The third week of college football provided some true breakout showings by true freshman. We’re nearing the point in the season where some top freshmen are moving towards assuming key roles for their respective teams.
Several top performers were included in On3’s Preseason True Freshman All-America Team, which was released before Week 1.
RB TreVeyon Henderson, Ohio State
It’s been a matter of when, not if, we’d see a true breakout game from Henderson. That game came Saturday against Tulsa. Buckeyes coach Ryan Day leaned heavily on the run game against the Golden Hurricane. Henderson assumed the role of the lead back for Ohio State and more than answered the bell.
Henderson, a five-star prospect, looked like the best player on the field, showing his innate burst and open-field ability while ripping off a number of long runs. He blew the game open on the final play of the third quarter with an electric 52-yard touchdown scamper.
When the dust had settled, Henderson had set Ohio State’s freshman single- game rushing record with 277 yards and three touchdowns on 24 carries. If Saturday was any indication, Henderson may be a weekly regular in this piece.
QB Jaxson Dart, USC
He was thrust into action early on in the road contest against Washington State following an injury to starting quarterback Kedon Slovis. Dart, another former five-star prospect who was seeing his first college action, had some rocky moments early, but caught fire in the second half, leading the USC offense to 45 consecutive points.
Dart showed many of the traits that led him to be ranked as the No. 6 prospect in the 2021 cycle by On3. The Utah native flashed a strong arm and willingness to take shots downfield. Dart was 30-of-46 for 391 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions. He also was USC’s leading rusher with 36 yards.
It’s unknown how long Slovis will be out, but Dart’s ability to unlock the Trojans’ passing game and activate talented targets like Drake London certainly made a strong case for him to be the starter moving forward.
Dart’s promise as the quarterback of the future has given Trojans fans some hope following Clay Helton’s firing earlier in the week.
WR Deion Smith, LSU
LSU signed a number of talented wide receivers in the 2021 cycle. Smith was the highest-ranked of the bunch by On3 (No. 54) and he had a breakout game against Central Michigan on Saturday. Smith, from Jackson, Miss., caught five balls for 135 yards and two touchdowns, the first of which was among the best catches of the day.
WR Adonai Mitchell, Georgia
Mitchell had his best game Saturday, catching four passes for 77 yards and one touchdown in the Bulldogs’ SEC-opening rout of South Carolina. The true freshman from the Nashville area got vertical on 38-yard score in the second quarter to put Georgia up 21-6.
Mitchell, a four-star prospect, has been a standout since arriving in Athens in January. He was one of our Preseason True Freshman All-Americans and looks as if he will be a key component of the Bulldogs’ passing game moving forward. Georgia boasts another top true freshman pass-catcher in tight end Brock Bowers.
WR Xavier Worthy, Texas
Another Preseason True Freshman All-American pick, Worthy had his best game as a Longhorn to date in a blowout of Rice. Worthy, a five-star prospect from Fresno, Calif., made his mark with a big catch-and-run on a fourth-and-3 play, and caught a touchdown on a back-shoulder pass right before halftime.
Worthy finished as Texas’ leading receiver with 88 yards and one touchdown on seven targets. He was among the nation’s fastest prospects in the 2021 recruiting cycle and should be a top target in Steve Sarkisian‘s offense as the Horns enter Big 12 play.
S Jimmy Wyrick, Stanford
Wyrick had a strong showing in Stanford’s win over Vanderbilt with six tackles, one interception and two pass breakups. He was targeted six times in coverage and surrendered just one reception while making a play on three other attempts. The interception came in the second quarter and led to a quick Stanford touchdown.
Wyrick has emerged as a starter in the Cardinal defense, playing 152 cumulative snaps in the past two games. Wyrick was a technically sound, fluid and agile defensive back prospect coming out of Dallas South Oak Cliff.