The 2011 class of five-star recruits has already made a huge impact on college football.
-by Braden Gall (@AthlonBraden on twitter)
Last week was a slow week in the recruiting world. Washington State picked up a trio of commitments and then won back-to-back games for the first time since 2007. The Pitt Panthers landed Pittsburgh (Pa.) Penn Hills wide receiver Corey Jones, and LSU got a verbal pledge from Palm Beach Gardens (Fla.) Dwyer offensive tackle Patrick Miller.
Other than that it was a relatively quiet week on the recruiting trail. The “recruiting” spotlight shone brightest on Saturday when a litany of true freshmen Athlon Consensus 100 recruits made a name for themselves. The 2011 class has made, in very short order, a massive impact on the college football world.
View the complete 2011 Athlon Consensus 100 here
Here is a look at some of the biggest impact five-star (Top 35) AC100 freshmen of the first two weeks:
Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina (AC100 No. 1)
The world’s unanimous No. 1 prospect has proven in short order that he will be a force to be reckoned with on the field. His size — which will only get bigger and scarier — is painfully obvious to opposing offensive blockers as he has delivered some crushing hits to quarterbacks. He leads the Gamecocks with two sacks already and was a huge factor in the key victory over Georgia. Stats: 9 tackles, 2.5 TFL, 2 sacks, 1 FF
Malcolm Brown, RB, Texas (No. 4)
The No. 1 running back is leading the Horns in rushing and carries after two weeks and has helped reestablish a power running game for the Burnt Orange for the first time in nearly a decade. Stats: 30 att., 154 yards
DeAnthony Thomas, RB, Oregon (No. 5)
His big play ability has been on full display in short order. Thomas is averaging 8.6 yards per carry and 17.5 yards per reception for the Ducks. He will continue to be a dynamic threat in that high-powered Chip Kelly offense. Stats: 12 att., 103 yards, TD, 8 rec., 140 yards, 2 TD
Isaiah Crowell, RB, Georgia (No. 9)
The Dawgs may be 0-2, but Mark Richt has clearly found his new star on offense. Crowell has been battling through a slight rib injury and established himself as the focal point of this entire offense. Stats: 31 att., 178 yards, TD, 2 rec., 40 yards, TD
James Wilder, RB, Florida State (No. 12)
He failed to see the field in week one but led the team in rushing in week two. In fact, he currently leads the team in rushing after two blowout wins. We will learn more about Mr. Wilder this weekend against Oklahoma. Stats: 10 att., 76 yards
Tim Jernigan, DT, Florida State (No. 13)
He quickly established himself as a summer camp monster once practice began, and in some short work thus far he has proven he was worth the hype. Stats: 5 tackles, 2 TFL, 1 sack
Stephone Anthony, LB, Clemson (No. 16)
Fellow AC100 linebacker Tony Steward is seeing some time as well (4 total tackles) but Anthony has made the bigger splash. Stats: 6 tackles, 1 TLF, 1 sack
Jeff Driskel, QB, Florida (No. 17)
The No. 1 quarterback in the nation has seen some garbage time in two blowout wins. The dual-threat is the heir apparent to the Gator throne at quarterback. Stats: 5-7, 59 yards, INT, 4 att., 13 yards
Jarvis Landry, WR, LSU (No. 19)
Landry hasn’t made a huge splash yet, but he did catch a pass against LSU in week one and then made a big play in the return game in week two. Expect more things from Landry in 2011. Stats: 1 rec., 3 yards, 1 PR, 31 yards
Steve Edmond, LB, Texas (No. 23)
This tackler could see more of the field as the season goes on, but he improved from Week One to Week Two, posting three solo tackles and a forced fumble in the come-from-behind win over BYU. Stats: 4 tackles, 1 FF
Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson (No. 24)
The versatile, dynamic playmaker has made an instant impact in the dramatic switch in offense for Clemson. Watkins is leading the Tigers in receptions and yards thus far while also seeing some snaps in the backfield and returning kicks. Stats: 11 rec., 137 yards, 2 TD, 5 att., 35 yards, 5 KR, 110 yards
Nick O’Leary, TE, Florida State (No. 26)
The youngster hasn’t made a huge splash but has caught a pass in each of his first two games for the Noles. Stats: 2 rec., 16 yards
Savon Huggins, RB, Rutgers (No. 28)
Huggins struggled in Week Two against North Carolina – but so did every other player in that game for either team. He had a strong debut against NC Central, however, and expect his role to continue to grow as the year goes along. Stats: 17 att., 32 yards, 2 TD
Mike Bellamy, RB, Clemson (No. 29)
The speedy recruit is second on the team in rushing and has proven to be a very capable back-up for Andre Ellington. He is averaging 20 yards per carry and has been used on kick returns as well. Stats: 5 att., 100 yards, TD, 4 KR, 64 yards
Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State (No. 30)
Miller didn’t see any time in the second week against Toledo, but with the way Joe Bauserman played, signs point to Miller possibly working into the lineup more. He did see plenty of time in Week One however. Stats: 8-12, 130 yards, TD, 6 att., 30 yards
Trey DePriest, LB, Alabama (No. 32)
This is a player who is seeing time on the best defense in the nation – and is fifth in tackles for the Tide. The sky is the limit with the talent he can learn from around him, the coaching and his obvious raw ability. Stats: 12 tackles, 0.5 TFL
Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE, Washington (No. 33)
Made one of the biggest plays of the game in the 40-32 win over Hawaii this weekend, helping the Huskies to hold on by catching a 14-yard TD pass with 10 minutes to go in the game. He also had a big 47-yard catch as well. Stats: 4 rec., 101 yards, TD
This list doesn’t even include Notre Dame’s D-Line tandem of Ishaq Williams and Aaron Lynch, both of whom have seen the field some early on. It doesn’t include Oklahoma back Brandon Williams, who has reportedly been impressive in practice. Ha’Sean Clinton-Dix has also seen some playing time (2 tackles), but Bama’s secondary is so loaded it might be tough for him to make a big impact despite his future being very bright. Nebraska’s Aaron Green also got some carries in week one and will likely see more time as the season wears along.
And that is just the top 35 of the AC100. Just at the wideout positions, Marquise Lee of USC, Jamal Turner of Nebraska and Jaxon Shipley of Texas have been instant-impact AC100 talents in only two weeks.
There are those in this business who love to rip on the recruiting rankings. But it appears that the 2011 Athlon Consensus 100 was accurate.