Determining college football’s top impact freshmen can be done in multiple ways. Certainly, one could simply take a look at the recruiting rankings, although that would be a lazy way. First, you have to determine which players will have openings at their respective positions. Additionally, what coaching schemes fit a players skill set the best. Also, who are the under the radar recruits who can shine for certain programs? There are definitely many factors to examine. However, here is an accurate list of who this year’s top impact freshmen will be. Let’s dive into it!
Top impact freshmen in 2019
Treylon Burks & Trey Knox – Wide Receivers – Arkansas
We know a few things about 2019 Arkansas football. First, Chad Morris likes to throw the ball all over the yard. Secondly, transfer quarterback Ben Hicks arrives from SMU after throwing for more than 9,000 yards in his career. Thirdly, they have two tremendously talented wide receivers coming in, Treylon Burks and Trey Knox. Both are expected to make an immediate impact for the Hogs.
Treylon Burks proved during his career at Warren (AR) High School that he is certainly one of the best athletes in the country. He finished his career with 151 catches for 3,403 yards along with 43 touchdowns. Additionally, Burks ran for 936 yards on 114 carries last year. He also played on defense and made appearances at quarterback and returner. Look for the six foot three 225 pound Burks to become one of college football’s top impact freshmen.
Certainly, the six foot five inch Trey Knox is also going to bring an added level of excitement to Arkansas. Knox was an elite playmaker at Blackman High School in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. He is another phenomenal athlete who will contribute at a high level. Knox not only played receiver in high school but also running back as well as defense. Expect him to also become one of the top impact freshmen in 2019.
Boobie Curry – Wide Receiver – Arizona
Despite only playing in 17 career games while at St. Pius X High School in Houston, Boobie Curry was clearly dynamic. He broke out as a junior collecting 122 receptions for 1,576 yards along with 18 touchdowns. In fact, he averaged 12.9 yards per catch while averaging 131.2 yards per game. Curry played in only five games as a senior. Despite that, he managed to bring in 31 balls for 370 yards along with three touchdowns. One additional fact is that he set a Texas state record with 26 catches in a single game in 2017. Arizona has openings in the receiving corps and Khalil Tate will need a fast reliable go-to receiver. One of college football’s top impact freshmen this year certainly will be Boobie Curry.
Jayden Daniels – Quarterback – Arizona State
One could summarize the high school career of Jayden Daniels in one word, incredible. The six-foot-three-inch dual-threat quarterback comes to Arizona State out of Cajon High School in San Bernardino, California. Certainly, Daniels is an accurate and precise thrower with great touch along with the arm strength needed to make deep throws. He is an incredible athlete who is able to use his legs as a viable threat. As he continues to get stronger, that threat will become more dangerous as he develops in college.
Let’s get back to that incredible high school career. Daniels set a CIF-Southern Section record by throwing for 14,007 yards along with 170 touchdowns during his time at Cajon. Additionally, he ran for 3,645 yards as well as another whopping 41 touchdowns. Amazingly, Daniels produced back-to-back 6,000 plus all-purpose yardage seasons as a junior and senior. Yet another awesome fact is that he only threw nine interceptions during those two seasons. He did that while also completing 70 percent of his passes. Daniels is sure to be one of college football’s top impact freshmen in 2019.
Jadon Haselwood – Wide Receiver – Oklahoma
Next up on the list of college football’s top impact freshmen this season is Jadon Haselwood. Now, it obviously remains to be seen whether new quarterback Jalen Hurts can be as effective in the passing game as Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray were. However, we know Lincoln Riley will figure out how to get the ball in the hands of his playmakers. In addition to CeeDee Lamb, who is an established star, Haselwood will immediately become a go-to receiver. Haselwood comes in as the number one ranked wide receiver recruit in the nation. As a senior at Cedar Grove High School in Georgia, he grabbed 53 receptions for 1,032 yards and 11 touchdowns.
