“Freshman, y’all boys keep your heads up. Everybody had their own path to success when it comes to the field. You just do what you can do to make the best one for yourself don’t worry about nobody else’s route.” – Marvin Wilson
I come from a different era. I fully expected to redshirt my freshman year, 2002, but ended up traveling every game and playing against Miami in my first game. Most freshman did during that time and the mindset was simply work hard and wait your turn or fight to beat the other man out.
Don’t get me wrong, it was ultra-competitive, but there was no shame in limited minutes at a big program in years one and two.
Things are different today. Not bad, just different.
These younger players are more developed physically and probably have a better understanding of the game than we did; they’ve also got more pressure from fans, family and internally that they can try to subvert the process by thinking they must play before their ready.
Sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn’t.
This 2018 class is no different. It’s full of difference makers up and down, but the reality is that not all will make a significant impacts this season. There are a few who I believe FSU fans will hear big things from this year and years to come. The ones I feel are most ready to play right now based on camp reports are:
RB Anthony Grant
WR Treshaun Harrison
WR Keyshawn Helton
All these players have been explosive and shown the ability to be able to contribute in the system.
All the incoming skill players are blessed to not have to carry the mantle of being “The Man” day one as you’ve got a loaded backfield along with playmakers in Tamorrion Terry, Nyqwan Murray, D.J. Matthews and reports that Keith Gavin has come along nicely.
That being said, one cannot discount what FSU wide recievers’ coach David Kelly has said about his young guys. Especially Helton, who has given some of the better DBs fits during camp.
DT Robert Cooper
DB Asante Samuel
DB Jaiden Woodbey
Woodbey is a no brainer. I almost forgot to add him to the list as he has a feel of a veteran, one of the benefits of being an early enrollee. He’s very mature for a young adult both in how he plays and carries himself.
Cooper I originally thought would need a redshirt because of his weight, but then looking at him move, along with how he’s built, I’ve come to the conclusion he’s just a big boy. He needs to drop some pounds, but I thought about guys I played with like Jeff Womble and played against like Vince Wilfork then thought if he can’t be moved and he can explode he could be trouble. He plays low and is strong.
Asante is small and he could be like Stanford Samuels III as he plays bigger than expected.
I would say LB Amari Gainor, but his injury might have him limited and unless the position is just really tanking there is no need to rush him back. I’m still riding the Abusment Park train with Jordan Young; reports are just not seeing him catch on like the other young receivers.
What will be interesting is how Willie Taggart will use the new NCAA rule that allows teams to play someone in four games and not break their redshirt. You’d hope that some games they’d be able to work guys in.
What I liked that Taggart stressed was that he wasn’t going to play guys just to play them. The game is fast at this level and not as easy to adjust as folks who grew up playing the video game believe. Other environmental factors also require adjustments and can affect a young player.
If these young men embrace the process, this could be a foundational class for the Taggart era. He’s got to find a way to win with the talent already here while incorporating those who he recruited in order to mold the culture that he wants. Either way, fans should embrace for a youth movement at FSU.
Article Originally Appeared on Gridiron Now: http://gridironnow.com/which-fsu-true-freshmen-are-most-likely-to-see-field-early/