As things roll into the second month of the college football campaign, players and teams are starting to emerge. One of the more interesting subplots in any given season is seeing which newcomers are making an impact. While the transfer portal has affected how teams manage and improve their rosters, building through recruiting is still very important. Most teams have played around five games for far this season. Now is a good time to look to see which SEC freshmen are making a name for themselves in 2021.
Top Five SEC Freshmen So Far in 2021
Maason Smith – Defensive Tackle – LSU Tigers
The Louisiana native was rated as the best defensive lineman in the 2021 class out of high school. He has wasted no time in making his presence felt for the Tigers and in opposing backfields. Smith is one of the biggest SEC freshmen at 6’6” 290 pounds. He and sophomore Jaquelin Roy have formed a formidable duo along the LSU defensive front. Smith had three sacks in a week two victory over McNeese State. As he gets more accustomed to the speed and physicality of the SEC, his production and impact will continue to grow. For now, he has the potential to be an anchor for Ed Orgeron’s defense over the next few seasons.
Tysheem Johnson – Defensive Back – Ole Miss Rebels
The Rebel defense needed plenty of help after last season. They have improved mightily through the first four games of 2021, and part of that is because of their freshman safety. Johnson has been on the field from the jump this season. He had eight tackles in the week one blowout of Louisville. Johnson is fourth on the team in total tackles. This Ole Miss team is trying to elevate itself into one of the better programs in the difficult SEC West. Improving their defense is key to that. Johnson gives coach Lane Kiffin a player to build the secondary around.
Dominic Lovett – Wide Receiver – Missouri Tigers
After not getting a catch in the first game of the season, the St Louis native has had multiple catches in each of the four contests since. His best game came in the Tigers win over Southeast Missouri State. Lovett had four catches for 79 yards and a touchdown. A smaller receiver, Missouri needs to try and get him the ball in space so he can utilize his quickness. He is fifth on the team in receptions and has one carry for eight yards. Lovett is one of a trio of freshman pass catchers for the Tigers along with Chance Luper and Mookie Cooper.
Jarquez Hunter – Tailback – Auburn Tigers
No SEC freshmen have been more explosive than last year’s Mr. Football from the state of Mississippi. The first-year tailback has been explosive every time he has touched the ball for Auburn this season. He has 42 carries and six receptions and is averaging 10 yards per touch. Hunter has a combination of power, balance, and shiftiness that coaches salivate over. Tank Bigsby is looked at as one of the best tailbacks in the nation, yet this freshman has proved too good to keep off the field. He has been so valuable, that he was in the backfield on the game-winning drive at LSU this past weekend. Hunter was handed the ball to score the winning touchdown.
Brock Bowers – Tight End – Georgia Bulldogs
The four-star recruit from was not supposed to be much of a factor heading into the season. However, injuries ahead of him on the depth chart open the door for him to have an opportunity. He has taken that chance and made himself a crucial part of the number two ranked team in the nation. Bowers leads the Bulldogs in receptions, yards, and touchdowns through five games. He has proven to be a reliable option for both quarterbacks that Georgia has used this season. His route running is excellent and he has shown good ability after the catch. Bowers has solidified himself at tight end for the Bulldogs and has become one of the top weapons in this offense.