True Freshman All-America Team staff ESPN logo
Friday, April 3, 2015

It seems like every year, true freshmen are having a greater impact on the game. This season continued that trend. There were so many good first-year running backs that great players such as Nick Chubb and Dalvin Cook couldn't find their way to this team. Meanwhile, a trio of SEC pass-rushers had immediate influence, with one even breaking Jadeveon Clowney's freshman sack record. Expect to hear a lot more from this group over the next few years.


QB: Brad Kaaya, Miami

This past summer was a disaster at quarterback for Miami, which lost starter Ryan Williams to injury and prospect Kevin Olsen to off-the-field issues, but Kaaya provided a resounding solution. After some early struggles on the road in his first start, Kaaya was exceptional and led the ACC in touchdowns (25), yards per attempt (8.6) and passer rating (148.2) while proving to be one of the best deep-ball threats in the country.

RB: Royce Freeman, Oregon

Freeman started the season by beating both junior Byron Marshall and sophomore Thomas Tyner for the starting running back spot at Oregon. He finished the regular season by leading the Pac-12 in rushing touchdowns (16) and racking up 1,299 rushing yards and became the first Oregon freshman to have a 1,000 rushing yard season.

RB: Samaje Perine, Oklahoma

A handful to bring down for any defender, Perine had three games with 200 rushing yards or more, including an FBS-record 427 yards against Kansas. He finished the season with 1,579 rushing yards and 21 touchdowns.

WR: KD Cannon, Baylor

The Bears speedster rode the momentum of a stellar nonconference showing to finish with 50 receptions, 833 yards and six touchdowns. He had 124 receiving yards and a touchdown in Baylor's epic 61-58 comeback over TCU.

WR: Artavis Scott, Clemson

If offense was a concern this season for Clemson, there should be some optimism for the future. While freshman QB Deshaun Watson mixed stellar results with injury concerns, Scott finished fifth in the conference in receiving yards (851) and fourth in touchdowns (seven), highlighted by his seven-catch, 185-yard, two-TD performance in a win over South Carolina.

WR: Mike Dudek, Illinois

He was Illinois' best offensive player down the stretch and made several acrobatic catches. Dudek, who had been recruited lightly, finished the regular season with 69 catches for 965 yards and six TDs.

OL: Cam Robinson, Alabama

Everyone expected big things from Robinson as a recruit, but starting every game as a freshman left tackle? At Alabama? That's impressive, and Robinson only figures to become a more dominant performer as he gains experience.

OL: Mason Cole, Michigan

He became the first true freshman in Michigan history to start the season at left tackle, and he stayed there through all 12 games. The Wolverines had issues on their offensive line, but Cole showed a ton of promise and poise.

OL: Jashon Robertson, Tennessee

The Vols' offensive line struggled this season, which isn't surprising, considering it had to replace all five starters. But Robertson, a right guard, started all 12 games for a group -- and team -- that made a bowl game and sees brighter days ahead.

OL: Tejan Koroma, BYU

Koroma was the only true freshman in FBS to start every game at center, and he helped anchor a line that paved the way for the Cougars to rush for 191.1 yards per game.

OL: Toa Lobendahn, USC

The 6-foot-3, 280-pound, Cerritos, California, native was enrolled in the spring, which allowed him to start all 12 games for the Trojans. He was an integral part in the success of first-team All-Pac-12 running back Buck Allen.


DL: Myles Garrett, Texas A&M

It didn't take long for Garrett to develop into one of the SEC's top pass-rushers. The Aggies' young star set a record for SEC freshmen with 11 sacks, and he notched 12.5 tackles for loss.

DL: Derek Barnett, Tennessee

Garrett got more attention, but Barnett's season was just as good. The UT freshman is fourth nationally, with 20.5 tackles for loss, and his 10 sacks were fourth in the SEC (tied for 16th nationally).

DL: Marquis Haynes, Ole Miss

On a defense loaded with big-name talent, Haynes found his own niche. The freshman pass-rusher leads the team with 7.5 sacks and is second with eight tackles for loss on one of the SEC's best defenses.

DL: KeShun Freeman, Georgia Tech

Georgia Tech lost the bulk of its defensive front from a year ago, which meant coach Paul Johnson had to turn to some young linemen to pick up the slack. Freeman led the Yellow Jackets with nine tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks, and he topped all Tech defensive linemen with 51 tackles.

LB: Raekwon McMillan, Ohio State

Playing mostly in a reserve role, McMillan had an immediate impact on the Buckeyes. The former blue-chip recruit recorded 49 tackles, 2.5 sacks and an interception.

LB: Lorenzo Carter, Georgia

One of Georgia's most important 2014 signees, Carter made a big splash in his first career start. In the Bulldogs' win over Kentucky, he recorded 2.5 sacks, 3.5 tackles for loss and nine overall stops. He went on to start the final four games and tied for seventh on the team with 33 tackles.

LB: Ja'Whaun Bentley, Purdue

He was the Boilermakers' second-leading tackler on the season with 76 stops and added an interception and three fumble recoveries.

DB: Dravon Henry, West Virginia

Thrown right into the fire as a true freshman starter since the season opener against Alabama, Henry didn't disappoint with 37 tackles, two interceptions and one tackle for loss while starting every game.

DB: Jamal Adams, LSU

Adams first gained national attention with comical, soccer-style flops against Florida and Ole Miss, but the kid also has game. He played more and more late in the season, and it looks like he'll become LSU's next great safety.

DB: Quin Blanding, Virginia

Of the top 100 tacklers in the country this season, Blanding was one of just two freshmen. A five-star recruit, Blanding quickly lived up to his billing. He won a starting job during fall camp and became the first UVa freshman to start at safety since 1976. His 123 tackles ranked second in the ACC and 12th nationally.

DB: Adoree' Jackson, USC

Jackson was named the Pac-12 Defensive Freshman of the Year after finishing the regular season with 42 tackles. He broke up nine passes, forced a fumble and also played some receiver and returned kicks.