If you missed the opening weekend of the 2016 college football season, here’s the most important factor that directly relates to high school athletes. The top 25 college football teams had a total of over 70 true freshmen either starting or playing significant time in their respective games. It was the highest number of first year players contributing more than two quarters of playing time for their team in college football history. The leaders of this special pack were Jalen Hurts of the Alabama Crimson Tide and Shane Buechele of the Texas Longhorns. Their games were the headliners of an awesome weekend of college football. Both freshman ended their days with major wins over teams that had top 25 positions in the AP polls. More than that, the college football world saw the importance of freshmen being ready to play early.
Often considered a no no, when young players are pushed into the starting lineup or giving significant playing time, the mental wear and tear of a full season comes into consideration. Take Jalen Hurts first series against the USC defense for example. His very first play was a fumble. Of course he recovered from this in a big way but you have to wonder if a weaker mentally prepared player were at the helm, would the winning recovery have been as efficient. Shane Buechele’s experience was just as successful in the end and a lot smoother in the beginning. He led his team to scoring drives in his first couple of series while only making one major mistake which was an interception during second half play.
One of the more unexpected moves by a coach to play a young player came when head coach Mark Richt of the Miami Hurricanes started three freshmen at linebacker. Needless to say this was the first time in school history that this was done and by the end of a marginal defeat of FAMU, “the young and the wreckless”, as they are so eloquently called, totaled 25 tackles between the group. Taking a look at where each of those 70 players ranked in their senior season of high school football shows various scores in terms of stars. While there is daily ridicule over high school players getting rated and/or ranked with an extra dose of disdain going to the “pundits” who rank them, one common theme is present amongst this elite pack. They all were ready to perform in their first year and this shows that some players come physically and mentally ready to campus with goals of more than a scholarship to a division one university.
The only question that remains is what players in the current class of high school seniors may have the chance and readiness to contribute early? Right off the top, the film on running backs Najee Harris and Malik Davis makes him a prime candidate as a running back on the division one level. It would be a huge surprise not to see Dylan Moses and Anthony Hines on the field in their first year. The position of quarterback is always a difficult pick in terms of determining who will play but Dylan McCaffery of Valor Christian may have the most upside when it comes to early action. But these are all a little more than fictitious facts because team need and injury all comes into play. The only thing but most important fact about week one of college football ’16 is that incoming freshmen had better be ready to play when stepping on campus. Stay tuned … http://www.besquadsport.com