The last few years I have put out daily blogs that listed all the True Freshmen at each position and given you an idea of how many actually played in their first year on campus. I will go thru each position this August and show you how many have played the last two years, so you know what to expect out of this year’s true frosh class.
Here is a look at the top 50 Defensive Linemen that were signed in 2020. Now 2020 was an odd year as with no spring practice, the true frosh DL’s could not benefit from being in early for the spring. With some conferences cancelling their seasons and then starting them up again that put them even further behind. Now in 2020 technically every DL redshirted as 2020 did not count against their eligibility so coaches were more likely to play them.
Here is a look at the Top 50 rated True Frosh Defensive Linemen from 2020 and how many played. There were other freshmen that played on the DL in 2020 but I am just going thru the top 50 DL and how many played as these were the freshmen that were most likely to play.
My original thought was that Defensive Line would be easier for a true freshman to start than the offensive line as especially for the DE’s you can tell them to go get the QB on pass plays and they can rely on their speed and athleticism. In 2020 the top two DL out of high school both signed with Clemson and both started on the Defensive Line in Myles Murphy and Bryan Brese and they combined for 16 starts, 84 tackles, 8 sacks and another 10.5 tfl and a depleted Clemson D-line did not miss a beat with their insertion into the lineup. No other DL had such an impact as the rest of the top 50 DL combined for just 13 starts and 14.5 sacks with Jaquelin Roy of LSU’s 2 sacks being the highest among the other 48 DL.
Now let’s look at the 2021 True Freshmen. I know that technically all of 2020’s true frosh were still true frosh, but I will just look at the ones that were in their first year on campus. We will just look at the 2021 signing class of DL’s and how much they played.
With everyone back from Covid and unlike in 2020 if a player played more than 4 games the player would lose a year of eligibility you would think that less true frosh DL’s would play. One advantage the 2021 true frosh had was being able to be on campus for spring if they enrolled early. The uninterrupted summer probably helped the DL’s gain strength in the weight room and be more capable of playing.
Here is a look at the Top 50 True Frosh DL’s from 2021 and how many played.
In 2020 the top 50 true frosh DL’s combined for 28 starts, 303 tkls, 22.5 sks and 29 tfl.
In 2021 the top 50 true frosh DL’s combined for 7 starts, 217 tkls, 26.5 sks and 21 tfl.
Zero true frosh DL in 2021 were full time starters with LSU’s Mason Smith (PS#8) leading with just 4 starts and his 4 sacks was second only to Ohio State’s Tyleik Williams who had 5 sacks. Twenty of the Top 50 Frosh DL did not record a tackle or sack during 2021 and surprisingly only 18 of them played enough to burn their redshirt.
Now let’s take a look at the top true freshmen DL’s for this year.
The first thing that jumps out to me is that Texas A&M has signed an amazing six of the top 9 DL out of high school this year and the Aggies have to replace all four starters from up front. That sounds even more promising than Clemson in 2020. I would expect some of them to start immediately and that should boost the overall stats of the group. Last year’s overall numbers for the Top 50 true freshmen DL’s surprised me and I would expect more DL’s from this group to play, start and record tackles and stats.
Remember I have a new daily blog each and every day this year so stop back to philsteele.com and check it out each day. Also did you know the digital magazine is updated all the way thru the start of the football season. We circle players that are out for the year, add in any new transfers and update position outlooks for each team. If you want to get the digital magazine along with your hard copy you can purchase it here.