Football players have a tendency to develop at different rates. Some guys need a year or two in the system before they can help a program out. But, some come in ready to play immediately.
These are the best freshman at their respective SEC schools at the moment. Some Offensive Linemen will come along later and make All Conference or All American, but for now these are the best that I have seen at each school.
Calvin Ridley – WR Coconut Creek, Florida: Ridley is incredible and is already the leading receiver for the Crimson Tide with 38 receptions. They are calling him the next Amari Cooper and that’s probably not all that crazy.
Minkah Fitzpatrick – CB Jersey City, New Jersey: If you read this blog, you know I love recruits out of Florida and New Jersey. Fitzpatrick is already an incredible Cornerback for the Tide standing currently 6th on the team in tackles. He has 2 Interceptions, both returned for Touchdowns and he has returned one punt for a Touchdown as well. He’s just a big play waiting to happen.
Damien Harris – RB Berea, Kentucky: Junior Running Back Derrick Henry will definitely be out early and declare for the NFL. Kenyan Drake, the other Bama Running Back is a senior. The job is Harris’ to lose and the former 4 star out of Kentucky appears to be the heir apparent.
Da’Ron Payne – DT Birmingham, Alabama: The Crimson Tide usually has a huge body in the Defensive Line that is almost impossible to move and Payne is the latest.
Blake Burnett – QB Corona, California: Supposedly the top rated Quarterback in the country, so he has to make the list for the top freshmen in this recruiting class.
Ricky Town QB Ventura, California: Transferring from USC, he must have seen the trouble before anyone else. He was one of the top Quarterback recruits in the country and he has a bright future at Arkansas.
Dre Greenlaw – LB Fayetteville, Arkansas: The lowest rated recruit in the Arkansas recruiting class last season as a Safety. Greenlaw is currently the second leading tackler at Linebacker and has already grown to 6-0, 225. Huge success story during a disappointing season for the Hogs.
Rawleigh Williams III – RB Dallas, Texas: The Hogs have a knack for finding great Running Backs recently and Williams looks like the latest. Williams has 236 yards rushing so far, and his big day came against Tennessee when he ran for 100 yards on 14 carries. Razorback Running Back star Alex Collins is a junior and probably leaves early. Jonathan Williams was a senior this year and was injured before the year starts. Rawleigh Williams looks like a future star.
Hjalte Froholdt – DT Bradenton, Florida: I wrote about Froholdt previously: http://collegefootballcrazy.com/hjalte-froholdt/
He has had limited opportunities so far, but has enormous potential.
Byron Cowart DE Seffner, Florida: Whines a lot on Twitter, but enormous potential which he should live up to. He’s only participated in 4 tackles so far, but his playing time should increase. Possesses excellent quickness for his size.
Kerryon Johnson RB Madison, Alabama: Johnson was one of Auburn’s top recruits and so far has lived up to the hype. He is third on the team in rushing, so far, and 6th in receiving. He looks to have a bright future for the Tigers.
Carlton Davis DB Miami, Florida: Davis is coming on strong and has had 2 Interceptions in the last two games.
Tim Irvin DB Palmetto, Florida: Nephew of Hall of Fame Wide Receiver Michael Irvin. This guy is a head hunter roaming around in the backfield. He’s slightly undersized, but very aggressive.
Jeff Holland LB Jacksonville, Florida: Holland was one of the top recruits signed by the Tigers and he looks like all he was supposed to be. Another star player out of the state of Florida.
Chandler Cox FB Apopka, Florida: Auburn coach Gus Malzahn loves his blocking Fullbacks and Cox was in the lineup right away. He reminds of former Auburn Fullback Jay Prosch who is now with the Houston Texans in the NFL.
Cece Jefferson DE Glen Saint Mary, Florida: Jefferson was rated as the #2 Defensive End coming out of the high school ranks last year. He is shorter than advertised, apparently, but every bit as good and is contributing on a really good defense for the Gators.
