With still a lot of football left to play, SEC freshmen have already made huge impacts on their teams. It was only six months ago that they were still in high school, and now they’re playing against the best competition college football has to offer every weekend. These five players are guys who have been impressive from the start and seem to continue to get better each week. I couldn’t decide on a ranking for each player because most play different positions and their impact may not always be shown on a stat sheet.
Jamal Adams/LSU/Safety: “DBU” had lost it’s luster since guys like Tyrann Mathieu, Mo Claiborne and Patrick Peterson moved on to the NFL. That swagger is being brought back and the leader of it all is Jamal Adams. The freshman from Carrollton, Texas brings energy and life to the defense and special teams. Through nine games, Adams has 42 tackles, one sack, and two tackles for loss. Adams has stepped up after replacing nickelback Dwayne Thomas who had a season ending ACL injury. He is not considered one of the 11 starters but there are few plays that Adams is not on the field. Adams flies to the ball and is constantly making plays and is a joy to watch.
Cameron Robinson/Alabama/Tackle: Robinson has lived up to all the hype he received as a recruit. He was the consensus No. 1 tackle in the nation. decided to leave the state of Louisiana and play for Alabama. Robinson is not only the best freshman lineman in the SEC, he is in the talks for best lineman in the nation. Cyrus Kouandijo is a hard player to replace but Robinson has had no problem filling his shoes. Robinson vs. LSU’s Danielle Hunter will be a great matchup to watch this Saturday.
Nick Chubb/UGA/Running Back: Trying to replace Todd Gurley is nearly impossible. but Nick Chubb has done a wonderful job trying. UGA’s once strong depth of running backs has been depleted due to suspensions and injuries. The running game has completely fell onto the shoulders of Chubb and the pressure hasn’t fazed him. Since Gurley’s suspension, Chubb has rushed for 501 yards and five touchdowns in just three games. Gurley is only suspended for one more game and Chubb’s role will lessen. UGA will have a great second running back option with Chubb and will be able to keep Gurley fresh for the fourth quarter.
Myles Garrett/Texas A&M/Defensive End: Breaking a Jadaveon Clowney record is something that will grab the attention of your opponents, and that’s just what Garrett did when he broke the SEC freshman sack record. Garrett, just like four players on this list, were named the no.1 recruit at their position and he has lived up to his hype. The only knock on Garrett is that he has eight of his 10.5 sacks against Rice, UL-Monroe and Lamar. Garrett has been very effective in SEC play, which can’t be said about the rest of his defense. His play will eventually draw double-teams and will allow other Aggies to get into the backfield.
Leonard Fournette/LSU/Running Back: He may not win the Heisman and be an All-American like he predicted, but Fournette has been pivotal in the LSU rushing attack. His slow start had critics thinking the no.1 recruit in the nation might be a bust, but Fournette proved them wrong. His 657 yards rushing leads LSU and ranks him 10th in the SEC. Fournette has been an all-purpose player for the Tigers. He has 127 yards receiving and is the starting kick returner. LSU will need to Fournette to come up big against the Crimson Tide since the Tigers passing attack is not much to brag about.
These players have impressed in SEC and will eventually grab the attention of the country as they are likely to be playing on Sundays in a few years. It would not be shocking to see a few of these players in early Heisman talks for the 2015-16 season.
*Section Photo credit to Associated Press; Featured Photo (above) credit to Dale Zanine, USA Today Sports