BMOC: 10 Freshmen College Football Players Who Are Stunting All Over the Game

  • Leonard Fournette (LSU)

    When you’re the big man on campus at a place that is as deep rooted in football tradition as Louisiana State University, you better learn to carry yourself with class both on and off the field. It’s something Leonard Fournette, the Tigers’ prized 5-star recruit at running back, has learned the hard way in his freshman year at LSU. After scoring his first career touchdown in a Week 2 game against Sam Houston State, Fournette struck a Heisman pose, seemingly announcing to the college football world that he had arrived, though it didn’t sit too well with head coach Les Miles, who gave the freshman phenom an ear full on the sidelines. Sure, he probably jumped the gun a bit with that premature celebration, considering he’s not even the best player on his own team yet, but you can’t be mad at the guy for showing some confidence.

    A homegrown talent that was incredibly impressive in Louisiana’s local scene, Fournette has been considered a superstar running back since before he even entered high school. He was the first player in Louisiana history to be named the state’s Gatorade Player of the Year twice, rushing for 7,619 yards and 88 touchdowns during his career. Now at LSU, the 6-0, 224-pound back has gotten his college campaign off to a solid start as well, rushing for 200 yards on 38 carries in four games. He’s reached the end zone twice already. There’s no doubting Fournette’s potential. If he stays healthy, he may very well be on his way to a Heisman Trophy somewhere down the line.

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  • Ricky Seals-Jones
    Ricky Seals-Jones (Texas A&M)

    One of the most heavily recruited high school players in the entire nation, Ricky Seals-Jones committed to Texas A&M back in 2012. After redshirting last season, the standout wide receiver is now finally getting a chance to show everyone what he’s capable of. As the starting wideout for the Aggies, Seals-Jones has reeled in 16 catches for 192 yards and three touchdowns. The lanky 6-5 phenom has been an integral part of A&M’s strong 4-0 start to the season, which has them ranked sixth in the nation. And with the heart of the team’s tough SEC conference schedule coming up, in which they face five opponents who are currently ranked in the Top 25, Seals-Jones will be relied upon heavily down in College Station. Something tells us that he’ll continue to answer the call.

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  • Myles Garrett
    Myles Garrett (Texas A&M)

    After finishing next to last in the SEC in yards per play allowed last season, the Aggies realized their need to upgrade at the defensive end position. So they went out and recruited Myles Garrett, the nation’s top prospect at the position in 2013.

    Just four games into his freshman campaign, the 6-5, 255-pound beast of a defensive end has already begun to live up to the hype. Garrett has recorded 5.5 sacks in his first four college games, showing off his explosive ability to rush the passer. What makes him so dangerous for opposing quarterbacks is that he has the speed to go along with his refined pass-rush moves. If he keeps up the blistering pace, he’ll crush Jadeveon Clowney’s SEC record of most sacks (eight) by a freshman. Just stop and think about that for a second.

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  • Cameron Robinson (Alabama)

    When you’re 6-7 and 335 pounds, you’re the designated big man on campus whether you like it or not. In the case of Alabama’s freshman offensive tackle Cameron Robinson, he has the skills to back up that impressive size. The top lineman recruit in the country, Robinson was so eager to start playing for the Crimson Tide that he graduated from high school early just to enroll at ‘Bama in the spring.

    As for football, it didn’t take long for the true freshman to find his way into the starting lineup. So far he’s answered the call of the critics, doing a solid job of protection in both the passing and the ground game. Robinson has the potential to become the anchor of the offensive line down in Tuscaloosa. This guy has first-round draft pick written all over him.

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  • Samaje Perine (Oklahoma)

    If we didn’t know any better, we’d think that University of Oklahoma running back Samaje Perine was a seasoned veteran the way he runs the football with such emphasis. In actuality, however, he’s a true freshman who’s turning critics into believers one carry at a time. With starting Sooners running back Keith Ford out with an injury, a young Perine has taken advantage of the opportunity by putting up 419 rushing yards on 66 carries just four games into his college career. Perhaps what’s even more impressive is that he’s already found the end zone a total of five times. Sure, four of those scores came against the same team (West Virginia), a game in which he scorched the Mountaineers defense for 242 rushing yards. But something tells us the “BMOC” is just getting warmed up down in Norman.

    Perine’s tough, grind-it-out running style has already drawn comparisons to former OU star running back Earl Campbell, who won the Heisman Trophy for the Sooners in 1978. He may not be the same caliber player as Campbell just yet, but the early indications are that this guy is the real deal.

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  • Brandon Harris (LSU)

    If LSU’s recent game against Mississippi State is any indication, then we may be on the verge of a new era down in Baton Rouge. In a game in which LSU got dominated for the first three quarters and found itself down 31-10 heading into the final quarter, coach Les Miles went to his bench in hopes of igniting a spark in the offense.

    Backup freshman quarterback Brandon Harris entered the game and threw a pair of late touchdowns to rally his team back into the game. And though he threw a pick as time expired, giving Mississippi State the win, the highly recruited dual-threat gunslinger out of Bossier City, Louisiana, showed glimpses of brilliance as he put the team on his shoulders and led the comeback charge. So much so that it’s safe to say that we officially have a quarterback controversy brewing at LSU.

