Redshirt freshmen have won the past two Heisman trophies. We saw one of them coming and the other was a surprise to pretty much everyone outside his own locker room.
The bottom line is there most certainly is room in college football for impactful first-year newcomers. As spring ball rapidly approaches and a lot of attention is paid to the top true freshmen in the 2014 class, here are the top 10 redshirt freshmen to get to know (listed with their corresponding ESPN 300 prospect ranking from a year ago).
2013 ESPN 300 ranking: 20
I don’t want to heap too much hype on Browne, but he is the closest facsimile in this class to Jameis Winston. He’s a top-flight passer at a big-name school who sat his first fall on campus. Also similar to Winston and Johnny Manziel, Browne has not yet won the starting job and likely will not until preseason camp. And like Manziel in his debut season, Browne welcomes a first-year coach (Steve Sarkisian) with a penchant for offense and developing quarterbacks.