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. After one year of putting out a list of the top 20 incoming freshmen, here is a freshmen year review of that top 20. This article looks at last years 1-10. Part 2 covers last years 11-20.
Jadon Haselwood – WR – Oklahoma
Original Rank: 1
Current Rank: 15
Jadon was ranked #1 and worked his way into a playing role even as a freshmen. Earned playing time against LSU in a college playoff game and was a valuable asset. Shows strength to fight for first downs and gets separation during his route. OU has star QB Spencer Rattler looking to take over after sitting behind Jalen Hurts and with CeeDee moving on to the NFL, targets should be plentiful. A slow introduction should blossom into a huge year, I think the #1 ranking is fair and will continue to look good.
John Emery Jr. – RB – LSU
Original Rank: 2
Current Rank: 25
Another player that was slowly introduced to the field and worked his way into playing time. Clyde Edwards-Helaire was the main dog in the backfield and Tyrion Davis-Price has slotted into the #2 position as backup. Rushed for a TD during the LSU vs. OU playoff game. Likely will need to fight to move into a starting spot and might have been ranked a bit high based off of college coach usage.
Trey Sanders – RB – Alabama
Original Rank: 3
Current Rank: 26
Missed his freshman campaign with a season-ending injury … received a medical redshirt. This ranking cannot be reviewed until Trey gets on the field. A hold for now, with Najee returning to school, might be another year until we see Trey on the field.
Garrett Wilson – WR – Oklahoma State
Original Rank: 4
Current Rank: 16
I had concerns about Garrett coming into school, but after a year it is obvious how great of a route runner he is. The two plays in the video clip show speed and tactical awareness to get open and free. Smooth runner and change of direction seems to lull the secondary into complacency and then BAM another reception. #4 ranking is probably correct, with some of the players that were unranked moving past. Still a top-20 player and he will likely have another great year with Justin Fields throwing the ball.
Jerrion Ealy – RB – Mississippi
Original Rank: 5
Current Rank: 8
Jerrion will be the top returning running back for the 2020 season, but isn’t the top returning rusher. John Rhys Plumlee ran for more yards as a fellow freshmen, but is the presumptive starting QB for 2020. With Spring ball cancelled, I can’t tell how the QB situation is going to shake out but I can say that Jerrion is ranked where he should be. One thing to keep an eye on, will Jerrion find himself in the Kyler Murray situation if baseball comes calling.
Bru Mccoy – WR – USC
Original Rank: 6
Current Rank: 32
Battling a mysterious illness since the summer, will not make his collegiate debut until 2020. Probably ranked too high and dealt with some drama between UT and USC. Everything might clear up once he hits the field, spring ball would have been a great way to see if he was ranked properly.
Graham Mertz – QB – Wisconsin
Original Rank: 7
Current Rank: 29
Graham was a personal favorite by falling into a favorable position and likely to become a starter. Jack Coan did what all coaches hope players do and was much improved from 2018 and held onto the starting position. Graham rarely played and kept his redshirt for the season. Graham is likely #2 for this year. As Jonathan Taylor ran wild in 2019 it made sense to have a veteran under center, but with JT moving onto the NFL, maybe some youth will get more experience while the team finds their next workhorse RB. I think the ranking will hold up once Graham gets playing time, but that’s not likely until 2021. Keep an eye out for the future, but the ranking is high for now.
Bo Nix – QB – Auburn
Original Rank: 8
Current Rank: 3
If you play college fantasy football, Bo would be considered the #1 freshmen. Starting from day 1 and making his mark by beating #11 Oregon as his first game, he showed he is the BMOC. Helped by top WR Seth Williams and throwing for 16 TDs means he got the job done. At 6’2” he has the size while also being the #2 rusher for the team means he has the speed to be a NFL prospect in the near future. Beating #5 Alabama means he might have a statue on campus as a sophomore, and he will be on fantasy players radars going forward.
Spencer Rattler – QB – Oklahoma
Original Rank: 9
Current Rank: 9
Jalen Hurts transfer pushed Spencer out of a presumptive starting position. The 2019 Spring game showed Tanner Mordecai as #2 and he kept that spot for the year. Spring ball would have shown who the coaches believe is the leader for 2020, but many believe that Spencer has taken the leap and will be the starter. I have my reservations, I feel this ranking is accurate, but watch out for the fall because if Spencer is the starter, he is likely to run-and-gun to a huge amount of fantasy points.
Theo Wease Jr. – WR – Oklahoma
Original Rank: 10
Current Rank: 19
Theo earned playing time during the playoff against LSU and played in 13 games as a freshman. Was used sparingly but showed he was a valuable target for the offense. #10 was a little high compared to others, but now that CeeDee is gone, and OU is likely to see more throwing from their QB, I expect him to rise up to his ranking as a sophomore. It seems that the freshman wide receivers are taking time to earn playing time while running backs jump into the fire. The QB’s that take over teams as freshmen obviously will be worth more than wide receivers who are slow-burning on the bench. Hindsight makes them worth higher rankings, but that’s coming up in the next part of the article.