With the news of Peppers and Morgan getting a medical redshirt, it got me thinking about who of our current players saw action as true freshmen, and whether or not in hindsight it was a smart decision. I left out players who played as true freshmen but ultimately received a redshirt at some point (Morgan, Darboh, Peppers, Richardson).
Shane Morris (Jr): Was thrust into the backup position in 2013 for multiple reasons (Bellomy injury, no QB in 2012 class). He saw time stepping in for Gardner when he lost his helmet, and started the BWW Bowl. He was not redshirted out of necessity, and laregly based on what we saw this year, he could have used an extra year of development.
Derrick Green (Jr): Was the top rated RB in the '13 class. Started to show flashes towards the end of the season once his conditioning improved. Was the backup for most of the season, and started a few games at the end. His experience seemed to help him as he looked pretty promising this season at times before injury. Based on that, it was probably the right decision.
DeVeon Smith (Jr): At the beginning of 2013 season it didn't make much sense to burn his redshirt as he was behind Fitz, Drake, Green, Rawls, and Hayes; and we did not take a RB in the 2014 class. He saw pretty much exclusive special teams duty until later in the season. Looked like our best RB against OSU and ran with more power than Green. That experience seemed to help him out of the gate this season as he competed for the starting spot; eventually getting it after Green's injury. At the time burning his redshirt didn't make a whole lot of sense, but now with Isaac and the glaring evidence that Smith is who he is (good short yard back who runs with power but lacks speed) it isn't detrimental that he burned his RS.
Freddy Canteen (So): Massive-hype out of camp about him. Saw some time at WR making little impact. Too early to say whether or not he should have RS this past season.
Damario Jones (Jr): Appeared to be the WR with the most upside from our not-so-exciting class of '13 receivers. Did not contribute on offense. Only time his name was called was when a punt bounced off his leg vs UCONN and when getting a personal foul vs MSU. Jones doesn't appear to be a major contributor, so it is tough to say whether or not a redshirt would have made much of a difference.
Dennis Norfleet (Sr): Brought some excitement to our KR game as a true freshman, but ultimately didn't have too much of an impact as a true frosh. Dileo/Gallon could have done what he did in the return game in '12. Should have redshirted
Jake Butt (Jr): Strong production as a true frosh. Saw increased duty once Funchess moved to WR.
AJ Williams (Sr): Saw time at TE as frosh being used primarly as a blocker. Has been underwhelming in 3 seasons so far. At this point, he is who he is, and a RS would not have probably made much of a difference.
Mason Cole (So): Played exceptionally well for a true frosh at LT. Appears to be headed for All-B1G in the coming years.
Mario Ojemudia (Sr): Lack of depth led for him to have to play in the rotation back in '12 even though he was extremely undersized. Looking at DE depth it would be nice to have him as a RS Jr right now.
Taco Charlton (Jr): Same as Ojemudia. Would be nice to have him as a RS So now, but lack of depth led to him playing (sometimes quite well) as a true frosh.
Bryan Mone (So): Made an impact as true forsh. Appears to have a bright future ahead.
Ondre Pipkins (Sr): Another highly-touted recruit who saw quite a bit of action in his first season. Injuries have played a major part in his career.
James Ross (Sr): Rotation LB as true frosh. Showed a lot of potential (which he hasn't really improved on a whole lot in the past two seasons)
Joe Bolden (Sr): Same as Ross. Showed potential as freshman, has turned out to be a solid LB.
Ben Gedeon (Jr): Showed flashes as a true frosh, but looking at our LB depth, would be nice to have him with 3 yrs of eligibility left.
Royce Jenkins-Stone (Sr): To be honest, I don't remember him even seeing the field at all in '12. Should have redshirted.
Jourdan Lewis (Jr): Rotation CB in '13. Experience appeared to help him a lot for '14.
Channing Stribling (Jr): Like Lewis, saw quite a bit of PT as frosh in '13. Seemed to show flashes of potential. Playing time diminished this season.
Delano Hill (Jr): Only memorable moment from playing in his freshmen season was throwing a punch at an OSU player. Should have RS.
Dymonte Thomas (Jr): Super-hyped player out of HS. Made next to no impact as a frosh. Hard to believe he is a junior now.
Jarrod Wilson (Sr): Saw some time backing up Kovacs in 2012. Looking at how thin our depth is at Safety after this year, and judging by the minimal impact he made as a freshmen, it would be nice to have him as RS Jr now.
I know this is all hindsight, but I thought it was interesting to see how many of our players saw action as true freshmen, and how in some cases their contribution was minimal. I think with a largely upperclass team this year, we will not see as many true frosh playing this season, and hopefully as we move forward.