Here at 5 Yard College, we strive to keep you up to date with the most intriguing players in the college game before they enter the draft. Below are four skill position players that you may not yet be familiar with, but you will be by the time the NFL Combine rolls around. In this article, we have a dual threat quarterback transfer to kick things off. That is followed by two Day 2 bargains at the running back and wide receiver positions. Then it ends with a monster of a Tight End with the potential to go on Day 1.
The QB – Jamie Newman, Georgia (Redshirt Senior)
Jamie Newman has transferred from Wake Forest to Georgia for his last year of college ball. Newman is a typical dual threat quarterback, precisely the sort of QB we have seen flourish in the league in recent years. He and stellar wideout Sage Surratt led the Demon Deacons to an 8-5 record in the ACC last year, behind playoff finalists Clemson and second placed Louisville.
Standing at 6’4” and 230 lbs, Newman is a powerful rushing threat. Think more Josh Allen than Lamar Jackson. Similarly to Allen, he has a less impressive pass completion percentage than his draft classmates, with just 60.9% of passes completed in 2019. He did however throw for 2,868 yards and 26 touchdowns, adding 574 yards and 6 touchdowns with his feet.
The move to a bigger name on the college stage in Athens could work wonders for his draft stock. Georgia will be hoping to elevate their quarterback play from the safe game management style of Jake Fromm, who left for the NFL and the Buffalo Bills in April. Whether or not the program can adapt to Newman’s distinct style of play remains to be seen.
Three things stand in Newman’s way. First is the loss of his favourite receiver Sage Surratt, a powerful and speedy deep threat receiver that he has left behind in his home state of North Carolina. Secondly is the challenge of walking into a new college program and a new scheme, which Newman will have to learn within the confines of a global pandemic. Finally, and most crucially, he faces competition for his starting spot with recent transfer J.T. Daniels from USC. Daniels was expected to redshirt (sit out) a year as a result of his transfer, but was granted immediate eligibility to play in 2020. Most expected Newman to start this year with Daniels waiting in the wings to take over in 2021. Daniels is a solid pocket passer, much closer to what Bulldogs Head Coach Kirby Smart was used to with Fromm.
Way-too-early Draft prediction: Day 3 (Early Round 4)
The RB – Max Borghi, Washington State (Junior)
Max Borghi is a small, versatile back playing at Washington State in the Pac-12 conference. His versatility, and playing on the West Coast, has drawn comparisons to Christian McCaffrey. In fact, it seems as though Borghi can’t get away from people talking about C Mac. In fact, I challenge anyone to watch Borghi’s tape without hearing McCaffrey’s name. It is easy to see why.
Borghi had just 817 running yards from 127 carries in 2019, but his numbers are significantly boosted by his contributions in the passing game. He had a stunning 86 receptions for 597 yards, taking him to over 1,400 yards and 16 total touchdowns for the year.
Borghi is the best pass-catching back in the college game, and his versatility will sit well with NFL scouts. It is perhaps unfair to compare him with the best running back currently in the game, but it is a cross he has to bear. If Borghi can have a big Junior year, you can bet that there’ll be a lot of interest in his performance at the Combine.
Way-too-early Draft prediction: Day 2 (Late Round 2)
The WR – Tamorrion Terry, Florida State (Redshirt Junior)
Somebody needs to tell Terry McLaurin that his nickname has been stolen from him. There’s a new Scary Terry in town, and he’s much scarier than the original. This guy is huge, standing at 6’4” and weighing 203 lbs. It isn’t quite DK Metcalf proportions (who weighed in at the Combine at 239 lbs), but this is a wide receiver that any cornerback will have nightmares about facing.
Terry is the centrepiece of a poor Seminoles offence, hence why he is lesser known than some of his positional rivals. He hasn’t been asked to run many different routes. A look at his game tape from 2019 will tell you that Terry is the deep threat on the team. Don’t let his size fool you – Terry has the speed to blaze past defenders. He doesn’t just rely on his huge catch radius to haul in the ball. He is a superb athlete, and has the ability to make defenders miss on intermediate routes. Whether he has the explosive speed to create separation on shorter throws remains to be seen.
Terry has elements of his game that needs polish, but this could be remedied by the arrival of new Head Coach Mike Norvell. Norvell ran a fast paced, pro-style offence in Memphis before taking the job in Tallahassee. If Terry continues to be the cornerstone of the offence, it will answer a lot of questions surrounding him.
Way-too-early Draft Prediction: Day 2 (Late Round 2)
The TE – Pat Freiremuth, Penn State (Junior)
As far as nicknames go, there aren’t many that come with more pressure than “Baby Gronk”. On the one hand, the comparison has thrust Pat Freiremuth’s name into the light. On the other, it has set an incredibly high bar when it comes to expectation. It seems as though the New England native enjoys the attention – he even wears the #87 jersey. Freiremuth is a big guy, and I mean big. He is 6’5” and 250 lbs. The comparisons with the best Tight End of recent times doesn’t end there. For a man of his size, he moves with impressive speed. You can rely on his hands to make a range of catches.
He managed 507 yards from 43 catches in 2019 on a Penn State team that went 11-2. This was enough to finish second in the Big Ten conference, behind Ohio State. Freiremuth chipped in with 7 touchdowns, an impressive return at the position.
Freiremuth does have two years of eligibility left, and this year’s Tight End class is particularly deep. It certainly eclipses the seeming lack of talent in the 2020 Draft class, anyway. To that end, he may well delay his declaration for the Draft for another year. Whenever he does enter the league, NFL defences be warned. It is going to take more than one defender to stop this juggernaut.
Way-too-early Draft Prediction: Day 1 (Late Round 1)
These guys should be kept an eye on as we head into the season
-Tom Scott @downthemannyrd