2014 was the year of the Running Back and 2015 was the year of the Quarterback. 2016 might be the year of the lineman, because there are a bunch of super talented freshmen linemen out there.
Dexter Lawrence of Clemson is the best of the best. As a 5 star recruit out of Wake Forest, North Carolina the 6-5, 350 Lawrence is something of a freak of nature. Not only is he huge at 350 pounds, he can also run the 40 yard dash in around 5.0 or less and he is super strong. So far, during his true freshman season, Lawrence is 4th on the team in tackles. He has blocked 2 kicks and he has 7 tackles
for loss and 4 and 1/2 Quarterback sacks. He is so good that he allowed the Clemson coaching staff to move last year’s freshman star Defensive Tackle Christian Wilkins to Defensive End because of injuries to other Clemson Tiger players.
Lawrence is amazing and he’s still a teenager.
Ed Oliver of Houston is the top recruit ever signed by a non power 5 conference school and he is dominating. At 6-2, 290 this teenager is not as huge as Lawrence but he is big, strong, tough and really quick. Like Lawrence, Oliver is among the tackling leaders on his defense and he also has 19 tackles for loss. With 7 Quarterback sacks, Oliver is one of the top pass rushers from inside in the nation. Ed Oliver burst onto the national scene in a big Houston win over Oklahoma. He looked incredible in that game and hasn’t gotten worse since then, for sure.
Rashan Gary was the top recruit in the entire country a year ago and after signing with Michigan who proved his worth immediately.
With one of the deepest Defensive Lines in the country, Gary didn’t get the same number of plays as some other young players. But, the 6-5, 290 Plainfield, New Jersey product showed such quickness
and athleticism when he was in the game that demonstrated why he was rated as the number 1 guy in the nation.
Nick Bosa followed older brother, Joey, and his uncle Eric Kummerow to Ohio State as everyone expected. Brother Joey had a little better freshman season than Nick, but the Buckeyes have a lot more defensive depth now than they did before. Wearing the same number 97, Nick Bosa looks so much like his older brother on the field. Joey was slightly bigger than Nick, but they have the same drive and intensity.
Nick Bosa finished the regular season with 7 tackles for loss and 5 Quarterback sacks.
The Rebels of Ole Miss had one of their worst seasons in years, but that did not discourage true freshman Defensive Tackle Benito Jones from having a very good rookie year. From Waynesboro, Mississippi the 6-2, 305 Jones was one of the Rebel’s top recruits this past year.
Jones was in the top 10 on the team in tackles for this past season.
Robert Landers, another Buckeye from Ohio State, was not highly recruited. He’s also a bit undersized for a Defensive Tackle. But, Landers used his lack of height and quickness to disrupt opponent’s Offensive Lines and backfields. Landers is not a starter, but when he’s in the game there is little drop off at all, if any. Landers is listed as 6-1, 280.
McTelvin Agim from Arkansas is a young beast with a bright future. The former 4 star recruit from Texarkana is a starter for the Razorbacks and he has 5 tackles for loss and 2 Quarterback sacks. The 6-3, 290 Agim looks like a force to be reckoned with at Arkansas.
Brian Burns of Florida State and rival Joe Jackson of Miami are true freshmen that are great pass rushers and a big part of the future for these long time rival schools
Marlon Davidson of Auburn has been something of a surprise at Defensive End and has been everything that Byron Cowart was supposed to be last season.
That’s just the Defensive side of the ball, the offense had a few top players as well.
The best Offensive Lineman is Alabama Right Tackle Jonah Williams from California. He’s similar to Crimson Tide Left Tackle Cam Robinson in that he came in during the Spring and he started from the Spring Game andd every game during his freshman season. But, right now, Jonah Williams is actually better than Cam Robinson, at least in my opinion. Robinson leaves after this season for the NFL and will be an early draft pick, and Williams will move over to the left side. He is a star, and it will be great to see Jonah Williams matched up against the Clemson Defensive Line.
There’s also Jawaan Taylor of Florida and Coy Cronk of Indiana. They are a couple steps below Jonas Williams.
Sean Pollard of Clemson filled in when sophomore Jake Fruhmorgan was injured. He looks like a guy with a future.
Offensive Guards Michael Jordan of Ohio State and Landon Dickerson of Florida State are physical specimens. Jordan started in the Spring and every game this season at Left Guard. Dickerson started later in the season at Right Guard before an injury put his season on hold. Dickerson has greatness all over him.
Then, there’s Michigan’s Ben Bredeson, Georgia Tech’s Parker Braun, Stanford’s monster Nate Herbig. Bredeson is so good he allowed regular Left Guard to move to Left Tackle when injuries forced.
There are a few more talented young Linemen out there. There are also a few more talented skill position players out there. It’s just not like the past 2 seasons.