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Three-Point Stance: Farrell Awards, notable freshmen

National Recruiting Director Mike Farrell’s Three-Point Stance is here with the Farrell Awards for the 2020 season, some redshirt freshmen who just missed his top-10 list and more than 50 true freshmen that had notable debuts.


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Breece Hall
Breece Hall (AP Images)

First off, let’s be thankful we had a college football season at all. No thanks to the Big Ten and Pac-12, of course. All things considered, it was a great year and it's time to hand out the Farrell Awards.

Player of the Year - Alabama wide receiver DeVonta Smith had a season for the ages and won the Heisman. He came back to win a national title and while many of his elite peers opted out, he played and raised his draft stock.

Offensive Player of the Year - Florida quarterback Kyle Trask put up better numbers than any other quarterback and led the Gators to the SEC title game.

Defensive Player of the Year - Texas linebacker Joseph Ossai changed every game he was in this season.

Breakout Player of the Year - Iowa State running back Breece Hall went from good to great this season and played a huge role in the Cyclones' run to the Fiesta Bowl.

Most Improved Player - Minnesota running back Mohamed Ibrahim carried the Gophers' offense on his back.

Flex Player of the Year - This was a tough call but I'm going with Florida tight end Kyle Pitts over Alabama running back Najee Harris. This is the player who can hurt you from so many different angles and Pitts was unstoppable.

Freshman Offensive Player of the Year - Oklahoma quarterback Spencer Rattler led the Sooners to the Big 12 title and a Cotton Bowl berth in his first season as a starter.

Defensive Freshman of the Year - LSU defensive back Elias Ricks was a bright spot on a Tigers defense that struggled throughout the season.

Comeback Player of the Year - Miami pass rusher Jaelen Phillips went from medical retirement to future NFL draft pick.

Coach of the Year - Indiana's Tom Allen wins this one in a tight race over Iowa State's Matt Campbell and Liberty's Hugh Freeze.

Group of Five Player of the Year - Tulsa linebacker Zaven Collins is going to make Rivals look dumb for ranking him as a two-star prospect.

Underappreciated Player of the Year - North Carolina running backs Javonte Williams and Michael Carter share this award after stellar seasons for the Tar Heels.


Graham Mertz
Graham Mertz (AP Images)

My list of the top-10 redshirt freshmen was led by Oklahoma quarterback Spencer Rattler. There were several players that were not included, but I felt like these 13 players should also be recognized.

QB Connor Bazelak, Missouri — Bazelak showed signs of leadership and toughness and will be the guy for Eli Drinkwitz it seems.

WR Blair Conwright, TCU — Conwright emerged as a weapon in the offense this season for TCU and has excellent speed.

WR Donavon Greene, Wake Forest — He held his own against Clemson and others and flashed plus speed.

RB Deion Hankins, UTEP — He was a touchdown machine for UTEP this season.

OL Brady Latham, Arkansas — Latham will continue to progress under Sam Pittman and looks like a future captain.

OL Christian Mahogany, Boston College — A road grader, Mahogany has that nasty BC edge to him.

QB Graham Mertz, Wisconsin — Mertz showed flashes of brilliance at times for the Badgers and is the program's quarterback of the future.

WR Taylor Morin, Wake Forest — Morin has emerged as one of the best return men in the ACC.

TE Isaac Rex, BYU — Rex had double-digit touchdowns and was lost in the shuffle nationally when it comes to attention at his position.

OL Jake Springfield, Oklahoma State — The Pokes have a good one up front who is learning from Teven Jenkins and others. He’s a former walk-on.

WR Tahj Washington, Memphis — Had nearly 800 yards receiving in a breakout season for the Tigers.

QB Grant Wells, Marshall — Wells had a very effective season throwing only four interceptions against 16 touchdowns.

OL Brandon Yates, West Virginia — Bates is an athletic big man who could push for some All-Big 12 honors next season.


Jahmyr Gibbs
Jahmyr Gibbs (AP Images)

The 2020 season was an especially deep one for true freshmen. I could only recognize a handful of them in my annual Farrell Freshman 15 countdown, but here are more than 50 other true freshmen that also had notable debuts.

