The Roundtable continues this week. Looking ahead to the fall, one of the fun offseason questions is to think about which true freshmen can make an early impact on their new teams. Thus, this week’s question is: Which true freshman is most likely to make an impact on your team this season?
Zach: For Boise State this is easy. Dishawn Misa is a four-star recruit at a major position of need. The young linebacker has the size and speed to come in and make an immediate impact. Ashton Jeanty is a close second at running back. Jeanty was here for spring ball and looked like he was already slotted as the number two running back.
Jeremy: This is a tough question for Hawaii, mainly because new head coach Timmy Chang is attempting to patch up the departures from this past winter with transfer portal additions. Typically, you’d need a carrot (playing time) to lure such players. While there are some true freshmen on the offensive and defensive lines from this past recruiting class that I like, I think linebacker Malaki Te’o (Mater Dei HS in California) and defensive back Kona Moore (Saint Louis School, Hawaii) make the most sense for immediate playing time this fall.
NittanyFalcon: Air Force doesn’t work that way. The freshmen are coming out of a physically grinding six weeks of basic training, probably losing weight. It’s very rare for a freshman to get any playing time unless there is some depletion at a position for whatever reason. The system the Falcons run probably isn’t very close to what they saw in high school. The Falcons are pretty set with returning players, so I doubt any freshmen will make an impact.
Lute: I’m going to cheat a little bit and pick Clay Millen, who’s a Redshirt Freshman. He’s going to be Colorado State’s starting QB, meaning he will have the single biggest impact on how good CSU is this year, so I feel like it’s fair game to pick this different kind of Freshman. I’m expecting big things for Millen, who has a big arm and will be operating in quite possibly the most QB friendly system in the Mountain West. He’ll be the most exciting quarterback CSU has had since Garrett Grayson.
Mike: I’ll stick with San Diego State again. They brought in a handful of recruits who are talented enough to play right away, although it remains to be seen who actually will. However, the smart bet is that one of their three talented running backs will see the field next year. Put me down for Lucky Sutton; the former four-star should be part of the rushing attack rotation come fall and will flash some of the skills that will make him the running back of the future for the Aztecs.
Adam: The difficulty on this one is that the UNM Lobos have been young for a couple of seasons, and have a lot of sophomores and juniors that have experience, so it will be hard for a freshman to come in and see a ton of playing time and make a huge impact.
That said, if I were to pick one that could do it, it is a 6-foot-5 freshman from Oklahoma City in David Rowaiye. He plays defensive end, and is big and fast. That is what you need in order to be a great edge rusher, especially in Rocky Long’s defense. If he sees playing time, Rowaiye is the type of player that will play in other team’s backfield most of the game.
Aiden: For Boise State, Zach talked about the first two guys that come to mind, and rightfully so. Beyond Misa and Jeanty, there is a man from down under that could become a weapon on special teams. Aussie punter James Ferguson-Reynolds has a chance to win the starting spot in his first year as a Bronco with his rugby-style punts that placed him tenth among punters in this past recruiting cycle via 247 Sports. Ferguson-Reynolds will have to beat out redshirt junior Gavin Wale if he is to become Boise State’s next punter.