Freshmen Update: Top Skill-Position Freshies
Highly ranked Freshmen making noise in 2012
In this day and age, players are scouted as young as elementary school. I'm serious. Recruits are graded on several categories and teams know a lot about the players they are bringing into their programs in most cases. An athlete's rank is determined by several factors. Not only do stats and size play an important factor, but 40-yard dash times, shuttle-run times, and vertical-jump statistics do as well. It makes sense though. If a school is investing a free education into an athlete, this school is entitled to know everything there is about this player. Heck, I would want to know their diet. Is our potential recruit eating Wendy's chicken nuggets everyday? Hope not.
We are just over a quarter of the way through the 2012 NCAAF season and a few of the top ranked recruits are certainly making their presence felt already. Yahoo Rivals puts out these rankings on recruits and they have a nice track-record of being accurate. The rankings are constantly changing and updated making them more precise. Recent top recruits include Percy Harvin, Adrian Peterson, Marshawn Lynch, Reggie Bush, LaMarr Woodley, Calvin Johnson, Matthew Stafford, C.J. Spiller, Eric Berry, Julio Jones, A.J. Green, Trent Richardson, and Manti Te'o.
Quite an impressive list of players if you ask me. All of these players ranked in the top 50 in each of their respective classes coming into the league. Sure not all players ranked highly pan out, but it's still nice to be ranked. Here is an update on a handful of the highly anticipated offensive skill-position recruits so far.
Dorial Green-Beckham - WR
Dorial Green-Beckham was the number one ranked player for the 2012 class according to Rivals. The Missouri Tigers wide-receiver nearly committed to be a Texas Longhorn but decided to stay in his home state. DGB for short, recorded his first career touchdown last week and he did it in style. It was an 80-yard score against the UCF Bulls.
Unfortunately, Green-Beckham was recently charged with marijuana possession last week. According to police, DGB and two freshmen teammates were posted outside of the football stadium in a Lincoln Navigator, covered in the aroma of some potent ganja. Green-Beckham will receive at least a one game suspension. Sure this is a muppet type of decision, but you cant teach size, and DGB stands 6'6 and has monster hands. The sky is the limit for this kid if he can mature.
Johnathan Gray - RB
The Texas Longhorns were extremely pleased to find out Gray was staying in state and becoming a Longhorn. Gray was ranked fifth overall in the Rivals rankings and is coming off an illustrious high-school career at Aledo High School. Gray is the only two time winner of the ESPN Mr. Football USA Award and ended his career with 189 touchdowns, a national record.
The freshman has seen an increase in carries through each of the first four games so far. On the year, the Aledo native has 33 carries for 157 yards. With the recent ankle injury to Malcolm Brown, Gray will likely see over a dozen carries in each of the next few games. I wouldn't be surprised to see a 50-50 split in carries between Gray and sophomore Joe Bergeron. Gray's vision and ability to hit the hole are way beyond his years. He has yet to find the end-zone but I couldn't imagine a better time to get that first touchdown then in their game against the No. 8 West Virginia Mountaineers this Saturday night.
Stefon Diggs - WR
Stefon Diggs, a Maryland native, decided to stay in state as well and become a Maryland Terripin. The 6'1, 185 pound freshman was the 8th ranked player in the Rivals 2012 rankings, and it's definitely showing. He has 12 receptions and 3 touchdowns so far this year. Diggs also had a nice showing against the Mountaineers as he hauled in 3 balls for 113 yards and 2 touchdowns.
T.J. Yeldon - RB
T.J. Yeldon was the 12th ranked freshman heading into this season according to Rivals. Yeldon is following an amazing group of running-backs to come out of Alabama in Mark Ingram, Trent Richardson, and Eddie Lacy. The 6'2, 205 pounder has 50 carries on the season for 292 yards and two touchdowns. In his debut, Yeldon had 111 yards on 11 carries against the Michigan Wolverines on national TV at Cowboy Stadium.
Amari Cooper - WR
Amari Cooper, 6'1, 200 pounds, is already making his young presence felt for the Crimson Tide. Rivals had Cooper ranked 45th in the 2012 rankings. He has a team leading 17 receptions, and has found the end-zone twice this year. The Miami native had his best game of his young career against the Ole Miss Rebels as he had 8 receptions for 84 yards and two touchdowns.