I spoke to an NFL scout last week who said he would likely give Clemson true freshman WR Sammy Watkins a first-round grade if Watkins were eligible for the 2012 draft. That's praise I rarely hear for a true freshman.
It got me thinking about some of the best freshman I've seen on tape this year, so I've decided to take a week off from focusing on 2012-eligible prospects to highlight some potential down-the-line NFL stars.
This is certainly not an all-encompassing list. It includes only the freshmen who have stood out most on the tapes I've studied this fall, both for college football prep and while evaluating eligible prospects for next year's draft. Let me know via Twitter (@McShay13) if I am missing the boat on some deserving candidates, and if there's overwhelming response for one or two players I will study their tape and respond with a draft blog post next week.
For now, here are the freshman who have caught my eye thus far:
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