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2011 CFN All-Freshman Offense
USC WR Marqise Lee
USC WR Marqise Lee
Posted Dec 9, 2011

Who were 2011's best new players? Who are the new stars?

2011 All-Freshman Team


CFN All-Freshman Teams
- 2010 CFN All-Freshman Team | 2009 CFN All-Freshman Team 
- 2008 CFN All-Freshman Team | 2007 CFN All-Freshman Team
- 2006 CFN  All-Freshman Team | 2005 CFN  All-Freshman Team
- 2004 CFN  All-Freshman Team 

Write-ups By Richard Cirminiello 

- 2011 CFN Freshman All-America Defense & Special Teams  

Offensive Freshman of the Year: WR Sammy Watkins, Clemson

First Team  

QB Brett Smith, Wyoming
It has been a meteoric rise for the rookie from Salem, Ore., who helped carry the Cowboys to an improbable 8-4 campaign, their best in over a decade. Smith entered 2011 with the right mix of athleticism and maturity to excel in his first year, leading by example as if he’d been in the system for three or four years. A real gamer, who’ll fight for every first down, he’s thrown for 2,495 yards and 18 touchdowns, adding 645 yards and 10 more scores on the ground.

RB Giovani Bernard, North Carolina
Before the season began, Carolina wasn’t quite sure who’d carry the load this fall. And then Bernard emerged from the ashes of a 2010 season that ended with a torn ACL. Showing no ill-effects from the injury, he went on to become the first Tar Heels back to rush for more than 1,000 yards since 1984. He’s also scored 14 touchdowns, running with even more determination and quickness than prior to getting hurt.

RB De’Anthony Thomas, Oregon
Even when playing in the shadows of veterans LaMichael James and Kenjon Barner, Thomas was able to showcase the skills that helped make him one of the most coveted athletes of 2011. Performing as if he was crafted in a Chip Kelly laboratory, the all-purpose gamebreaker has rushed for 440 yards, caught a team-high 42 passes for 571 yards and scored 16 touchdowns. A blur in open space, his cuts are so sharp, they often leave defenders helpless.

WR Marqise Lee, USC
For the second straight year, Troy is home to one of the country’s top young receivers. Last year, Robert Woods developed a bond with QB Matt Barkley. This fall, it was Lee’s turn. The true freshman took advantage of the attention his teammate was getting by catching 73 passes for 1,143 yards and 11 touchdowns. Adapting to the speed of the game as the season progressed, the long ball hitter was virtually unstoppable throughout a torrid month of November.

WR Sammy Watkins, Clemson
A star was born this fall in Death Valley. Watkins is one of those rare athletes, who’s going to stand out at every level of his career … and quickly. Just a few months removed from high school, he emerged as one of the game’s most dynamic playmakers, catching 77 balls for 1,153 yards and 11 touchdowns, while dazzling as a kick returner. Even better, he’s a student of the game, a blend of mind and body that’s going to torment the rest of the ACC for at least the next two seasons.

TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Washington
The Huskies are ecstatic they kept Seferian-Jenkins in state, when he could have attended just about any school on the West Coast. A 6-6, 258-pounder, with rare athleticism for his size, he earned honorable mention All-Pac-12 by catching 36 passes for 479 yards and six touchdowns. How versatile is the first year player? He’s considering trying out for the U-Dub basketball team once his team is done playing in the Valero Alamo Bowl.

OL A.J. Cann, South Carolina
Cann put down the foundation of an All-SEC career down the road, starting every game this season at left guard. A ferocious competitor at the point of attack, he uses his hands well, and will battle on every play until the whistle blows. Once his pass protection skills catch up to his run blocking skills, he’ll be that much closer to becoming a complete blocker up front in Columbia.

OL Kaleb Johnson, Rutgers
By the end of August, Johnson was a fixture on the Knights two-deep. By early December, he’d morphed into one of the top young tackles in America. A prospect Rutgers went to Florida to land, he started the final 10 games on the right side. At 6-4 and 298 pounds, he’s a mobile big man, with the light feet to develop further into a top-flight pass protector in Piscataway.

