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 Offensive Linemen that were signed in 2020. Now 2020 was an odd year as with no spring practice, the true frosh OL’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 OL 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 OL from 2020 and how many played. There were other freshmen that played on the OL in 2020 but I am just going thru the top 50 OL and how many played as these were the freshmen that were most likely to play.
My original thought was that Offensive Line would be the toughest position for a true freshman to start as they are 18 or 19 years old and trying to learn blocking schemes while taking on much older defensive linemen who are stronger and more developed. Defenses can be very confusing and you must keep your QB healthy. I have noticed that some true frosh have come in and started in year one but I was not really sure of how many or what percentage. In 2020 many teams did not play a full schedule, so Peter Skoronski led with 9 starts but Northwestern only played 9 games so that was a full season. No other Top 50 OL started all his team’s games. Only 8 of the top 50 OL started a game but 33 of the top 50 OL did get into at least one game.
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 OL’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 OL’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 OL’s gain strength in the weight room and be more capable of playing.
Here is a look at the Top 50 True Frosh OL’s from 2021 and how many played.
In 2020 the top 50 true frosh OL’s combined for 23 starts and 142 games played.
In 2021 the top 50 true frosh OL’s combined for 58 starts and 192 games played.
Two true frosh started on the O-line for basically the entire season for Texas A&M in Bryce Foster (12 starts) and Reuben Fatheree (9 sts). This time nine of the top 50 true frosh OL earned starts. There was 15 OL that played more than 4 games and burned their redshirt so 70% of the top 50 True Frosh OL redshirted in 2021. Five started eight or more games including Marcus Tate who was the first true frosh to start at Clemson since 1980 and he logged 627 snaps.
Now let’s take a look at the top true freshmen OL’s for this year.
In the magazine I have already projected PS#1 Zach Rice as the starter for North Carolina and PS#4 Kiyaunta Goodson as a starter for Kentucky. I just went thru all 131 teams and the other true frosh OL that I have projected as starters this year in the magazine are PS#7 Will Campbell and LSU, PS#52 Cole Hutson of Texas, PS#134 Jonah Savaiinaea of Arizona and PS#308 Brady Wayburn of Connecticut. In this era of the transfer portal a coach is more likely to fill a hole on the offensive line with a transfer than a true freshman but I think the numbers will be similar to last year for the overall participation. Naturally other freshmen will work their way into the lineup as the season progresses due to development, injuries and production. 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.