Freshmen have often shaped the overarching narrative of the college football season over the last decade. We still might not have a true freshman Heisman winner, but Johnny Manziel and Jameis Winston broke through in the first half of the 2010s during their redshirt seasons. The last few years, first-year players like Jalen Hurts, Jake Fromm and Trevor Lawrence have become major storylines during their debut campaigns.
All of those players were quickly among the best players in the sport.
Coming off 247Sports’ ranking of the top 50 players in college football last week, we’re taking a moment to look forward and project. Specifically, 247Sports will highlight some of the 2020 freshmen (redshirt or true) who could break out as top 50 players projecting forward to 2021.
For context, eight players ended up on the 2020 top 50 following their freshman season: No. 5 Derek Stingley, No. 8 Gregory Rousseau, No. 11 Sam Howell, No. 24 Kayvon Thibodeaux, No. 25 Kyle Hamilton, No. 32 George Karlaftis, No. 37 Kedon Slovis and No. 39 Jayden Daniels.
There will surely be similar freshmen standouts this coming season. These are some of the candidates who could easily emerge as household names.