The True Freshman Report: Colorado’s Jordyn Tyson enjoys ‘superstar’ status in Week 9

It’s been a long season for Colorado.

The Buffaloes fell to 1-7 after Saturday’s 42-34 loss to Arizona State.

But at least there’s Jordyn Tyson to cheer for.

The former three-star recruit from Allen, Texas, led all true freshmen in receiving yards last week with five catches for 115 yards and a touchdown. He also ran back a punt 88 yards for a score.

“I think Jordyn Tyson’s a superstar,” interim coach Mike Sanford said. “I think he’s going to be a superstar in this conference for a while. I think he’s gonna have a tremendous career in the game of football. What I love about Jordyn is I think he has kind of embodied a little bit of the culture that we’ve brought forth — just the juice, the joy, the smile that he has on his face at practice. He’s an infectious guy.

“I think he is turning into a sure-handed player, an explosive playmaker for us and, frankly, we need it. It’s been a great emergence for us offensively.”

Tyson’s 333 yards receiving and three touchdown catches lead the Buffaloes, who have the 126th-ranked scoring offense (16.3 points per game).

Tyson caught 80 passes for 1,518 yards and 12 touchdowns as a senior at Allen, a state power, but Colorado was his only Power 5 offer. The other suitors: Colorado State, New Mexico, Texas State, Tulsa, Campbell, Incarnate Word and Sam Houston.

“There is definitely a chip on my shoulder, knowing that I didn’t have the offers that I thought I should have,” Tyson told BuffStampede.com in August. “But it pushed me to become a better player. I knew I could compete with anybody, even if you are a four- or five-star.”

Here are some other true freshman standouts from Week 9:

Quarterbacks

Texas A&M’s Connor Weigman showed Aggies fans what the future might bring — and what might’ve been this season had Jimbo Fisher gone to him earlier — in Saturday’s 31-28 loss to Ole Miss. Weigman completed 63.6 percent of his passes for 338 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions to easily post the best QB rating for an Aggies passer since the season-opening win against Sam Houston State.

“You can ruin a guy a lot quicker than you can make a guy when they’re a freshman like that,” Fisher said of why Weigman wasn’t given an opportunity to start earlier. “Everybody wants to throw them in there. You’ve seen in the NFL when they throw rookies in there, there are some teams that aren’t doing as well and things. But I love him. I knew he’s going to be a good player. I said it all along. Hopefully, it’s the right timing for him to play and he keeps playing like he’s playing. I love him to death.”

Weigman made Ole Miss pay for bringing the blitz — connecting on 9 of 11 attempts for 133 yards and two touchdowns when the Rebels brought an extra pass rusher. When pressure got to Weigman, he was 4 of 10 for 68 yards and a touchdown and was sacked twice. Texas A&M ran play-action on only four of his 47 dropbacks.

NC State’s MJ Morris didn’t start in the Wolfpack’s 22-21 come-from-behind win against Virginia Tech, but it’s hard to imagine he won’t be starting going forward. He completed 20 of 29 passes for 265 yards and three touchdowns in relief of Jack Chambers. NC State quarterbacks had thrown only two touchdowns combined in their three previous games. Morris was 7 of 10 for 65 yards and two touchdowns against the blitz.

“There’s some promise for the future at quarterback, it’s pretty exciting with what he has done in really only a week and a half of reps,” NC State coach Dave Doeren said postgame.

Another true freshman set to move into the starting role is SMU’s Kevin Jennings. He came off the bench in the second half and helped lead the Mustangs to a 45-34 win at Tulsa, completing 8 of 11 pass attempts for 91 yards and a touchdown after Preston Stone went down.

UConn’s Zion Turner improved to 4-4 as a starter with a 13-3 win against Boston College. He was 11 of 19 for a season-high 173 yards and a touchdown. He also had 10 rushing attempts for 32 yards.

Southern Miss’ Zach Wilcke improved to 5-2 as a starter after a 39-24 win against Louisiana. He was 8 of 17 for 137 yards and two touchdowns with an interception.

New Mexico State’s Gavin Frakes improved to 3-1 as a starter with a 23-13 win at UMass. He was 7 of 13 for a season-low 29 yards passing and ran for 28 yards on a day the Aggies turned to junior Diego Pavia to save the day. Pavia threw for 194 yards and two touchdowns off the bench.