Martez Ivey OT Apopka, Florida: Ivey was the top rated Offensive Tackle prospect coming out of high school. He has played some at Left Tackle and at Left Guard. Clearly, he is going to be a great one that stays only 3 years at Florida.
Frederick Johnson OT Royal Palm Beach, Florida: Having played only one year of high school football, Johnson is pretty raw. But, it’s pretty obvious that he is going to be a good one in his playing time at Right Tackle for Florida.
Tyler Jordan OG Jacksonville, Florida: Tyler Jordan was one of the top rated Center prospects in the country. Jordan has been good in limited playing time at Guard. The Gators are young up front but they are talented.
Jordan Conkrite RB Miami, Florida: I can only assume he’s not related to Walter, but he looks to be another talented athlete out of South Florida.
Antonio Callaway WR Miami, Florida: Extremely explosive receiver out of the South Florida area who is a dangerous Punt Returner and Wide Receiver.
Trent Thompson DT Albany, Georgia: The 2nd ranked Defensive Tackle prospect in the country. He has not disappointed at all.
Terry Godwin WR Hogansville, Georgia: Godwin is currently the Bulldogs second leading receiver and has had to return punts for them as well. A little guy with great speed.
Johnathan Abram DB Columbia, Mississippi: A promising young Defensive Back for the Bulldogs.
Rico McGraw DB Nashville, Tennessee: Georgia has some young talent in the Defensive Backfield and McGraw is another future star.
Jackson Harris TE Columbia, Tennessee: Georgia seems to produce Tight Ends extremely well and Harris is going to be the next great one right after last year’s sensation Blazevich.
Natrez Patrick LB Atlanta, Georgia: The Bulldogs have been pretty deep at Linebacker of late and Patrick will be a part of the next deep group. Big, strong Linebacker that looks really good early.
Roquan Smith LB Montezuma, Georgia: Smith was set to sign with UCLA, but at the last moment wound up at Georgia and he looks like a future star with great speed on the outside. He was the second ranked Outside Linebacker in the country last year.
George Asafo-Adjei OT West Chester, Ohio: Kentucky gets a lot of talent out of nearby Ohio and this guy has already worked his way into the lineup.
CJ Conrad TE LaGrange, Ohio: Another Ohio kid that is in the lineup for the Wildcats. Only a 3 star coming out of high school and the 11th ranked Tight End
Christopher Westry DB Orange Park, Florida: Tall Defensive Back that looks like a future star and already in the top 10 on the team in tackles.
Jordan Jones LB Youngstown, Ohio: Another Ohio product showing signs of future stardom in Kentucky
Josh Allen LB Montclair, New Jersey: Promising young Linebacker.
Kevin Toliver II CB Jacksonville, Florida: Outstanding Cornerback that is already one of the best in the conference. He was LSU’s number one recruit and the 2nd rated Corner in the country.
Maea Teuhema OG Keller, Texas: Super massive Offensive Guard that started from day one. He was the 2nd rated OG prospect in the country.
Derrius Guice RB Baton Rouge, Louisiana: If not for the season that Leonard Fournette is having
you would be hearing more about this guy. He has run for 268 yards and a score, but every yard of that has been of the very impressive variety. The man has a lot of heart and want to and gets it done.
Arden Key DE Lithonia, Georgia: Tall freshman Defensive End is good and very quick. Uses his quickness to evade bigger Offensive Linemen. He will fill out and become a super star up front for the Tigers.
Donte Jackson DB Jefferson, Louisiana: Jackson is a smallish Defensive Back, but uses great speed in coverage and run support. Has the tools to be big time and he will fill out.
Nick Brossette RB Baton Rouge, Louisiana: He plays little behind the other star Running Backs, but Brossette has the tools to be a good player for the Tigers soon.
Javon Patterson OG Petal, Mississippi: Ole Miss has problems up front and Patterson is a massive freshman that has filled in nicely and has a bright future.