Daxton Hill – Safety – Michigan
The accolades piled up for Daxton Hill during his high school career, and they were well deserved. Hill is the younger brother of former Oklahoma State running back Justice Hill. He was the number one ranked player in Oklahoma last year. In fact, he won the Oklahoma Gatorade Player of the Year as a senior. Additionally, Hill was a five-star recruit while ranking number seven overall according to 247 Sports. As a senior at Booker T. Washington High School in Tulsa, Hill accumulated 93 tackles, including nine for loss along with a sack. In addition to that, he recorded two interceptions, nine pass breakups, three forced fumbles as well as one fumble recovery. Hill also played offense, scoring seven touchdowns as a receiver. In total Hill had 276 tackles along with 11 interceptions in his career. Daxton Hill clearly will be one of college football’s top impact freshmen this season.
Kearis Jackson – Wide Receiver – Georgia
Another of college football’s top impact freshmen this season is Kearis Jackson of Georgia. The redshirt freshman actually appeared in four games last season. With Jeremiah Holloman now dismissed, UGA has no proven receivers on the roster, despite a couple of transfers. That gives Jackson, who starred at Peach County High School in Georgia, the chance to prove himself. As a high school senior, Jackson caught 47 balls for 852 yards along with nine touchdowns. Jackson averaged an impressive 18.1 yards per catch for the season. During his junior season, Jackson recorded 52 receptions for 739 yards along with nine touchdowns. Additionally, he also rushed for four touchdowns. Look for the tremendously athletic Jackson to explode on the scene in 2019.
George Karlaftis – Defensive End – Purdue
Karlaftis is a local product from West Lafayette and a four-star recruit. He is yet another of college football’s top impact freshmen in 2019. Karlaftis was rated the seventh best player in the nation at his position for this recruiting cycle. Due to his amazing ability, he is expected to start immediately for the Boilermakers. The accolades and successes for Karlaftis certainly run deep. His team went 15-0 last season, winning the Indiana 3A state championship. Karlaftis was named the Indiana Class 3A Player of the Year after a huge senior season. In fact, he recorded 106 tackles, which included 56 for loss along with 17.5 sacks. He finished his prep career with 332 tackles, including 84 for loss. Additionally, Karlaftis was a back-to-back state champion in the shot put during his sophomore and junior years.
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Wanya Morris & Darnell Wright – Offensive Tackles – Tennessee
Certainly, the offensive line situation at Tennessee has left a lot to be desired in recent years. Five-star tackles Wanya Morris and Darnell Wright hope to change that as true freshmen in 2019. Morris recorded an astonishing 73 pancake blocks as a senior at Grayson High School in Georgia. Additionally, he was rated as the number two prospect in Georgia, no easy feat in that state. Meanwhile, Wright was the number one recruit in the state of West Virginia while ranking in the top ten overall. These guys both will be among college football’s top impact freshmen this season.
Wan’Dale Robinson – Running Back/Wide Receiver – Nebraska
Wan’Dale Robinson arrives in Lincoln after a highly decorated career at Western Hills High School in Frankfort, Kentucky. In fact, Robinson won several Kentucky awards including Mr. Football and Gatorade Player of the Year. During his career, he gained 8,582 total yards from scrimmage while scoring 118 offensive touchdowns. Robinson rushed for 6,795 yards along with 97 touchdowns. Additionally, he grabbed 102 passes for 1,787 yards and 21 touchdowns. Also, his 781 career points rank second all-time in Kentucky history. Not only that, but he also recorded 113 tackles, 12 tackles for loss and a sack on defense last season. Robinson had three interceptions, broke up five passes, forced six fumbles while also recovering one. Meanwhile, Robinson scored touchdowns in the return game, via interception, and by fumble recovery during the season. Clearly, he is set to be one of college football’s top impact freshman in 2019.
