Posted by Mark Branstad – Football Talent Advisors
Week seven now in the books and the path to determining the number one team in college football seems cloudier than ever. From the looks of things Alabama appears to be the public favorite even though Florida is ranked one in the BCS poll. But I’m not here to debate team rankings…I’m here to highlight a few more freshman of influence. This week there were a few freshman that burst on the scene and others that have been making contributions all along. Here goes…
Freshman of Influence Week 7:
Marquise Goodwin, WR – Texas
I did a blog on this player yesterday so I’ll save you the track stuff. But this true freshman came to Texas as a track scholarship athlete…the football staff was admittedly skeptical of Goodwin’s ability and desire to contribute as a football player. Goodwin proved he can play against a top notch opponent catching four passes for 36 yards and a touchdown against Oklahoma on Saturday. Prior to the Oklahoma game he had 10 catches for 91 yards and limited kick return duty.
Demontre Hurst, CB – Oklahoma
Another true freshman that had a standout game versus Texas on Saturday. Hurst had a sack and tfl against Texas and he’s listed at 5’10 170. That’s impressive. On the year Hurst has 9 tackles, one sack, one tfl and one pass breakup. And he’s quite the accomplished track sprinter! He ran for Lancaster HS (Texas) and was twice a member of a state champion 4×400 relay (3:12.45 best time) and bests around (49.0) 400 meters, (22.0) 200 meters, qualified for state meet in 4×100 (41.85) and ran leg on 4×200 (1:26.88 best time). Needless to say his speed “translates” pretty well to the field.
Dan Spitz, DT – Washington State
We all know this redshirt freshman plays on a poor team, all the more reason to give him some props. Listed at 6’07 260, this player is credited with 8 tackles, one tfl and 2 forced fumbles through 5 games. Not great stats but with his size and athleticism we might hear more about him in the future. Spitz was a thrower at Mead HS (Washington) with a best of 148’04 in the discus, not bad for being a tad over 6’06 in height.
Olivier Vernon, DT / DE – Miami
Sticking with the D-line this January enrollee and true freshman is helping with the resurgence of the U. Vernon is a bit undersized but very active for a freshman, credited with 12 tackles, 4 tfls and a half sack in 4 games. He’s battled injuries so far this season and missed most of his senior year of high school due to an injury but like Spitz we’ll hear more from him in the future. Olivier attended American HS (Miami, Florida) and graduated early he did throw the shot put and discus as a junior with bests of (46’08) in the shot and (124’11) in the discus.
Lavar Edwards, DT – Louisiana State
On a roll with the D-line and Edwards has been a surprise addition to a deep and talented LSU line. Edwards is a redshirt freshman but has produced with 10 tackles, one tfl, one sack, and one forced fumble in 5 games. He came out of small Desire Street Academy (Louisiana) and was a state champion Class A shot putter (50’03) and state qualifier in the discus (141’07, Region II-1A Meet).
Ed Wesley, RB – Texas Christian (TCU)
Wesley a redshirt freshman is second on the 11th ranked TCU squad with 273 yards on 50 attempts and one touchdown. He’s also managed 5 receptions for 115 yards and a score over 6 games. Wesley ran was a sprinter at Irving MacArthur HS (Texas) with best of (10.71, probably hand-held) 100 meter dash at the District 7-5A Meet and member of a regional-qualifying 4×100 team (42.95). Still has more than enough speed and skill to be one of TCU’s better backs in recent memory.
Brandon Wegher, RB – Iowa
He isn’t even the best true freshman back on the team, at least statistically, that goes to Adam Robinson. Wegher has however proven to be a fairly well rounded player with 81 rushing attempts for 291 yards and 3 touchdowns, 10 receptions for 67 yards and 5 kick returns for 139 yards. Wegher has speed Iowa has exploited well indicated by his (6.99) 60 meter dash, (10.92) 100 meter dash at the 2008 Drake Relays. He ran track at Bishop Heelan HS (Iowa) for four years and participated in several Iowa state track meets.
Stable of Running Backs…Fast Running Backs Part II
We highlighted Alabama’s stable of running backs a while back, including new Heisman “favorite” Mark Ingram. But looking at the success of Georgia Tech and Idaho it is clear that they have a ton of talent and speed at the running back position. There’s a lot more to winning football games than having a couple of fast running backs BUT…Alabama, Georgia Tech and Idaho have a combined record of 19-2!
Georgia Tech has running backs Jonathan Dwyer, Anthony Allen, Embry Pebbles, Marcus Wright, and Josh Nesbitt (we’ll secretly count Nesbitt as a back). All these players have high school track and field backgrounds and all but Allen were state track meet qualifiers in Georgia, Florida and Texas.
Idaho’s top three rushers Princeton McCarty, Deonte Jackson, and DeMaundray Woolridge (a Washington State transfer) have helped lead the squad to a surprising 6-1 record. Each of these players were track sprinters in high school with Jackson sprinting (6.70) 55 meters, McCarty qualifying for the state meet in California 100 meter dash (10.70) and Woolridge running as fast as (10.74) 100 meter dash in Texas. Keep in mind Woolridge is now listed at 241 pounds!
Gotta send a shout to the Bulldogs of Butler University (Indianapolis). They’re 6-0 on the season and play in the Pioneer League (non-scholarship Division 1-AA…errr I mean D1 FCS). I haven’t seen them have this kind of success since the days of record breaking running back Arnold Mickens. Glad my alma mater isn’t just a basketball school anymore.