It’s not easy to make a big impact during your first year at school, but there are some college football freshmen ready to answer the call heading into 2017.
Many freshmen get an early jump by enrolling early so they can take part of spring practices. That has most certainly given them a leg up as they prepare for their first season of college ball. Almost all the players we’re about to highlight took this route, but one defender good enough to earn a starting job has yet to even enroll.
Among the top players we’ll be looking at is a running back tasked with replacing a legend, a defensive end stepping into some huge shoes of his own and a linebacker destined to rack up tackles in his first campaign.
These are the top impact college freshmen for the 2017 season.
Anthony Hines, linebacker, Texas A&M
A tackling machine during his years at Plano East High School (220 tackles last year!), Hines is already making a name for himself at College Station.
It’s a good thing, too, because the Aggies lost some serious talent this winter, including last year’s leading tackler, Shaan Washington. We expect Hines to slide into that vacant spot and make an immediate difference. He was an early enrollee and has been doing all the right things to earn that spot as a true freshman.
One of the biggest reasons to think Hines will make an immediate impact this year for the Aggies is he is big (6-foot-3, 222 pounds), strong and athletic enough to play all three linebacker positions. He’s a natural inside backer but also has the speed to make plays outside, covering tight ends and attacking the edge on blitzes.
Even if Hines doesn’t crack the starting lineup early (he almost certainly will), he’s going to be a big-time player for this program right out of the gate as a rotational guy.