College Football 2022 Preseason: Freshmen Who Will Make an Impact

College Football 2022 Preseason: Freshmen Who Will Make an Impact
© USA Today

The 2022-23 college football begins at noon ET on Aug. 27, with Austin Peay traveling to take on Western Kentucky. 

With the season so close, an entire recruiting class will be playing their first-ever college football games over the next few weeks. 

The caliber of players coming into the college football ecosystem varies, from five-star recruits to taking those taking the lone offer they’ve received. 

With so much unknown, it can be difficult to gauge who will carry their high school production into college. However, 247Sports has put together a list of players to make up its Preseason True Freshman All-America Team. 

Here, we’ll look at some of the top incoming freshman in college football 2022, weighing their position, the team they’re going to, the potential upside for performing this season, as well as the odds for these freshman’s teams for the National Championship, Conference, Division, and Win Totals. 

 

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Cade Klubnik, QB, Clemson

If things fall just right for this start recruit and Clemson, we could see Klubnik come in and be the best freshman in college football this year. 

Last season, incumbent starting quarterback DJ Uiagalelei struggled, throwing for 2,058 yards and nine touchdowns. He added four touchdowns on the ground, but the once thought future first-round pick still has one last chance to show his value to NFL scouts.

However, Klubnik, the 6-foot-2 gunslinger from Austin, Texas, could see the field if he struggles.

At Westlake High School, Klubnik threw 43 touchdowns in his senior season with just three interceptions. 

Per 247Sports, Clemson coach Dabo Swinney has said that Klubnik will be ready if called upon.

The Clemson Tigers are +1000 to win the National Championship and -130 to win the ACC, per DraftKings.

Could Klubnik come in for relief of Uiagalelei to save the season? 

It’s possible. 

National Championship Odds: +1000

Conference Winner Odds: -130

Division Winner Odds: -240

Regular Season Win Line: 10.5

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Nick Singleton, RB, Penn State

Nick Singleton, the No. 1 recruit at his position in the country, enters a running back room at Penn State that isn’t exactly that of the Saquon Barkley days. 

In 2021, the leading rusher for the team was Keyvone Lee, who had just 104 rush attempts for 495 yards and two touchdowns. 

Across 14 players to accumulate rushing statistics, the combined stat line was 339 carries for 1,482 yards, 11 touchdowns, and 12 fumbles.  

This line is not uncommon for the top running backs in the country by themselves.  

After posting 22 touchdowns on 107 carries in his junior season, Singleton had over 2,000 yards on the ground with 41 touchdowns as a season — he earned the No. 1 overall running back recruit role. 

Singleton might need to earn his stripes and play a few home whiteout’s at Penn State. Still, the Shillington, Penn. native could easily take over as the team’s leading rusher sooner rather than later because of the lack of competition.  

Is this Barkley 2.0? 

National Championship Odds: +10000

Conference Winner Odds: +1500

Division Winner Odds: +900

Regular Season Win Line: 8.5 

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Travis Hunter, DB, Jackson State

How does the No. 1 recruit in the country, per 247Sports, end up at Jackson State? 

Well, Travis Hunter’s new coach at Jackson State is Hall of Fame cornerback Deion Sanders.  

On signing day, Hunter opted to go with Jackson State over Florida State and has since signed NIL deals, including one with the digital banking platform Greenwood.  

Per On3, his NIL valuation is about $570,000 as of July 2022.  

All this aside, Hunter might end up hurting his future NFL prospects unless he absolutely dominates — which he should.  

Across three seasons in high school, the 6-1 Hunter had 19 interceptions, but he also played receiver, where he had 85 catches for nearly 1,300 yards and 12 touchdowns.  

He’s dominant when it comes to getting the ball in his hands, and when he does, he’ll make the opposing team pay dearly. 

He should shine at Jackson State and eventually transfer to a bigger school to improve his draft stock. 

National Championship Odds: N/A

Conference Winner Odds: N/A

Division Winner Odds: N/A

Regular Season Win Line: N/A

 

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Luther Burden, WR, Missouri

It’s been a rough time lately for Mizzou fans. Their Tigers have not won double-digit games since 2014 and have gone over a .500 winning percentage twice. 

While one player can’t make the difference, bringing in the Illinois product Luther Burden will undoubtedly give the Tigers a reliable receiving option. 

Standing 6-2 and weighing 200 pounds, Burden had 20 touchdowns in his senior season at East St. Louis High School, where he also played basketball. 

With Connor Bazelak headed to Indiana, it’s looking like Brady Cook will be the starter.  

Cook played in two games last season and only had 24 pass attempts.  

Looking at the receiver depth chart from last year, Mizzou will be without their two top pass catchers, running back Tyler Badie and wide receiver Keke Chism, who left school for the NFL (Badie is on the Ravens).  

This opens up plenty of opportunities for Burden, who, in the SEC, will face some of the best programs in the country, such as Georgia, in Week 5.  

Burden could be limited in his potential upside with Cook at quarterback. Against Georgia, he’ll face defensive backs such as Kelee Ringo and Kamari Lassiter. They both performed quite well in 2021-22, with Lassiter entering his first season as a full-time starter.  

If Burden can put on a good performance over the next three years against these prominent programs, he’ll look to have promising draft stock in the future.  

National Championship Odds: +50000

Conference Winner Odds: +30000

Division Winner Odds: +8000

Regular Season Win Line: 5.5 

 

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Kelvin Banks, OL, Texas

Kelvin Banks looks like he might be a great way to build the program. 

The current left tackle for the Longhorns is Andrej Karic. Last season Karic, for the lack of a phrase, performed terribly. 

In his lone start, Karic played right tackle and allowed four total pressures with one being a sack.  

This is not a case of Banks sitting behind a top-tier left tackle prospect — he could be asked to step in and play right away. Even if it’s not at left tackle, the Longhorns are looking to fill out the depth chart across the entire offensive line, really.

Banks, one of the top tackle prospects in the country, if called upon, could face Alabama in Week 2. 

From there, the Longhorns will face some teams with intriguing NFL edge-rushing prospects, including Felix Anudike-Uzomah from Kansas State.  

National Championship Odds: +5000

Conference Winner Odds: +290

Division Winner Odds: N/A

Regular Season Win Line: 8.5 

 

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Jake Johnson, TE, Texas A&M

With only senior Max Wright ahead of him on the depth chart, freshman Jake Johnson has an opportunity to begin carving out his legacy for the Aggies right away. 

Wright has never been involved in the Aggies offense, having four receptions since joining the team in 2018.

One of the top options for the team last year, tight end Jaylen Wydermyer, has gone to the NFL.  

Johnson, 6-6 and 230 pounds, may not have the weight yet, but he has the physique for the college game to be a legitimate receiving threat for this offense that looks to be led by Haynes King.  

Wright has been around for some time, but Johnson is the future, and coach Jimbo Fisher will want to see it in-game action as he’s a college football top freshman.  

National Championship Odds: +2500

Conference Winner Odds: +1800

Division Winner Odds: +700

Regular Season Win Line: 8.5

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