Ranking the top 10 redshirt freshmen 

February, 9, 2011
02/09/11
2:47
PM ET

With spring football not too far off for some schools (the first schools kick things off Feb. 16), it's time for a sneak peek at some freshmen who redshirted last fall but have generated plenty of buzz within their programs, and figure to do big things in 2011.

One note: I'm only including freshman redshirts here, not transfers such as one-time Texas Longhorns wide receiver Dan Buckner, who is now with the Arizona Wildcats.

1. Rod Smith, RB, Ohio State Buckeyes

Look out -- there is another tall Buckeyes running back talent with a track background set to give Big Ten defenses nightmares. This Smith, no relation to colleague Robert Smith, to whom the young Smith bears resemblance, is a 6-foot-3, 220-pound bruising back who had to wait for a few weeks into fall camp while the NCAA approved his transcript, which made the coaching staff's decision to redshirt him easier.

However, by the time bowl practices began, Smith had wowed a lot of his teammates with his work at practice. With Brandon Saine graduating and Dan Herron sidelined for five games to open the season, Smith, who some around the program compare in style to Beanie Wells, is a very strong option for Jim Tressel.


To read the rest of Bruce Feldman's list of the top redshirt freshmen heading into the 2011 season, including looks at the guy who could win Alabama's starting QB job and an impact wide receiver at USC, become an ESPN Insider today.

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