Posts Tagged ‘Dion Lewis’

Freshman of Influence for 2009

Monday, December 7th, 2009

Posted by Mark Branstad – Football Talent Advisors

Here’s the final edition of this year’s Freshman of Influence.  Over the course of the season we compiled 62 true and redshirt freshman.  Our criteria was pretty simple…find freshman players making an impact on a weekly basis that had multi-sport athletic backgrounds in high school.  Our criteria did sort of limit the number of quarterbacks and offensive linemen we could choose because there are not a lot of freshman that receive playing time at those positions.        

Regardless I was impressed by the number freshman with multi-sport backgrounds.  It indicates to me that most high school players SHOULD be participating in other sports.  Coaches and parents that preach sports specialization and believe in the ‘focus on football only mentality’ might want to take a look at this list and rethink this one.  

Freshman of Influence blogs include detailed breakdowns on 62 players:  20 running backs, 10 wide receivers, 10 defensive backs, 9 linebackers, 8 defensive linemen, 4 quarterbacks, 1 offensive lineman.   

(Click on icon to link to each week of Freshman of Influence blog and complete player data)

WEEK 1:  

Featured Pittsburgh’s star running back Dion Lewis and Florida State’s exciting cornerback / return man Greg Reid


This week highlighted Virginia Tech’s great back, Ryan Williams and Georgia’s all-purpose threat Branden Smith. 


This week included two linebackers, Virginia’s Steve Greer and Walter Stewart of Cincinnati. 


Highlights perhaps the most exciting freshman quarterback in USF’s B.J. Daniels

WEEK 5: 

Two wide receivers are mentioned which will be heard from a ton in future seasons…Rutger’s Mohamed Sanu (he’s also part quarterback and running back too) and Chad Bumphis of Mississippi State. 

WEEK 6: 

Temple’s dominant running back, Bernard Pierce, and Michigan State D-Tackle, Jerel Worthy are detailed. 


 Three D-Tackles this week and TCU’s running back, Ed Wesley


This week the only freshman to intercept Tim Tebow not once but twice!  That would be Mississippi State’s Johnthan Banks.  Also this year’s only freshman O-Lineman…Texas Tech’s LaAdrian Waddle


Wisconsin’s tackling-machine, Chris Borland and Tennessee’s surprise starter in the secondary Janzen Jackson…this week. 

WEEK 10:

Warren Norman, Vanderbilt back and SEC Offensive Freshman of the Year, tops this week’s review. 

WEEKS 11 & 12:   

Combine weekly review includes two kick returners Jesse Grandy (Mississippi) and Al-terek McBurse (Purdue) and intriguing Troy linebacker, Kanorris Davis.

Freshman of Influence – Week 1

Thursday, September 10th, 2009

Posted by Mark Branstad – Football Talent Advisors

Each week I’m going to briefly highlight college freshman (true and redshirt) players that contribute to their team’s victory and or have spectacular performances.  The players highlighted will have had high school track and field backgrounds, as only we do it here at FTA.  I’ll try to plug some freshman lineman here and there… 



Chris Polk, RB – Washington

Had 90 rushing yards and 2 receptions for 34 yards against LSU in UW opening game under Sarkesian.  I should mention Polk ran a 10.90, 22.25/200 and long jumped over 21’00 while at Relands East Valley HS in 2007.

D.J. Monroe, RB/KR – Texas

Recently switched positions from receiver to running back but his real impact may be kick returner for the Longhorns.  Returned first kickoff of career 89 yards for a score against Louisiana-Monroe.  D.J. was also state champion 100 meter sprinter and 4×100 relay member in Texas at Angleton HS running 10.41 and 40.93.  

Greg Reid, CB – Florida State

A true freshman cornerback for the Noles turned in a great performance against Miami, including an interception, 4 tackles, a quarterback hit leading to an interception for td and 3 kick returns for 100 yards.  Greg was also a solid sprinter at Lowndes HS in Georgia running 11.08/100 and 22.30/200 and long jumping 20’10 at the Region 1-5A Meet in 2008 and appearing at the State Meet in 2006 running a leg on the 4×400 (3:26.07). 

Onterio McClaebb, RB – Auburn

Went to Hargrave Military to get to Auburn but this freshman opened againt La Tech with 22 rushes for 148 yards and two kick returns for 49 yards. This diminutive guy is very quick.  Ran 10.93/100 and 22.44/200 to become state champion for Fort Meade HS in Florida during the 2007 and 2008 track seasons. 

Dion Lewis, RB – Pittsburgh

Another diminutive freshman back that had a dominating opening performance,  gaining 129 yards on 20 carries for two TDs and another 10 yards on two catches and TD.  Apparently Dion was a three year track and field letterman at Blair Academy in New Jersey. 

Marsalis Teague, WR – Tennessee

Actually I was expecting a big receiving day out of one of the other Vol receivers, Nu’Keese Richardson (I’m sure his big game will come shortly), but Marsalis had a great performance six catches 86 yards and a touchdown.  Marsalis ran 11.19/100 and 22.24/200 his only year running track at Henry County HS in Tennessee. 

Kevin Newsome, QB – Penn State

Despite not being the Penn State starter the freshman came in against Akron and certainly looked like he belonged going 3 of 4 for 26 yards and have 2 rushing attempts for 12.  No turnovers. Newsome was a state champion high hurdler at Western Branch HS in Virginia going as fast as 14.15 and winning the state indoor 55 high hurdles in 7.35.  Just to let you that’s flying…he even threw some shot put too. 

Denard Robinson, QB – Michigan

Like Newsome, Robinson isn’t even the starting quarterback on his own team.  Fellow freshman Tate Forcier has that duty.  That didn’t stop Robinson from running 11 times for 74 yards and a score and electrifying the crowd.  He was only 2 of 4 passing for 18 yards but his rushing did the talking and there are many players faster than D. Robinson, period.  He ran a legit 10.44/100 at the Broward County Meet this past spring and was a state champion 4×100 member for Deerfield Beach HS in Florida running as fast as 40.64. 

What is it with these fast Big-10 quarterbacks all the sudden?  First Terrelle Pryor now D. Robinson and Kevin Newsome…is this a revolution at the position for the Big 10 or what?

I should mention that no freshman probably had as spectacular a debut as USC QB Matt Barkley.  But we’re not spotlighting him here. 

Well that’s a good start for freshman of influence for the first week of college football.  Hopefully we’ll uncover a few defensive players and lineman next week.