Temple’s E.J. Warner fell to 1-5 as a starting quarterback but threw for a season-high 276 yards and a touchdown (with two interceptions) in a 27-20 loss to Navy. He was sacked three times.

Louisiana Tech’s Landry Lyddy lost 42-34 in double overtime in his first start. He finished 28 of 40 for 256 yards with no touchdown passes or interceptions. He did run for a touchdown.

Georgia Tech’s Zach Pyron was 18 of 28 for 198 yards and a touchdown off the bench in his first action of the season. He was sacked three times.

Running backs

Ole Miss’ Quinshon Judkins became the first true freshman to crack the 1,000-yard mark when he ran for a season-high 205 yards and a touchdown in a 31-28 win against Texas A&M.

Judkins forced 13 missed tackles, according to Pro Football Focus, and averaged 4.25 yards after contact on 34 carries.

True freshman rushing leaders

Player

  

Tm

  

G

  

Att.

  

Yds

  

Avg.

  

TD

  

Quinshon Judkins

9

180

1,034

5.7

13

Richard Reese

8

152

791

5.2

12

Jaydn Ott

8

117

675

5.8

5

Nicholas Singleton

7

96

606

6.3

7

CJ Donaldson

7

87

526

6

8

Damien Martinez

8

79

517

6.5

5

Kaytron Allen

7

90

472

5.2

5

Ashton Jeanty

8

82

400

4.9

5

Trevor Eteinne

8

64

387

6

4

Samuel Brown

7

86

374

4.3

3

Omarion Hampton

8

78

358

4.6

6

Kaleb Johnson

8

75

353

4.7

3

Jovantae Barnes

7

72

316

4.4

4

Jaylen Jenkins

8

47

306

6.5

1

Victor Rosa

8

85

300

3.5

4

Baylor’s Richard Reese, meanwhile, ran for three touchdowns and 148 yards on 36 carries in a 45-17 win at Texas Tech. It’s the third 100-yard rushing performance of the season for Reese.

West Virginia’s CJ Donaldson had his fourth 100-yard rushing performance in a 41-31 loss to TCU. He finished with 104 yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries but sustained a lower leg injury in the second half. Coach Neal Brown said he isn’t optimistic.

Six other true freshmen scored rushing touchdowns: Arkansas’ Rashod Dubinion (5 carries, 11 yards, 2 TDs), Boise State’s Ashton Jeanty (9-37-1), Florida’s Trevor Etienne (11-53-1), Appalachian State’s Kanye Roberts (11-57-1), Penn State’s Kaytron Allen (12-76-1) and Utah’s Jaylon Glover (20-76-1).

Penn State’s Allen and USC’s Raleek Brown also caught touchdown passes.

Receivers/tight ends

Texas A&M’s Evan Stewart took the season lead for catches away from Vanderbilt’s Jaylen McGowan with six catches for 88 yards and a touchdown in a loss to Ole Miss. He was the only true freshman to catch more than five passes for the week.

True freshman leading receivers

PLAYER

  

TM

  

POS

  

G

  

TGT

  

REC

  

YDS

  

TD

  

Evan Stewart

WR

7

71

38

478

2

Jayden McGowan

WR

7

48

34

389

2

Tetairoa McMillan

WR

8

63

31

532

6

Kobe Prentice

WR

8

35

28

279

1

Antonio Williams

WR

8

34

29

364

2

Barion Brown

WR

8

40

26

362

2

Luther Burden III

WR

8

44

24

185

2

Jaydn Ott

RB

8

31

24

143

2

Dane Key

WR

8

30

21

330

3

Mason Taylor

TE

8

32

19

178

1

Jordyn Tyson

WR

8

38

17

333

3

Donovan Green

TE

8

19

17

193

1

Matthew Golden

WR

6

29

17

233

2

RJ Maryland

TE

7

21

15

169

2

Dillon Bell

WR

8

20

15

150

2

Tiaquelin Mims

WR

5

21

15

241

1

Five other receivers/tight ends who scored touchdowns: UConn’s Justin Joly (1 catch, 62 yards, TD), Texas A&M’s Noah Thomas (1-2-1), Colorado State’s Justus Ross-Simmons (1-76-1), Auburn’s Camden Brown (4-83-1) and Southern Miss’ Tiaquelin Mims (3-69-1).