DaMarkus Lodge WR Cedar Hill, Texas: He’s not playing much, but could wind up being the top recruit.
Malik Dear RB Jackson, Mississippi: Strongly built freshman Running Back that has shown some early abilities.
Justin Johnson WR Birmingham, Alabama: Big, strong receiver that has seen only limited playing time but looks to have a bright future.
Jamal Peters DB Bassfield, Mississippi: Defensive Back with great size and a lot of ability and will continue to improve.
Terry Beckner Jr DT East St Louis, Illinois: The top ranked Defensive Tackle in the country and he plays like it. Devastating against both the run and the pass and just a killer for now and the future. Missouri’s offense stinks, but their defense is rock solid.
Drew Lock QB Lee’s Summit, Missouri: Lock was the 6th rated Pro style passer and is awesome as far as talent goes. He was forced into a starting role and has struggled, but the talent is there and he has the ability to be a star.
Nate Howard DE St Louis, Missouri: The Tigers are the Defensive End school these years and Howard is another talent on the rise for them.
Terez Hall LB Lithonia, Georgia: Hall wasn’t even rated as a recruit and he looks like he can help the Tigers in the future.
Lorenzo Nunez QB Kennesaw, Georgia: Poor kids in this class thought they were playing for Steve Spurrier, but he stepped down and left them. Nunez was the 18th rated Dual Threat Quarterback in this class. He looked fairly good when he was able to play.
DJ Neal WR Stone Mountain, Georgia: Neal is a big body at Wide Receiver and should be a star when Pharoh Cooper declares for the NFL.
Boosie Whitlow DE Opelika, Alabama: In brief appearances looks like a future star.
Darrin Kirkland Jr LB Indianapolis, Indiana: Super talented Inside Linebacker that was originally committed to Michigan. He is the 5th leading tackler for the Volunteers and will get better as he matures and gains experience.
Kahlil McKenzie DT Concord, California: The Vols under Butch Jones have really improved the talent level at Tennessee. McKenzie is a second generation Volunteer and a talented Defensive lineman. He is currently 10th on the team in tackles. Excellent size and an effective run stopper.
Jack Jones OG Murfreesboro, Tennessee: True freshman Offensive Guard that was pressed into duty by injuries to starters. He has held his own up front and looks like a future beast.
Shy Tuttle DT Lexington, North Carolina: He is injured now, but he was good enough while he played to garner excitement over his future.
Preston Williams WR Lovejoy, Georgia: Tall receivers are the most desirable right now for both college coaches and NFL. Williams, at 6-4, is star on the rise.
Chance Hall OT Roanoke, Virginia: pressed into duty because the Vols still have little depth up front.
Jauan Jennings WR Murfreesboro, Tennessee: Has had limited playing time, but looks promising .
Kyle Phillips DE Nashville, Tennessee: Phillips has looked good in limited playing opportunities.
Quinten Dormady QB Boerne, Texas: I have seen Dormady in high school and in the Spring Game, plus limited playing time this season. He is a good looking Quarterback prospect with the height and the strong arm.
Christian Kirk WR Scottsdale, Arizona: Best freshman Wide Receiver in the country and an exciting return man, and you can ask Alabama about that. Big time player with a high NFL pick in his future.
Daylon Mack DT Gladewater, Texas: Fickle guy, but a great player and awesome against the run. The Aggies don’t need him to rush the passer, just stop the run. He is a monster.
Kyler Murray QB Allen, Texas: Undersized Quarterback, but very, very talented. Could be a star at the position with more playing time and some experience.
Kwame Etwi RB Conroe, Texas: A walk on player that is already seeing significant playing time.
Josh Crawford RB Elmore, Alabama: As a back up, he looks like he might be a prospect at Running Back.
Josh Smith LB Murfreesboro, Tennessee: Could be a future star at Linebacker.
Jordan Griffin LB Seffner, Florida: Another Florida prospect with some abilities.