It’s tough to determine which freshman are going to see the field before the pads go on, but so far a few freshman have caught the eye of the coaching staff.
Here’s a quick recap of some of the news and notes about this year’s crop of freshman through the first couple of days of practice.
- TJ Jones – Jones was one of the stars of the Blue-Gold game and has shown no signs of slowing down. He is listed as the #2 slot wide receiver behind Theo Riddick to start camp and he was running with the first team before Duval Kamara cleared up his paperwork issue. Looks like we’ll be seeing #7 pretty early this year.
- Lo Wood – Not much has been said about the freshman corner who enrolled in January, but with the news of EJ Banks not being with the team, Wood is going to be thrust into more playing time unless Kelly finds someone to move into the secondary.
- Kona Schwenke – Schwenke bulked up in the off-season and could see the field if pushed into action. Kelly mentioned that the plan wasn’t to play Schwenke early since the staff didn’t think he’d be big enough yet, but the Hawaii native has done enough in the weight room to be ready for playing time if needed.
- Prince Shembo – Kelly mentioned Monday that Shembo might be hard to keep off of the field. Shembo could get a look at inside linebacker as well as outside according to Kelly.
- Austin Collinsworth & Bennett Jackson – Both freshman receivers received some early praise from Kelly.
- Daniel Smith – Kelly said of the South Bend product “He’s a lot more fluid than I thought he would be“. Kelly joked that he was worried Smith would grow into a defensive end, but said
- Tommy Rees – Rees has bulked up since the spring when Kelly said a strong wind might have been able to knock him over. Kelly also said that Rees is throwing the ball better.
- Luke Massa & Andrew Hendrix – Kelly mentioned that both freshmen QBs have “huge upside”.
- Louis Nix – Based on early reports, it looks like Nix is going to have to become best friends with strength and conditioning coach Paul Longo before he is ready to see the field. He checked in at 350 lbs and Bob Diaco wants his nose tackles to weigh in between 290-300 lbs. Other reports suggested that Nix struggled through some of the conditioning drills on the first day of camp.