Injuries are beginning to take their toll on several Top 10 and Top 25 teams. This is making way for freshman to make their presence known on the field. We’re seeing more and more freshman making impacts. Here’s a few that caught my eye or I heard about this past week.
Freshman of Influence Week 4:
Uzoma Nwachuku, WR – Texas A&M
Texas A&M has added some young explosive talent on offense and Uzoma is another example. His impact has been seen in several ways on the field with 8 receptions for 168 yards and 3 touchdowns, 1 run for 39 yards and a score. Clearly he’s making a name for himself. He also was an outstanding sprinter for Allen HS in Texas running as fast as 21.19 / 200 and high jumping 6’08 @ (Coppell Relays – 2009). Ran a leg on 4×100 relay (41.53) at Region 1-5A Meet in 2009, qualifying for state meet.
Darius Willis, RB – Indiana University
Redshirt freshman, Willis ran for 152 yards on 16 carries and two scores against Michigan…including an 85 yard sprint for touchdown. During the run Willis essentially outran Michigan’s Donovan Warren and Troy Woolfork both big-time high school sprinters.
Even more impressive Willis weighs around 220 pounds. I laughed when I heard the television annoucer say “I didn’t know Willis had that kind of speed!” Willis ran track for three years at Franklin Central HS in Indianapolis and ran 22.00 / 200 at a regional meet in 2007 along with running anchor for state qualifying 4×100 (42.32) and 4×400 (3:18.70). He did that weighing about 210 pounds. He ran under 49 seconds for the 400 meter dash as a freshman at Howe HS in Indianapolis.
B.J. Daniels, QB – University of South Florida
Perhaps the most impressive offensive performance by a freshman last week came from this guy against Florida State. Wow! So far this season Daniels has throw 20/36 for 394 yards and 4 touchdowns…run 38 times for 259 yards and 3 scores. On top of that USF is 4-0. Daniels played guard last year for USF’s basketball team and even played baseball and some track in high school. Daniels high jumped 6’04 as a senior at Tallahassee Lincoln HS in Florida and qualified for regional meet as a sophomore.
Leon McFadden, DB – San Diego State
This true freshman currently leads the nation with two blocked kicks after four games. McFadden also ran track in high school at St. John Bosco HS, California. He ran 10.95 /100 at the 2009 Mt. SAC Relays, long jumped 20’09 and leg on 4×100 relay (43.12) at Southern Section Division 3 Meet in 2009.
Trent Richardson, RB – Alabama
Richardson was just named the SEC Freshman of the Week for his performance against Florida International. He also came up big against Arkansas last week. For the season he has 38 rushes for 280 yards and 4 touchdowns…throw in five receptions for 48 yards too. This guy has all the talent and the speed to match. What do I mean? Richardson ran track for Escambia HS in Florida…running as fast as 10.81/100 and 4×100 (43.49) at the Region 1-5A Meet. He qualified several times for the state meet in the 100.
Stable of Running Backs – Fast Running Backs…
Alabama is loaded at running back with Mark Ingram, Trent Richardson, Terry Grant, and Roy Upchurch. All these guys ran south of 11.00 / 100 in high school.
You know Texas A&M (they’ve had a few freshman already plugged here) has a stable of fast running backs too. Christine Michael (mentioned last week), Cyrus Gray, and Bradley Stephens were all outstanding sprinters in high school. Gray ran 10.76 / 100 and Stephens a 22.10 /200 even in Texas that’s pretty fast.
Kick Return University?!
Stanford is quickly becoming “Kick Return U”! Chris Owusu is going crazy with his kick returns and was named Pac-10 Special Teams Player of the Week. He has 6 returns for 355 yards (59.17 avg) and 3 touchdowns, plus 13 receptions for 210 yards and two scores. It should be noted Owusu was a 10.59 / 100 and 21.30 /200 sprinter at Oaks Christian HS in California.
Additionally, Richard Sherman has been on a tear with his punt returns with seven for 140 yards and a score. Sherman is Stanford’s active leading receiver though he no longer plays the position after switching to the defensive backfield. He was a state champion triple jumper (50’08) at Dominguez HS in California and finished fourth at the state meet in the 110 hurdles (14.37), throw in a 22’10 long jump and that’s an explosive athlete.
Local Shout – Ball State RB
Ball State true freshman, Eric Williams of Warren Central HS (IN), ran 11 times for 59 yards against Auburn last week. Williams has returned 13 kicks for 296 yards for the season. Not bad for a local Indy player in for a tough year up in Muncie. Williams was a solid high school track athlete running the 100, 200, 110 hurdles, long jump and 4×100. Sectional champion in long jump (22’04) and finished 4th at 2009 state meet in 4×100 (42.02).