If you have been frequenting the site since we relaunched, you know I always have an eye on the future (not many others are willing to do 2023 and 2024 mock drafts). My focus has been on the 2022 class, but there have been true freshmen who have been catching my eye and may top their position in for 2024. This week we will do offense, but look forward to defense next week!
Caleb Williams, Oklahoma
When Spencer Rattler was benched for Williams, it gave the Sooners a shot in the arm. A 5-star prospect who is equal parts big arm and athletic talent in his rushing ability, Williams has a ton of upside ability. He single handedly pulled the offense to overcome Texas and dropped over 50 points in 2 of the next 3 games.
He has had his freshman struggles, especially in the loss against Baylor, but the NFL upside has already been showcased. He sits atop my 2024 eligible QB rankings, but still needs progression to remain there. If that happens, Williams could be a similar prospect for former OU QB Kyler Murray and give an offense the shot they need.
Jaxson Dart, Southern Cal
TreVeyon Henderson, Ohio State
There was little doubt the top RB in the 2021 recruiting class would take over the Buckeye backfield rather quickly, but I didn’t expect it to happen by the 3rd game. Henderson has gone wire to wire as my top 2024 eligible RB and his explosive ability with smooth change of direction puts him on a stud like level with prospects such as Saquon Barkley and Ezekiel Elliott.
Ohio State RBs have had a ton of success getting to and making an impact in the NFL, and Henderson is the next one. His power and vision seem to be improving every week, and as he gets involved in the pass game, the sky is the limit.
Braelon Allen, Wisconsin
Jarquez Hunter, Auburn
Raheim Sanders, Arkansas
Alton McCaskill, Houston
Devin Neal, Kansas
Xavier Worthy, Texas
Worthy wasn’t at the top of WR recruit rankings, but his athleticism and upside were talked about plenty going into his freshman year at Texas. Injuries led to opportunity, and he has continued to perform. His 261 yard performance against Oklahoma opened the eyes of the country about Worthy’s body control and speed off the snap as one of the best WRs in the country.
The freshman WR class hasn’t really taken off with many of the top prospects not getting much work, so Worthy has a headstart in proving he is an elite talent with NFL talent. More than any other position, a freshman breakout for WRs means that guy can play in the pros.
Mario Williams, Oklahoma
Brock Bowers, Georgia
Similar to college, high school TEs are going by the wayside. It is tough to recruit and get immediate contributors to the position, but Bowers shocked the world with how Georgia has used him. The Dawgs have been notorious about NOT passing to the TE, but Bowers talent (along with injuries at WR) has made him a consistent target.
With 3 multi-TD game, Bowers is showing red zone prowess as a freshman, but also good hands and an advanced knowledge of the game. His blocking is improving over the course of the season and rings in as my #1 TE for 2024.
Jack Bech, LSU
Joe Alt, Notre Dame
It is rare for a true freshman on the offensive line to be impressive. It is even more rare that a true freshman starts on the Fighting Irish line while being that impressive. Alt has done both, playing Left Tackle and facing some high end pass rushers. Though he hasn’t been perfect, Alt is already playing at a pretty high level with great athletic footwork and improvement week to week at the mental side.
Alt was a high school blocking TE who moved to LT in the middle of a game. Without skipping a beat, he flashed 4-star OT ability. If he is a 3-year stalwart anchoring the Irish blindside, expect him to hold a high draft position when the time comes.
Connor Colby, Iowa
Maybe it is playing next to All-American Center Tyler Linderbaum, but Colby was a 4-star OT who kicked inside to Right Guard upon coming to Iowa. He has that “country strong” attitude that many Hawkeye recruits from in-state have with the ability to maul and help open holes in the run game.
Colby will need to improve his mobility to be a true NFL prospect, but with so few freshman interior lineman playing this year, he tops my 2024 rankings.
Bryce Foster, Texas A&M
Foster has been an absolute stud against future NFL talent this year. Paired with Kenyon Green at Guard, Foster has been able to handle defensive lineman and stop inside penetration. His coming out game against Alabama saw big holes for RB Isaiah Spiller and befuddled commentators wondering how this freshman was manhandling high end Bama recruits.
Foster was a 4-star recruit from Taylor HS and stayed close going to Texas A&M. His skillset of great leverage combined with strong hands has been extremely impressive. The skills are there to be a top NFL Center prospect if he shows he can do it after Green leaves.