Spencer Sanders – Quarterback – Oklahoma State
Redshirt freshman Spencer Sanders is a clear inclusion on college football’s top impact freshmen list. The 2017-18 Gatorade State Player of the Year and Mr. Texas Football winner had a prolific high school career at Denton Ryan High School in Denton, Texas. In fact, Sanders started 52 games, throwing for 8,747 yards along with 106 touchdowns. He also ran for an additional 40 touchdowns. During his senior campaign, he tossed the rock for 3,845 yards and 54 touchdowns. Sanders also rushed for 1,380 yards and 16 touchdowns. As a junior, Sanders threw for 3,288 yards and 35 touchdowns while also running for 1,099 yards and 18 touchdowns. Clearly, he is a dual-threat quarterback who will fit perfectly into Mike Gundy’s system at Oklahoma State.
Derek Stingley Jr – Cornerback – LSU
Derek Stingley quickly turned heads in Baton Rouge upon arriving on campus in January. He has already emerged as a starter at cornerback as well as handling punt return duties. Stingley is no doubt a lockdown corner who was named as Louisiana’s Gatorade Player of the Year in 2018. Interestingly, he intercepted 14 passes over the final 20 games of his high school career at Dunham High School in Baton Rouge. Stingley made plays on both sides of the ball as evidenced by his 12 offensive touchdowns as a senior. Additionally, he earned Academic All-State honors. Stingley is set to be a major playmaker on defense for LSU as one of college football’s top impact freshmen.
Kayvon Thibodeaux – Defensive End – Oregon
Last seasons top-ranked recruit and USA Today High School Defensive Player of the Year was Kayvon Thibodeaux. Certainly, he is ready to be one of college football’s top impact freshmen in 2019. Thibodeaux played for Dorsey High School for two years. He then went on to play his junior and seniors seasons at Oaks Christian High School in California. During his two years at Oaks Christian, he collected 38 of his 54 career sacks. Additionally, Thibodeaux recorded a sack in 16 of his 27 games during those two seasons. As a senior, he forced five fumbles while accumulating 54 total tackles along with 18 sacks. His junior year was nuts as he posted 99 tackles, including 28 for loss, along with 20 sacks. At six foot five inches 240 pounds, the athletic Thibodeaux will be one of the most versatile defenders in college football.
Jordan Whittington – Running Back – Texas
Undoubtedly, people in Austin, Texas are excited about the possibilities and excitement that Jordan Whittington brings. At Cuero High School in Texas, Whittington earned all-state honors after lining up at wide receiver, running back, defensive back and returner. Incredibly, during his last three seasons, he posted over 5,400 all-purpose yards along with 60 total touchdowns. Side note, Whittington even went 12 for 12 passing with a touchdown. Despite missing the first four games last year, he had 60 tackles and five interceptions with three touchdowns on defense.
Whittington led Cuero to their first state title in 31 years last season. In doing so, he set a Texas high school championship game record with 334 yards rushing on just 28 carries. Whittington also tied the championship game record with five rushing touchdowns. Not only that, he had 43 receiving yards with one touchdown and eight tackles on defense in the game. Clearly, Whittington is set to become one of college football’s top impact freshmen for Tom Herman and the Longhorns.
Payton Wilson – Linebacker – NC State
Clearly, the six foot four inch 235 pound Payton Wilson is ready to break out as one of college football’s top impact freshmen. Wilson was sidelined last season by a knee injury in the summer, thus the redshirt status. He was highly impressive during the spring practices for NC State, giving the Wolfpack faithful a reason for excitement. At Orange High School in North Carolina, Wilson flourished with an outstanding career. Doing most of his damage during his junior and senior years, he accumulated 266 tackles during his career. Additionally, he racked up 70 tackles for loss, 24 sacks and picked off two passes. Outside of football, he won a state title in wrestling while also being named all-conference in lacrosse.
These are college football’s top impact freshmen for the 2019 season. Let us know your thoughts! Who do you think will make an impact right away?
Others considered: Will McDonald – Linebacker – Iowa State, Demarvin Leal – Defensive End – Texas A&M, Justin Shorter – Wide Receiver – Penn State, Akeem Dent – Safety – Florida State, K.J Henry – Defensive End – Clemson
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