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The Jex Dex: The year of the freshman

College football season has more storylines than a Dr. Seuss book. That is one of the many reasons why I love it and spend countless hours during the week watching highlights or games.

We as fans are always looking for the next big thing. Last year, that was Johnny Football and how he was able to dash through Alabama’s defense. It’s not that he hasn’t shown the same type of brilliance this year, but some newcomers are making names for themselves.

It seems as if incoming freshmen are coming in more prepared and ready to contribute to their teams than ever before. Even at Weber, we are starting a freshman, Austin Chipoletti, who is just a year removed from dissecting defenses through the air in Florida. Let’s look at some freshmen that have caught my eye this year.

First off is Jameis Winston. Like Johnny Football, Winston is making a splash on the football field as a redshirt freshman; he sat out last year while E.J. Manuel lead the Seminoles to the ACC title. What makes this kid so special? To me, it’s not just his football ability. A fact that many might not know is that he starred on the baseball team last spring. A frequently viewed YouTube clip shows him throwing out a base-runner from Virginia Tech from deep right field. That throw and many of his throws have been perfect as he has led his team to an undefeated start to the season.

Two plays stick out to me why this kid isn’t just a one-year, but will be a problem for ACC defenses for years to come. It is the halftime Hail Mary against Boston College, and how he avoided a sack against Maryland to throw a sensational pass for a touchdown. Just watching those plays give me the impression that not only does he have great athleticism, but he can throw the ball well too. Many athletic quarterbacks have struggled with that (examples: Tim Tebow, Pat White and Eric Crouch).

Second is Baker Mayfield, the starting quarterback for the University of Texas Tech. Who is that, you may ask? He is a walk-on freshman who won the job after the starter was injured and first-year coach Kliff Kingsbury felt he could run the offense the best. But let’s get this walk-on thing straight: It wasn’t like he was playing some 7-on-7 flag football in Texas and just decided he wanted to play quarterback for the Red Raiders.

His dream was to play for TCU, but they never came knocking, so he felt Tech would be a better fit for him and his abilities. The kid knows how to win; he led his high school team to a perfect record and a Texas state title in 2011. All he has done at Tech is win, and put up very impressive numbers.

Now that he has been fighting the injury bug himself, he has slowed down a bit. It seems that, if Tech is going to contend for a Big 12 title, this guy behind the reins might give them the best chance.

By no means am I saying they are going to win the Heisman, but they are two players we should keep our eyes on. The future seems to be bright for these and many other freshmen who have appeared on the national scene.

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