Alabama — With Will Anderson at linebacker and Malachi Moore at safety, the Crimson Tide have two defensive gems ready to take the next step next season. Throw in Brian Branch and this defense is going to be nasty next season and beyond.

Arizona State — Running back DeaMonte Treyanum had four touchdowns in four games and looks like a good one.

AuburnTank Bigsby carried the offense on his shoulders at times as a true freshman running back.

ClemsonMyles Murphy, Bryan Bresee and Trenton Simpson all playing so well on defense as true freshmen is almost unfair. Offensive lineman Walker Parks also looked nasty at times.

Florida State — Things may not look as bleak at Florida State as many think with offensive linemen Maurice Smith and Robert Scott, Jr. as well as linebacker Stephen Dix, Jr. all playing key roles.

GeorgiaJermaine Burton was a great addition at wide receiver and defensive tackle Jalen Carter flashed signs of his potential.

Georgia TechJahmyr Gibbs was impressive in the run and passing game flashing his speed.

Kansas — It might have gone unnoticed but defensive back Karon Prunty had a great year.

Kansas State — It’s hard to find someone more exciting at running back than Deuce Vaughn.

LSUElias Ricks was my top true freshman in the country and B.J. Ojulari is a beast off the edge. Tight end Arik Gilbert was also amazing and now there are rumors he might want to come back to LSU after jumping into the transfer portal. Kayshon Boutte also had an amazing finish to the season.

Maryland — Cornerback Tarheeb Still was excellent on defense and former five-star Rakim Jarrett flashed his ability at wide receiver.

Michigan State — Receiver Ricky White has a ton of skill and will be a big target next season and beyond.

Mississippi State — Cornerback Emmanuel Forbes was one of the best true freshmen in the county and wide receiver Jaden Walley will be a star in this offense.

Missouri — Defensive back Ennis Rakestraw jumped right in and made an impact on the defense.

NorthwesternPeter Skoronski was the best true freshman offensive lineman in the country.

Notre Dame — There is little doubt that freshman tight end Michael Mayer is going to be the next great one at his position for the Irish.

OklahomaMarvin Mims is a star on offense as is offensive lineman Anton Harrison. They are future building blocks on the Sooners' offense.

Ole Miss — Offensive lineman Jeremy James was very solid and Jo’Quavious Marks was awesome on offense.

OregonNoah Sewell lived up to his five-star resume at linebacker in the short amount of time the Ducks played.

Penn State — What would the offense have looked like without wide receiver Parker Washington?

PittJordan Addison is already one of the top wide receivers in the ACC.

Rutgers — Cornerback Max Melton jumped in and won a starting job and looked very solid.

SyracuseSean Tucker does a little of everything on offense, linebacker Marlowe Wax is a tackling machine and Ja’Had Carter is a beast in the secondary. Add in Rob Hanna and Stefon Thompson and Syracuse has one of the best true freshman classes in the country.

TCUGary Patterson knows talent and has freshmen like Khari Coleman on defense and running back Zach Evans on offense who have very bright futures.

Texas — Running back Bijan Robinson is beyond elite and defensive end Alfred Collins has freak-like ability.

Texas A&M — Former five-star Jaylon Jones had a terrific first season for the Aggies.

Vanderbilt — He had his ups and downs but quarterback Ken Seals showed a lot of promise in his first year.

Virginia — Wide receiver Lavel Davis averaged over 25 yards a catch. That’s beyond impressive.

Virginia Tech — Defensive back Dorian Strong is going to be an all-conference player down the line.

Wake Forest — Wake used to redshirt everyone but this year defensive back Nick Anderson was all over the field as a walk-on and defensive back Caelen Carson also made a ton of nice plays.

Washington State — It’s still hard to believe so many teams passed on quarterback Jayden DeLaura. He has a great future.

West Virginia — Defensive lineman Ahkeem Mesidor had a great season while offensive lineman Zach Frazier was also impressive.