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…
FRESHMAN OF INFLUENCE WEEK 1:
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.