. I am a football fan, not some kind of fortune teller. I could have picked Brad Kaaya at Miami as well.
RB: I picked Leonard Fournette which was an easy choice since he was the highest rated recruit in the country and he played well after a slow start. Fournette ran for 891 yards. Not Heisman numbers, but good numbers and he gained confidence as the year progressed.
Also picked was Elijah Hood at North Carolina. Hood was a bit of a disappointment rushing for 199 yards.
Samaje Perine put up the best numbers of all of the outstanding true freshmen Running Backs. But, Nick Wilson from Arizona and Royce Freeman at Oregon were incredible as well. Then, there was Nick Chubb at Georgia, but who expected more bad luck for the Bulldogs and losing Todd Gurley.
Perine, Wilson, Freeman and Chubb all ran for over a 1,000 yards in 2014 with more games ahead.
WR: At the receiver positions I picked Malachi Dupre of LSU and Speedy Noil at Texas A%M. Basically, both of these Wide Receivers are awesome. Dupre did not put big numbers, but that was mostly due to his team’s offense and lack of consistency at Quarterback. But, he did have 5 Touchdowns.
Speedy Noil did have some good numbers with 44 receptions and he returned Punts and Kickoffs.
The most productive receivers in the nation were Mike Dudek of Illinois, KD Cannon of Baylor, Artavius Scott of Clemson, and DaeSean Hamilton of Penn State.
TE: Fewer teams are using Tight Ends in today’s modern football offenses which I feel is a huge mistake. There are still a few schools out there that use the Tight Ends in their offense like Notre Dame and Stanford. I picked Notre Dame redshirt freshman Durham Smythe.
Smythe played very little and only had 1 catch on the season.
True freshman Jeb Blazevich from Georgia was probably the biggest and best surprise. Then, there was Bryce Dixon from USC who was impressive and the future of that position in the West.
OL: Cam Robinson of Alabama was a no brainer and he played like a senior and this kid is only going to get better and better. I missed on a few Offensive Linemen but I also picked Damien Mama of USC and he started all season. Some other young Offensive Linemen that played very well include Mason Cole at Michigan, Toa Lobendahn of USC, Viane Talamaivo of USC and Trevor Darling of Miami just to name some of the best.
DE: The top Defensive Ends I picked were Myles Garrett of Texas A%M and Lorenzo Carter of Georgia. Two obvious choices so no patting me on the back on this, please. Garrett had 11 sacks. Carter only had 3.5 sacks but he didn’t play as much early on. Derek Barnett from Tennessee may have been as impressive as either of them. Have to give credit to the SEC at this position.
DT: My two Defensive Tackle picks, Andrew Brown of Virginia and Bijhon Jackson of Arkansas, played sparingly this season. Possibly the best freshman Defensive Tackle this season was Davon Godchaux from LSU.
OLB: The Outside Linebackers on my list were Matthew Thomas at Florida State and Dillon Bates from Tennessee. Thomas missed the first 6 games with what we were told was an ankle injury, but it turns out he was suspended all along. Bates was injured early in the season and will get a redshirt.
ILB: Raekwon McMillan of Ohio State is a now and future star. Zach Whitley signed with UCLA and played very little.
I also picked Gavin Bryant at Tennessee and he didn’t play at all.
CB: My Cornerbacks were Jabrill Peppers of Michigan and Adoree Jackson of USC. Peppers started immediately, but was injured and will be given a redshirt season. Jackson started all season and played both ways, plus excelled at special teams. Both of these will be top Cornerbacks in college and probably in the NFL.
Safeties: I picked Quin Blanding of Virginia and Dylan Sumner-Gardner of Boise State. Sumner-
Gardner played some for Boise State. But, Quin Blanding was the top freshman in the country and led a very solid defense in tackles in 2014.
Whether I was right or wrong about these freshman is sort of irrelevant. But, this is maybe the best group of freshmen I have ever seen in the same year. That much I am definitely right about.