By Brian Vornberg, College Football Insiders
The impact freshmen are having in college football is being felt more now than ever before. Percy Harvin was a great example a couple of years ago, as was Tim Tebow. Both were valuable contributors in the Florida Gators National Championship run in 2007. Last year, safety Chad Jones earned a lot of playing time for the LSU Tigers and made a similar impact on the defensive side of the ball.
In this, the first of a ten-part series, I will look at ten incoming freshman who could pay immediate dividends for their respective teams this upcoming college football season. First up in this series is Brandon Green. The Chicago-native headlines one of the strongest recruiting classes Minnesota has ever seen. The speedy WR brings optimism to the Golden Gophers and their fight to return to the national spotlight.
Brandon Green (Freshman WR, Minnesota)
- Standing 6’ 0” and weighing 167-pounds, nobody will mistake Brandon Green for the biggest wide receiver in the country. However, he may eventually become one of the best. Back in October of 2007, the dual-sport star (football and basketball) prospect out of Robeson High in Chicago committed to the Gophers over offers from almost every other Big Ten school, including Iowa, Illinois, Michigan State, and Northwestern. Green also brought his high school quarterback, Johnny Johnson, to help the Gophers in their rise back to national prominence.
His superb speed and all-around playmaking abilities will give Green an advantage from the moment he steps foot in Minnesota. He first set the stage for his recruitment in his junior year of high school when he finished the season with 62 catches for 1,875 yards and 21 TD’s. Coming off a great senior year, Rivals.com ranked him as the 39th best receiver in the nation. While speed and home-run-hitting ability are his strengths, he does have a couple of weaknesses. First, his size will not allow him to separate from receivers as easily as a bigger receiver, and he needs to work on running crisper routes. This is where Tim Brewster and his staff will need to earn their coaching stripes.
Green knew from the moment that he committed to the Gophers that he would be calling Minnesota home for the next four to five years. Speaking about how he might fit into coach Brewster’s offensive plans, Green said: “I feel that from the football side I’m a good fit in their offense and I could earn some early playing time.” Turning a Division I program around wasn’t the only major sticking point for Brandon in picking the Gophers. He knew that Minnesota was not only a great athletic institution, but a great academic one as well. “I’ll also get a great education at Minnesota and that was also really important,” Green said in an interview with GopherIllustrated.com in October.
And so it looks like year two of the spread offense in Minnesota will be a much better one thanks to the arrival of players such as Green and his teammate Johnson. Green should immediately become the team’s go-to deep threat in Brewster’s offense and should earn quite a bit of playing time in his first year on campus. After all, the Golden Gophers resurgence could depend on it.