2012 CFN All-Freshman Team
Texas A&M QB Johnny Manziel
Texas A&M QB Johnny Manziel
Posted Dec 10, 2012

Who were 2012's best new players? Who are the new stars?

2012 All-Freshman Team


CFN All-Freshman Teams
- 2011 CFN All-Freshman Team | 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: QB Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M
First Team 

QB Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M
Few rookie quarterbacks have ever captured the nation's attention and imagination the way Manziel has this season. An escape artist, who operates as if he's drawing up plays in the dirt, he helped lead the Aggies to an improbable 10-win campaign in their first year in the SEC. Playing with the poise and the moxie of a fifth-year senior, he has rushed for 1,181 yards, thrown for 3,419 mores and accounted for 43 total touchdowns. Manziel jumped to the head of a very good rookie quarterback class, which includes Oregon's Marcus Mariota and UCLA's Brett Hundley, by engineering an upset of then-No. 1 Alabama in Tuscaloosa on Nov. 10. Oh yeah, and there's that little matter of being the first freshman to ever win the Heisman.

RB Kenneth Dixon, Louisiana Tech
The poster child for "next man in", Dixon wasn't even listed on the depth chart for the opener. Still, the precocious true freshman from Strong (Ark.) High School more than made up for lost time when Tevin King went down with an injury, rushing for 1,194 yards on 200 carries, and accounting for an NCAA freshman-record 28 overall touchdowns. The 6-0, 215-pounder runs tough and with a low center of gravity, causing opposing defenders to bounce off his pads near the goal line.

RB Todd Gurley, Georgia
On June 29, Isaiah Crowell was arrested on weapons charges, and subsequently booted from the program. The Bulldogs ground game never skipped a beat because of the presence of two precocious rookies, Gurley and Keith Marshall. The 6-1, 218-pound Gurley ran as if he'd been in Athens for years—not months—becoming the first Georgia true freshman since Herschel Walker in 1980 to run for more than 1,000 yards, while adding 16 touchdowns on the ground. He's an All-SEC power back, who'll bounce off tacklers, and run away from them with surprising speed.

WR Davante Adams, Fresno State
The 6-2, 200-pounder from Palo Alto made an early statement with 12 catches against Oregon, and he never slowed down. Not only was he the best receiver in the Mountain West; he was the best by a ten-mile margin catching 89 passes for 1,168 yards and 13 touchdowns, scoring at least once in each of the final seven games. With 4.5 speed, phenomenal leaping ability and a tremendous rapport with star quarterback Derek Carr - who's coming back for his senior season - everything is in place to become one of the nation's most explosive new superstars.

WR Amari Cooper, Alabama
In Cooper, the Crimson Tide just might harbor its next Julio Jones on the outside. The rookie from Miami's Northwestern High School became increasingly more explosive and consistent as the regular season progressed, finishing it with a team-high 53 catches for 895 yards and nine touchdowns. His last reception was a 45-yarder behind the Georgia defense to lock up Saturday's epic SEC Championship Game in Atlanta. Cooper has top-notch speed and ball skills to go along with the ability to elevate high into the air to pluck balls out of the sky.

TE Kyle Carter, Penn State
Despite missing three of the final four games to injury, Carter did enough in his other nine outings to emerge as the nation's top freshman tight end of 2012. Instantly successful in a Bill O'Brien offense that accentuates the position, the 6-3, 247-pounder was named First Team All-Big Ten by the media after catching 36 balls for 453 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Carter is going to be a fixture for the next three years at Penn State's "F" tight end, which is designed to move an athletic receiver all over the field so that he can create mismatches with lumbering linebackers.

OT Spencer Drango, Baylor
Drango was a hot commodity coming out of Cedar Park (Tex.) High School. In 2012, he began to back up all of the attention and offers. He started every regular season game at left tackle, no small achievement in a league with as many good edge rushers as the Big 12. The 6-6, 310-pounder held his own, protecting QB Nick Florence, and grading out close to 90% by the coaches. Powerful, light on his feet and intelligent, Drango possesses the ingredients to be a dynamite four-year starter in Waco.

