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2010 Preseason All-Redshirt Freshman Team
Alabama OT D.J. Fluker
Alabama OT D.J. Fluker
Posted Aug 2, 2010

What redshirt freshmen appear to be ready to step up and become major factors? Alabama's D.J. Fluker will take over a key tackle job for the defending national champions, but he's just one of several new stars about to blossom. Check out the CFN 2010 Preseason All-Redshirt Freshman Team.

Preview 2010

All-Redshirt Freshman Offense

By Richard Cirminiello

- 2010 CFN All-Redshirt Freshman Defense | 2009 CFN All-Redshirt Freshman Team 
- 2008 CFN All-Redshirt Freshman Team | 2007 CFN All-Redshirt Freshman Team

For literally hundreds of true freshmen across the country, last season was likely the most frustrating of their athletic careers. Sure, there was plenty of development and maturation taking place, both physically and intellectually, but there were no games to be played, no competition on Saturdays, and no box scores housing their names. For a variety of reasons, these idle warriors were redshirted in 2009, with the notion that they’d return this year a little bigger, a little stronger, and much better prepared to start paying dividends for all of those recruiting trips, phone calls and text messages during the courtship process.

Redshirt freshmen are somewhat of a mystery in college football. While hardly the same young men they were on Signing Day 18 months ago, have they blossomed enough to be every-down contributors this fall? As is often the case, it all depends on the athlete in question and the opportunities on the depth chart.

QB Aaron Murray, Georgia
If the Dawgs are going to rebound from last year’s mediocre 8-5 season, they’ll need more than just modest support from Murray. It’s a good thing the 19-year old has an excellent supporting cast and the poise and maturity of a more seasoned player. Though he lacks prototypical size at 6-1 and 209 pounds, he’s accurate, moves well around the pocket, and gets good zip on his throws. Obviously, the pressure to succeed is going to be immense, meaning his intangibles will be tested as much as his physical ability in this debut season.

RB Dominique Wallace, Virginia
Assuming he can bounce back from offseason foot surgery, he has the all-around talent to pick up where he left off early last fall. Before getting hurt and being lost for the year, he was challenging for the starting job as a rookie, finishing with just 14 carries for 49 yards. When playing at full-strength, the 6-0, 215-pounder is a bruiser, with enough giddy-up to punish the opposition all the way downfield. On a team with no proven backs, he’ll have a shot to be the focal point of the new offense.

RB Lamar Miller, Miami
Yes, he resides in a crowded Hurricane backfield, but Miller has so much talent that he’s liable to force his way into the mix. One of the nation’s top backs a year ago, he has an exciting mix of speed and balance in a sturdy 5-11, 210-pound frame. Even if he takes a backseat to Damien Berry and Graig Cooper, he’s the kind of young player who’ll turn his 75 or 80 carries into 500 yards and six touchdowns while whetting the appetite of Miami about the next few seasons.

WR Andre Debose, Florida
The second coming of Percy Harvin. Or at least that’s what Gator fans hope. A hamstring injury that required surgery kept Debose from playing a down as a true freshman, but he’s working his way back to full strength and his first chance to approach serious expectations. The comparisons, though unfair and not appreciated by the heir apparent, are completely understandable. An explosive playmaker, with tremendous burst out of the blocks, he has the skill set to be used in a multitude of different ways within this offense.

WR Bryce McNeal, Clemson
The Tigers didn’t need McNeal a year ago. They will in 2010. Its receiving corps gutted by graduation, Clemson will be looking to unleash the gem of the 2009 recruiting class. While he’s currently running with the second team, he has as much long-term potential as any wide receiver on the roster. A long and lean 6-1, 175-pounder, he certainly needs reps and to fine tune the little things in his game, but possesses the overall athletic package to start matching his lofty expectations.

TE Levine Toilolo, Stanford
The Cardinal is absolutely loaded at tight end, partly because of the emergence of Toilolo in the passing game. At 6-8 and 244 pounds, however, does he remain on offense? The defensive staff would love to get its hands on him and transform him into a pass-rushing end. For now, he’ll happily settle for being a human mismatch for opposing defenders, using his length and strength to win battles for the ball. If he can improve his leverage as a blocker, no small chore for a man his size, he could blossom into a thee-down player.

OL D.J. Fluker, Alabama

Literally and figuratively, Fluker was one of the nation’s immense talents from the Class of 2009. Now a “trimmed-down” 6-6, 340-pounder, he has his sights set on winning the opening at right tackle for the Tide. A defensive lineman until his senior year of high school, he has the size and strength to simply overpower the opposition, but will need to remain light on his feet and quick enough to seal off edge rushers to be successful in this league. A possible feast-or-famine type blocker, ‘Bama is optimistic he’ll begin approaching his press clippings in 2010.

OL Taylor Lewan, Michigan

Like it or not, prepare yourself for the Jake Long comparisons. The Wolverine staff is that high on Lewan. A late-bloomer coming out of high school, with his best days ahead of him, he’s already competing for the spot at left tackle. The one-time rangy kid has filled out to 6-8 and 283 pounds, blending uncommon athleticism and footwork with an ample supply of nastiness. Yeah, there’s a lot to learn, but he has the ingredients of a future star once he gets the necessary reps.

OL Zach Martin, Notre Dame

Having spent his first year in South Bend getting bigger, stronger, and wiser, Martin appears ready to challenge for the void at left tackle. Coming off a tremendous spring session, he flashed the quickest feet among the Irish linemen, a must for blindside protectors. He has also displayed a penchant for lining up defenders in space, which is another job requirement in the team’s new spread attack. Although nothing is set in stone, the 6-4, 280-pounder built a nice lead on the competition in April.

OL JerQuari Schofield, Tennessee

Slotted in at left guard, Schofield has a chance to lay the groundwork for a four-year starting career in Knoxville. A 6-6, 331-pound mauler, he has the size and raw power to completely engulf defenders on running downs. While still somewhat raw with his blocking technique, he has the NFL body to be a worthwhile project before very long. The Volunteer line is going to be a work-in-progress this fall, which will allow him to mature along with the rest of the ensemble.

OL Kevin Graf, USC
Coming out of spring, Graf held the top spot at left guard for the Trojans. Sure, his status was elevated by the absence of Butch Lewis, but he’s more than capable of holding on this summer even after the veteran returns from an injury. At 6-6 and 315 pounds, he brings a physical demeanor to the interior of the line to go along with the frame and feet of many tackles. Regardless of how he begins his USC career, he has a great future down the road and will be an important part of the rotation this fall.

Honorable Mention – Offense

QB: Nate Scheelhaase (Illinois), Bryn Renner (North Carolina), Sean Schroeder (Duke), Drew Allen (Oklahoma)

RB: Jaamal Berry (Ohio State), Kendrick Hardy (Southern Miss)

WR: Jonathan Coleman (Boston College), Corey Gattis (Duke), Chris Fields (Ohio State), Gary Bush (Purdue), Tyree Watkins (Duke)

TE: Jordan Reed (Florida), Hutson Prioleau (Texas A&M), Mike Muehlmann (BYU)

OL: Jermaine Johnson (Miami), Chris Faulk (LSU), Evan Finkenberg (Arizona State), Alvin Bailey (Arkansas), Nik Abele (UCLA), Justin Pugh (Syracuse), Pat Eger (West Virginia), Bryan Stork (Florida State), Justin Britt (Missouri), Ryan Groy (Wisconsin), Nolan MacMillan (Iowa), Josh Aladenoye (Oklahoma)

- 2010 CFN All-Redshirt Freshman Defense