I’ve always felt that people who rank or put out lists should review their work periodically to see how accurate they were and to look at ways to improve their process. One year after putting out a list of the Top 20 incoming freshmen, here is a freshmen year review of that Top 20. This edition covers 11-20. Part 1 covered 1-10.
#11 Dominick Blaylock – WR – Georgia
Original Rank: 11
Current Rank: 22
Blaylock was ranked higher than his teammate coming out of high school, and worked his way into some very important roles within the offense and special teams. However, after the season many would rank George Pickens higher now. Blaylock suffering a torn ACL in the SEC championship game which could put a damper on his start to the 2020 season. While my original rank of 11 was a bit high for how his 2019 season turned out, I still think he’s a top 30 player and should be somebody to watch once he comes back from the injury.
#12 Frank Ladson Jr. – WR – Clemson
Original Rank: 12
Current Rank: 27
Highly recruited and highly ranked. Impressive skills and speed. Overshadowed by fellow freshmen teammate Joseph Ngata. Upperclassmen wide receivers and running backs found themselves catching the majority of passes from Clemson QBs but the two freshmen earned playing time even if it was minimal. Returning players are hard to push out of the starting lineup, so 2020 might not bode well for a breakout. However, with a talented quarterback waiting in the shadow of Trevor Lawrence, the young wide receivers should see their stats grow massively in 2021 and beyond. Ladson is a great long term asset to keep an eye on.
#13 Jayden Daniels – QB – ASU
Original Rank: 13
Current Rank: 2
Behind Sam Howell and Bo Nix, Daniels is in in the discussion for the 2020 #1 freshmen player to pick up. Daniels has the gunslinger mentality along with the ability to run away from a collapsing pocket. He is an exciting player to watch. Daniels was ASU’s second leading rusher after Eno Benjamin, who’s heading to the NFL, so even though Daniels is thin enough to be invisible when he turns sideways, he was able to amass 355 rushing yards for the season. While watching the 2020 UA All-American game, it was obvious players were excited to commit to ASU, and I think Daniels was a big reason why. With an added 20 pounds, Daniels will start to look like a prime NFL prospect.
#14 Hudson Henry – TE – Arkansas
Original Rank: 14
Current Rank: 28
Henry is billed as a good blocker with the ability to stand in the slot and catch passes. A freshman will make mistakes and we can see that on a couple of his plays, but I also see a player who can line up and make a good catch in traffic. Henry redshirted so he only played 3 games, but tight ends are well known to take time to develop. Arkansas has a couple other stud freshmen in the roster who are covered below, but will need a good coach to come in and help the 2-10 team from 2019. Five quarterbacks threw more than 10 passes in 2019, so if the team can be settled, the talent in the skill positions should show up in 2020.
#15 George Pickens – WR – Georgia
Original Rank: 15
Current Rank: 6
Being a SEC teams leading receiver as a freshman speaks volumes to the talent of George Pickens. Looking back he is worth a top-5 ranking and has tons of people viewing him being a NFL prospect. Devy players have him on their radar and are picking him as early as the 3rd round in Superflex rookie / devy drafts. Jake Fromm leaving for the NFL does mean there is a question mark at the quarterback position, but transfer Jamie Newman looks to be the next man up.
#16 Kyle Ford – WR – USC:
Original Rank: 16
Current Rank: 34
The true freshman suffered a torn ACL in September. He was highly ranked coming into the college game, but there’s no video to go off of. Waiting for 2020 to get a view of the player on the field.
#17 Jeremiah Payton – WR – Miami:
Original Rank: 17
Current Rank: 30
Payton saw action in four games in his first season and had one catch of 23 yards. Redshirted but is likely to have D’Eriq King throwing passes next year. Someone to keep an eye on, but no real way to decide if the ranking was too high until he gets some playing time in 2020.
#18 Keon Zipperer – TE – Florida
Original Rank: 18
Current Rank: 31
Tight Ends have historically taken a long time to develop into an asset for teams. Keon is pretty light for a blocker, but he does show some good talent in the slot position for Florida. Florida was pushing for the CFP so a freshman getting playing time means they think a lot of him. Probably correctly ranked but it will be interesting to see how he is used in 2020.
#19 Baylor Cupp – TE – Texas A&M:
Original Rank: 19
Current Rank: 33
Cupp suffered a broken left ankle and was redshirted. Talent, size, and teams willingness to throw to the tight end position means keep an eye out for 2020.
#20 Noah Cain – RB – Penn State
Original Rank: 20
Current Rank: 11
Cain was a personal pick that I moved up compared to ESPN. The quarterbacks listed above him haven’t seen the field yet, so I feel good about that. Cain looked to be the lead back for Penn State but suffered an injury and Journey Brown took over the lead role. Playing ten games for a 11-2 B1G team speaks to his talent. Cain would be a top 10 player if re-ranked and 2020 should be a breakout season for him if he says healthy.