    Expect starter Anthony Jennings to hold onto that starting position for just a bit longer. It’s only a matter of time before Harris takes the reins and shows the Tiger faithful who’s really the big man on campus. Though with fellow LSU freshman phenom Leonard Fournette also on this list, Harris may have some competition for that “BMOC” title.

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  • Isaiah Ford (Virginia Tech)

    In Isaiah Ford and Cam Phillips, Virginia Tech doesn’t just have one true freshman receiver in the starting lineup, but two first-year players that have made an immediate impact on the Hokies offense. Phillips, a 6-1 prospect out of Maryland, is no slouch, having reeled in 15 catches for 202 yards and a touchdown. But early on in the season, it’s Ford who has proven to be the go-to target for Virginia Tech quarterback Michael Brewer.

    While the four-star prospect wasn’t highly recruited coming out of Jacksonville, Florida, he is seemingly on a mission to prove to all the schools that passed on him the mistake that they made. Ford’s athleticism and reliable hands have drawn comparisons to former Virginia Tech star wideout Antonio Freeman, who was definitely the big man on the Blacksburg campus during his college days. The future looks bright for Ford. If he keeps at it, he’ll follow in Freeman’s footsteps all the way to the NFL.

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  • Anu Solomon (Arizona)

    University of Arizona went into spring training with uncertainty at the quarterback position, but four games into the season and it looks like the Wildcats have found their man. We know what you’re probably thinking: Who in the world is Anu Solomon? Well we shared the same feelings, that is, until we saw Arizona’s freshman QB throw a 45-yard Hail Mary touchdown to beat Cal in memorable fashion as time expired.

    A four-star prospect out of Las Vegas, Nevada, Solomon flew somewhat under the radar outside the PAC-12. After receiving only a handful of scholarship offers, the dual-threat quarterback committed to head coach Rich Rodriguez and the Arizona Wildcats. In the first four games of the season, Solomon threw for an astounding 1,454 yards and 13 touchdowns. He’s thrown for 400-plus in two games already, and has just three interceptions to his name. The result is a 4-0 start for the Wildcats, and a new “BMOC” down in Tucson.

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  • Jarvion Franklin (Western Michigan)

    There’s obviously a big disparity between a big college football program like Alabama and a smaller school like Western Michigan. But regardless of where you play, if you score nine touchdowns in the first three games of your collegiate careers, people are going to take notice.

    That’s precisely the position Western Michigan’s freshman running back Jarvion Franklin finds himself in after averaging a mind-boggling three touchdowns in the first three games of the Broncos season. Saying that he’s the go-to man down in Kalamazoo would be an understatement. A mere two-star recruit out of Tinsley Park, Illinois, Frankin has carried the ball 82 times and has racked up 542 yards, with an average of 6.6 yards per carry. Just goes to show you that being the big man on campus isn’t something that’s handed to you. Rather, you have to go out and work for it. Frankin has done just that.

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  • KD Cannon (Baylor)

    All it took was the first three games of the season to realize why Baylor receiver K.D. Cannon was recruited by basically every major college football program in the nation. A four-star recruit out of Mount Pleasant, Texas, the freshman wideout has been a large part of Baylor’s early success. Although his number of receptions (14) won’t blow you away, the total yards (471) and average yards per catch (33.6) surely will. Throw five touchdowns on top of that and the Bears have one heck of a playmaker on their hands. With the team currently ranked No. 3 in the nation, Cannon is slated to get a lot of attention if Baylor continues its winning ways. Surely he’s already a celebrity on campus.

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  • Leonard Fournette
  • Ricky Seals-Jones
  • Myles Garrett
  • Cameron Robinson
  • Samaje Perine
  • Brandon Harris
  • Isaiah Ford
  • Anu Solomon
  • K.D. Cannon

Freshman year is a time for messy dorms, early morning classes, and all the other nuances associated with making that intimidating high school-to-college transition. When it comes to the world of college football, though, apparently it’s also the time for winning Heisman Trophies. You see, the last two Heisman winners have been freshmen. Sure they were both redshirt freshmen, but it should still be a good sign for incoming prospects that they’ll make an impact on their team (and their school as a whole) as soon as they step on campus.

With so much attention paid to the recruiting process these days, impact freshmen have become a fundamental part of college football. Think about Everett Golson at Notre Dame and Johnny Manziel at Texas A&M in 2012. Each year, it seems like the national recruiting pool gets stronger and stronger, and 2013 was no different. There were hundreds of solid prospects that signed on to play at D-I programs across the country. This year, many of them are getting a chance to show off their respective skills on a big stage, in hopes of one day making it the biggest stage, the NFL. With the season underway, and NFL scouts salivating over some of the older prospects in the college game, join us as we take a look at some of the nastiest freshmen in college football — not just players that were the top recruits in their class, but select freshmen that have made an immediate impact on their teams.

Today, we’re talking about the BMOC: 10 Freshmen College Football Players Who Are Stunting All Over the Game.

Follow Gurvinder on Twitter at @gurvindersg

image via Texas A&M Athletics