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Fresh hype

Ten freshmen ready to take college football by storm

Posted: Thursday August 10, 2006 2:26PM; Updated: Sunday August 13, 2006 3:28AM
Freshman Matthew Stafford enrolled early at Georgia and now he's battling with Joe Tereshinski III for the starting QB job.
Freshman Matthew Stafford enrolled early at Georgia and now he's battling with Joe Tereshinski III for the starting QB job.
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From gunslingers, speedsters, an offensive tackle who never allowed a sack in high school and even a certain Chosen One -- the freshmen class of 2006 seemingly has it all.

We waded through the hype and found the freshmen -- no redshirts or transfers admitted to this party -- who already are creating a stir and ready to make an immediate impact. But can they follow in the footsteps of other frosh phenoms such as Steve Slaton, Adrian Peterson or Brady Quinn and be anointed college football's next big thing?

Get a load of this group these talented youngsters who are primed to take their respective campuses by storm.

Myron Rolle, S, Florida State

High school: Princeton (N.J.) The Hun

The 6-foot-2, 210-pound Rolle couldn't walk around his high school without attracting attention. But that all changed when he enrolled at Florida State in January. He was anonymous again.

"Here, it's just like everybody walking by... they don't know who I am," Rolle told the Pensacola News Journal.

He had better enjoy his anonymity while he can, because it looks as if it's going to be fleeting.

In his first scrimmage, the 12th-ranked player by Rivals.com picked off a pass, broke up a reverse behind the line of scrimmage and recovered a fumble in goal-line drills. In the spring game, he had two interceptions, one of which he returned 64 yards for a touchdown.

"[He's] very gifted intellectually, athletically [and is] mature beyond his age," Seminoles associate head coach and defensive coordinator Mickey Andrews said. "I guess when you start looking at things you want in a football player as a defensive back, you end up finding a Myron Rolle."

Rolle had 112 tackles, including 14 for loss in his senior season, but his classroom exploits are just as impressive as what he's done on the field. He had a 4.0 GPA in high school and went to FSU with so many advanced placement credits that by September he'll be a sophomore. The aspiring doctor has said his goal is to graduate by the end of his third year.

"He's not only a guy that catches on quickly because he has a very good understanding of the game of football," Andrews said. "[But] he's highly motivated, a guy that wants to become a great player. Those are the things ... that you need."

Andrews says Rolle will be on the field for the Seminoles season opener against Miami, playing both special teams and safety. He entered camp behind former walk-on Anthony Houllis. But if the freshman's spring performances are any indication, that could change by Sept. 4.

"So far he's lived up to everything that we thought," Andrews said.

Matthew Stafford, QB, Georgia

High school: Dallas (Texas) Highland Park

Think Bulldogs fans are more than a little excited about the potential of this 6-3, 210-pound, strong-armed Texan? Just ask Matthew's sister, Paige, a sophomore at Georgia.

Sixteen months older than her brother, Paige was in a restaurant when a fellow UGA student, upon learning she was Matthew's sister, reportedly dropped to the floor and kissed her feet.

So what's all the fuss about? Stafford entered Georgia in the spring after throwing for 3,991 yards and 38 touchdowns his senior year. He was the nation's sixth-ranked player by Rivals.com, and has drawn comparisons to John Elway, even from Elway's former coach, Dan Reeves, who saw Stafford in the spring.

While Georgia coach Mark Richt likes what he sees, he isn't getting too carried away. "He has a tremendous arm," Richt said. "He's very intelligent, is trying to learn what to do, trying to keep pace as far as just understanding our system. His biggest downfall right now. We can't play a guy based on potential right now.

Stafford is in a quarterback battle with senior Joe Tereshinski III, who has just one career start under his belt, sophomore Blake Barnes and redshirt freshman Joe Cox. It may very well be Joe T's job come the Sept. 2 opener against Western Kentucky, but expect Stafford to make an early appearance and a real case to be the first Bulldog to start at quarterback as a true freshman since Quincy Carter in 1998.

Jevan Snead, QB, Texas

High school: Stephenville (Texas)

How do you replace Vince Young? Well, you don't, but coach Mack Brown will likely be using a rotation of Snead and redshirt freshman Colt McCoy to lead the Longhorns offense in their bid for a repeat national title.

"Both of our young quarterbacks did a great job in the spring," Brown said. "I would say that Colt and Jevan exceeded our expectations in how they picked up everything, and they are guys that can make plays with their arm and with their feet. We're looking forward to see their continued progress this fall."

In Snead, the Longhorns got the fourth-rated dual-threat quarterback by Rivals.com and the 78th-ranked prospect nationally. Snead is most often compared to former Utah and current San Francisco 49ers quarterback Alex Smith, and has been known to dissect video of Smith. Snead threw for 3,546 yards and 38 touchdowns last season, while running for 766 yards and 23 scores. The 6-3, 205-pound Parade All-America finished his prep career with a 23-2 record as a starter.

Originally headed to Florida, Snead withdrew an oral commitment because he believed the Gators were only recruiting one quarterback this season.

McCoy may have the inside track on the starting job because he's been on campus longer, but Snead is already familiar with the spread offense, having run a version of it at Stephenville High.

"What we ran offensively and what Texas has run looks fairly similar," Snead's high school coach Chad Morris said. "I think with our spread offense, and with us throwing the ball 28 to 30 times a game, he's been able to see different types of defensive coverages, different types of looks."

With just a few weeks to digest the Longhorns' playbook, Snead went 9-for-13 for 97 yards and a touchdown in the Orange and White game.