Offensive line

The top five graded offensive linemen to play at least 15 snaps were Missouri tackle Armand Membou (71.3 PFF grade, 23 snaps), FIU left guard John Bock II (64.7, 77 snaps), Akron left tackle Kamarii Landers (61.7, 62 snaps), Arizona right guard Jonah Savaiinaea (59.4, 75 snaps), and Arkansas State left tackle Aleric Watson (58.9, 60 snaps).

PFF’s top graded true freshman OL

Player

  

Tm

  

POS

  

Starts

  

Snaps

  

OVR

  

RUN

  

PASS

  

Will Campbell

LT

7

473

68.7

64.3

71.9

Blake Miller

RT

8

556

67.4

72.8

62.4

Kelvin Banks

LT

8

524

65.9

58.6

76.6

Tyler Booker

LG

0

220

64.2

57.5

86.7

Jonah Savaiinaea

RG

8

547

61.7

52.5

77.1

Emery Jones

RT

6

477

60.8

67.3

52.6

Pichon Wimbley

LG

8

519

59.3

52.9

73.4

Kamarii Landers

LT

3

178

59

58.4

55.9

Kam Dewberry

LG

2

194

54.4

61.6

32.1

Van Wells

LG

5

299

53.1

51.2

64.4

FIU’s Bock (73.2) and Missouri’s Membou (72.2) earned the highest marks for run blocking.

Middle Tennessee right guard Keylan Rutledge (86.1) and Arizona’s Savaiinaea (79.4) graded out best for pass blocking.

Front seven

Stanford edge rusher David Bailey was one of four true freshmen to record sacks. Bailey had nine tackles, a sack, a forced fumble and five quarterback pressures in a 38-13 loss to UCLA. His 20 pressures this season are second only to the 22 by Illinois’ Gabe Jacas.

True freshman pass rushing leaders

Player

  

Tm

  

POS

  

Snps

  

PR

  

PRP

  

Scks

  

Harold Perkins

LB

61

18

17.2

2.5

Dani Dennis-Sutton

Edge

72

16

13.2

3

Gabe Jacas

Edge

121

22

11.2

4

Nyjalik Kelly

Edge

57

9

9.6

3

Dasan McCullough

Edge

99

12

9.1

4

Derrick Moore

Edge

62

9

8.9

2

David Bailey

Edge

151

20

8

1.5

Sterling Webb

DT

113

14

7.1

1.5

Cam Robertson

Edge

78

10

7.1

1

Mykel Williams

Edge

119

14

6.7

2

Tyre West

Edge

62

7

6.5

1

Miami edge rusher Nyjalik Kelly picked up his third sack of the season in a 14-12 win against Virginia. Kelly ranks fourth in PFF’s pass-rushing productivity ratings (9.6) among true freshmen to play at least 50 pass-rushing snaps.

Georgia defensive lineman Mykel Williams picked up his second sack of the season and had three tackles and three quarterback pressures in a 42-20 win against Florida.

Penn State linebacker Abdul Carter had four tackles, a sack and three quarterback pressures in a 44-31 loss to Ohio State.

FAU linebacker Jaylen Wester led all true freshman linebackers this week with 11 tackles in a 24-17 win against UAB.

Defensive backs

There were no interceptions among true freshmen, but Virginia Tech cornerback Mansoor Delane did force a fumble in a 22-21 loss to NC State. Monsoor also had 10 tackles, a sack and two pass breakups in his first start.

Boston College cornerback Amari Jackson had his best performance in a 13-3 loss to UConn, his third start. Jackson was targeted four times in pass coverage and allowed only two catches for 11 yards and had two pass breakups. Jackson and Delane were the true freshman defensive backs with more than one pass breakup.

Georgia Tech safety Clayton Powell-Lee led the week in tackling with 14 in a 41-16 loss to Florida State.

Special teams

Virginia’s Will Bettridge and Iowa’s Drew Stevens each connected on four field goals last week.

Bettridge was good from 27, 24, and 41 yards twice in overtime in a 14-12 loss to Miami.

Stevens was good from 29, 24, 24 and a season-best 54 yards to help guide Iowa to a 33-13 win against Northwestern.

FAU’s Riley Thompson booted the longest punt of the season by a true freshman — a 71-yarder — in a 24-17 win against UAB. Thompson, a native Australian, posted the week’s top net average (50.9) with five punts pinning UAB inside the 20.

Colorado’s Tyson had the only punt or kick return for a score.

(Photo of Jordyn Tyson: Pac-12.com)

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