You don't expect a squatty, 255-pound defensive tackle to be a difference-maker as a true freshman, but that's exactly what Kent State's Roosevelt Nix did this season.
Nix was the MAC's defensive player of the year, making him the obvious choice as the league's freshman of the year. Nix led the league with 10 sacks and with 20 tackles for loss, and he was a major reason the Golden Flashes finished fifth in the nation in rush defense. Nix also had 43 total tackles, eight quarterback hurries, four forced fumbles, two blocked kicks and two pass breakups.
Miami of Ohio wide receiver Nick Harwell is our top offensive freshman. Harwell finished second on the league-champion RedHawks with 57 catches, 785 receiving yards and five TD receptions. Harwell, a true freshman, got off to a slow start, with just two catches in the first five games. But he became a vital part of the offense in the second half of the season, including a 219-yard effort against Ohio U. He also had a 125-yard game vs. Bowling Green.
Rather then bypass some deserving candidates, we decided not to be position-specific (i.e., guards, tackles) on our all-freshman offensive line.