08 Oct Rush Report: Freshman Trio
Rush Report: Freshman Trio
Much has been made about the transfer portal and its effect on college football. While its had pros and cons, one thing that cannot be debated is that the running back position remains as competitive as ever nationwide. These freshman running backs have yet to face the prospect of the transfer portal, and with their electric freshman starts, it’s not likely a prospect they’ll ever face.
Big things were to be expected from Treveyon Henderson when he was voted the 2019 Gatorade Player of The Year in Virginia and went on the become the number one running back recruit in the 2021 class. Despite losing his senior year due to Covid-19 Protocols in Virginia, he bulked up to a solid 215 pounds. Henderson’s first career catch went for a seventy-yard touchdown against the Minnesota Gophers while he only amassed three total touches, fans and rivals got a glimpse of the home run ability he possesses. In week two, Oregon upset the Buckeyes and held Henderson to a more atypical performance. But in week 3, Henderson’s touches more than tripled and Tulsa suffered the full brunt of the Buckeyes bounce back. It took Henderson a mere three games to put his name in Ohio State lore, gashing Tulsa for 277 yards and three touchdowns. In his first career start, Henderson broke a 49-year-old record previously held by Archie Griffin. Henderson currently leads the Power 5 averaging almost 10 yards per carry. Henderson has supplanted the likes of Master Teague and Miyan Williams on the depth chart and could look to supplant bigger names as the best running back in the country by season’s end.
Not far from the aforementioned DMV talent, our next freshman is another former Gatorade Player of The Year 2019, North Carolina winner, Will Shipley. Shipley is a relatively local product to Clemson hailing from Weddington, North Carolina . While Henderson has taken the college world by storm, Shipley has not had the most seamless transition. He faced arguably the most daunting task you could get in week one of the college football season as we have repeatedly seen the Georgia defense gridlock offenses week in and week out. But he bounced back in week two against South Carolina State amassing over 100 scrimmage yards and two touchdowns. He followed that up with a repeat two-touchdown performance against Geoff Collins’ Yellow-Jackets. Shipley also earned his first career start in his third game, but struggled in the tightly contested loss to NC State. Not only did Shipley struggle, but he ended the contest with a knee injury that will keep him sidelined for 3-4 weeks. But a bye this week will cushion that blow to the team. Barring any setbacks, Shipley should be returning in time to face Louisville on November 6th.
Both of the previous players were able to ascend their respective depth charts in a matter of weeks and become the lead back. While the last freshman doesn’t have that luxury, a committee approach will help him avoid some of the possible wear and tear of the job. Tank Bigsby is frequently mentioned as one of the top backs in the country and it won’t be long before his freshman running mate Jarquez Hunter enters that convo if he continues at this pace. Hunter is a rather storied recruit in his own right. His 93 career touchdowns broke the 40-year record held by Marcus Dupree (89) who previously broke the record held by Herschel Walker. Hunter showed a physical, yet elusive aptitude on his way to back-to-back 100-yard performances against Tulsa and Alabama State. On limited snaps and opportunities, Hunter is averaging almost 9.5 yards per carry. Georgia will bring its hellacious defense to Auburn next week and this tandem has the talent to challenge Georgia. This will be one of the more star-studded matchups of the week. Only time will tell how these talented backs fare versus that stalwart Georgia defense.
This trio of freshmen have faced their fair share of challenges from the depth chart to injuries. But in this small sample of the 2021 campaign, they have shown themselves not to be greenhorns but true bluebloods at the running back position. The next piece will highlight Georgia Tech’s sophomore running back Jahmyr Gibbs, Colorado’s Jarek Broussard, the aforementioned Auburn Tiger Tank Bigsby, and lastly Texas Christians’ Zach Evans.
A Journalism major, Trevon was born and raised in Duval county, making his football alliances conveniently adjacent as a Jags and Gators fan.
His passion is scouting college athletes and projecting them to the pros, and Trevon hopes to one day be a team scout, beat writer, or analyst.