OL Cameron Fleming, Stanford
Fleming did his part to ensure that the Cardinal offense stayed on track, despite a few changes up front. The imposing 6-6, 307-pounder from Houston started all but two games, earning honorable mention All-Pac-12 recognition for his work. A budding pass protector, he could take over on the left side in 2012 if Jonathan Martin decides to leave early for the NFL Draft.

OL Marcus Martin, USC
Martin emerged as the starting left guard in the Week 3 defeat of Syracuse, and never looked back. The 6-3, 340-pound rookie brought some much-needed physicality and attitude to the front wall, especially in the running game. He’s a true pile-driver, able to occupy multiple blockers on a play, and create large windows of daylight for the Trojans running backs.

OL David Yankey, USC
Like Fleming, nd his years in his first season of action. He, too picked up honorable mention All-Pac-12 honors, starting every game at left guard for the nation’s fifth-ranked scoring offense. The Roswell, Ga. product has the physical make-up of a tackle, yet has packed on the requisite weight needed to excel in traffic as a punishing run blocker.
Second Team 

QB Braxton Miller, Ohio State

RB Isaiah Crowell, Georgia
RB Lyle McCombs , Connecticut

WR Titus Davis, Central Michigan
WR Matt Miller, Boise State

TE Randall Telfer, USC

OL Reese Dismukes, Auburn
OL Hroniss Grasu, Oregon
OL Chaz Green, Florida
OL Bobby Hart, Florida State
OL Travis Jackson , Michigan State

Honorable Mention

QB: Blake Bell (Oklahoma), Teddy Bridgewater (Louisville), Rakeem Cato (Marshall), Cody Fajardo (Nevada), Nick Isham (Louisiana Tech), Chuckie Keeton (Utah State), Sean Mannion (Oregon State), Taylor Reed (Memphis),

RB: Joe Bergeron (Texas), Malcolm Brown (Texas), Ka’Deem Carey (Arizona), Jawon Chisholm (Akron), Jahwan Edwards (Ball State), Devonta Freeman (Florida State), Dustin Garrison (West Virginia), Kenny Hilliard (LSU), Joey Iosefa (Hawaii), Jawan Jamison (Rutgers), Kevin Parks (Virginia), Anthon Samuel (Bowling Green), Brandon Wilds (South Carolina)

WR: Ross Apo (BYU), Odell Beckham, Jr. (LSU), Kenny Bell (Nebraska), Michael Bennett (Georgia), Chris Boyd (Vanderbilt), Jabari Carr (San Jose State), Brandon Coleman (Rutgers), Brandin Cooks (Oregon State), Christian Green (Florida State), Rashad Greene (Florida State), Justin Hardy (East Carolina), Michaelee Harris (Louisville), Tyler Lockett (Kansas State), Deon Long (New Mexico), Kevonte Martin-Manley (Iowa), Malcolm Mitchell (Georgia), Donte Moncrief (Ole Miss), DeVante Parker (Louisville), Jaxon Shipley (Texas), Kasen Williams (Washington), J.J. Worton (UCF)

TE: Jon Davis (Illinois), Eric Ebron (North Carolina), Xavier Grimble (USC), Nick O’Leary (Florida State), Clive Walford (Miami)

OL: Mickey Baucus (Arizona), Brett Boyko (UNLV), Josh Cochran (Texas), Dillon Day (Mississippi State), Quinterrius Eatmon (South Florida), Dominic Espinoza (Texas), Jon Feliciano (Miami), B.J. Finney (Kansas State), Jimmy Gjere (Minnesota), Rowdy Harper (Houston), Michael Heitz (Illinois), Marcus Jackson (Tennessee), Greg Mancz (Toledo), Adam Shead (Oklahoma), Chad Slade (Auburn), Jake Smith (Louisville), Laken Tomlinson (Duke), Bobby Vardaro (Boston College), Brandon Vitabile (Northwestern)

- 2011 CFN Freshman All-America Defense & Special Teams