OG Evan Boehm, Missouri
In more than a decade at Mizzou, Gary Pinkel has never started a true freshman along the line. Until now. The coach couldn't keep Boehm off the field. He was a nationally-recruited prospect, who performed like one from the moment he stepped foot on campus. While injuries to veterans Travis Ruth and Jack Meiners originally opened the door, Boehm was going to compete for playing time no matter who was his competition. He's a very quick study, works hard and at 6-3 and 310 pounds, uses his leverage to get underneath the pads of opposing linemen.

C Isaac Seumalo, Oregon State
Seumalo has quickly succeeded in carving out his own identity in Corvallis, no small task considering his dad is the Beavers' D-line coach and his older brother is a starting defensive tackle. The local blue-chip recruit has hit the ground running, becoming the program's first true freshman to start at center in 34 years. Seumalo is quick off the snap, and ahead of the curve with his fundamentals, but is also steeped in intangibles. He wants to be the best at his position, and is willing to put in the time to get to that point in his career.

OG Le'Raven Clark, Texas Tech
As 6-5, 303-pounders go, Clark is a phenomenal athlete. For an offensive guard, that means he's light on his feet, and plays with the ideal balance get down the field in a hurry on pulling plays. It's no doubt early in his career, but the Red Raiders coaching staff can already spot the signs and characteristics of a blocker whose ceiling could eventually lead him to another All-American team. Clark is a skilled interior lineman, busting at the seams with long-term potential.

OT Max Tuerk, USC
Tuerk did something this fall that no other recruit in the long and storied history of Trojans football has; he started at left tackle as a true freshman. It took some seasoning—and some inconsistency from opening day regular Aundrey Walker for Tuerk to get his chance, but he impressed the staff in the second half of the year. The can't-miss recruit from Santa Margarita Catholic (Calif.) High School has the footwork and demeanor to gradually evolve into the successor to Matt Kalil, who's now starting—and starring—for the Minnesota Vikings.
Second Team 

QB Marcus Mariota, Oregon

RB Duke Johnson, Miami
RB T.J. Yeldon , Alabama

WR Mike Evans, Texas A&M
WR Stefon Diggs, Maryland

TE Devin Funchess, Michigan

OT Tyler Johnstone, Oregon
OG Jack Allen, Michigan State
C Jake Brendel, UCLA
OG Jordan Rigsbee, Cal
OT John Theus , Georgia

Honorable Mention

QB: Trevone Boykin (TCU), Austin Brown (UAB), Cole Gautsche (New Mexico), Everett Golson (Notre Dame), Kevin Hogan (Stanford), Brett Hundley (UCLA), Keenan Reynolds (Navy), Nick Sherry (UNLV)

RB: Jela Duncan (Duke), Melvin Gordon (Wisconsin), Johnathan Gray (Texas), Jeremy Hill (LSU), D.J. Foster (Arizona State), Kevin Grooms (Marshall), Keith Marshall (Georgia), Christian Powell (Colorado), Rushel Shell (Pittsburgh), Shadrach Thornton (NC State), Jamaal Williams (BYU), Storm Woods (Oregon State)

WR: Brett Bartalone (Washington State), Kelvin Benjamin (Florida State), Ladarius Brown (TCU), Quinshad Davis (North Carolina), Dorial Green-Beckham (Missouri), Deontay Greenberry (Houston), Chris Harper (Cal), J.D. McKissic (Arkansas State), Alonzo Russell (Toledo), Sterling Shepard (Oklahoma), Jaime Wilson (Western Michigan)

TE: Jesse James (Penn State), Jay Rome (Georgia)

OL: Vadal Alexander (LSU), Nick Beamish (Central Michigan), Austin Blythe (Iowa), Aviante Collins (TCU), Parker Ehinger (Cincinnati), Dan Feeney (Indiana), Simon Goines (UCLA), Ted Karras (Illinois), Ryker Mathews (BYU), Patrick Miller (Auburn), Jeremiah Poutasi (Utah), Greg Robinson (Auburn), Brandon Shell (South Carolina), Donovan Smith (Penn State), Jason Spriggs (Indiana) , Trai Turner (LSU), Torian White (UCLA), Cody Whitehair (Kansas State), Caleb Williams (Rice)

- 2012 CFN Freshman All-America Defense & Special Teams