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Farrell Freshman 15: The top freshmen playing this fall

Every year in August, I roll out the Farrell Freshman 15, a look at the top true freshmen that will impact the college football landscape. It’s September and only three power five conferences are cleared to play, but here's a look at an interesting 15 starting with Nos. 15-13.

Mark Pszonak contributed to this report.


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15. RB Jaylan Knighton, Miami

Overview: Knighton initially committed to Florida State during the summer leading up to his senior season, but then re-opened his recruitment in early November when coach Willie Taggart’s future became uncertain. Miami, Florida and Ohio State quickly jumped at the opportunity. After unofficial visits to Coral Gables and Gainesville he committed to the Hurricanes less than a month later.

While Cam’Ron Harris will be the starter, Knighton’s performance throughout the summer, including scrimmages, has drawn rave reviews from everyone. Also a capable receiving threat, he should see his role increase as the season progresses. Knighton debuted with 59 yards on nine carries against UAB.

Farrell’s take: Knighton was a talented and shifty running back who could catch the ball out of high school and seemed like he would be a dual threat in college. He also runs hard and isn’t easy to bring down. Knighton is the elite back in the 2020 class for Miami and it will show.


14. RB Chris Tyree, Notre Dame

Overview: With upwards of 30 offers, Tyree began to focus on Notre Dame, Oklahoma and Alabama before committing to the Irish during the spring. There was some concern about Tyree’s size and if he could be an everyday back at the highest of college levels. That concern quickly alleviated when he arrived on campus 10-15 pounds bigger and stronger.

The Irish have been looking for a running back with Tyree’s explosive skill set for years, so look for the offense to try and establish him into the game plan early. Tyree had six carries for 20 yards and returned four kickoffs in ND's win over Duke.

Farrell’s take: Tyree had speed and plenty of it coming out of high school and was well-regarded for many reasons. The big question mark was about his size and potential durability but he will pop off some big plays for Notre Dame this season and has bulked up.


13. WR Rico Powers, South Carolina

Overview: Powers trimmed his list of top schools down to South Carolina, Nebraska and Arkansas before committing to the Gamecocks during the early part of his senior season. South Carolina was the only school of the three that he took a visit to prior to his final decision.

Powers made an early impression during summer camp and quickly garnered the attention and respect of the coaching staff. His ability to grasp the playbook has also helped his advancement through the depth chart as he is now projected to be a key member of the Gamecocks’ passing attack in 2020.

Farrell’s take: Powers was a big and physical receiver out of high school who had the build to impact early in college and all signs are that he will be an important part of the offense early.