Drake Maye, Harold Perkins lead the best freshmen in college football

North Carolina quarterback Drake Maye is in the midst of an outstanding freshman campaign, ranking first among all FBS signal callers with 34 passing touchdowns and third in passing yards with 3,412.

According to FOX Bet, Maye currently has the fourth-highest Heisman odds at +600, trailing only Ohio State QB CJ Stroud (+150), Tennessee QB Hendon Hooker (+400), and Michigan RB Blake Corum (+550).

But is Maye the best freshman in college football this season?

FOX Sports College Football Analyst RJ Young touched on this topic in a recent episode of his podcast, “The Number One College Football Show.”

LSU’s Drake Maye and Harold Perkins lead the best freshman in college football

LSU's Drake Maye and Harold Perkins lead the best freshman in college football

FOX Sports’ RJ Young is joined by producer Tyler to discuss fans’ answers to RJ’s question, “Who is the best freshman in college football this season?”

When asked about Maye and where the UNC QB got on his roster, Young had the following to say.

“Drake Maye is a guy that we weren’t sure would even be the starter in August,” Young said. “He’s come in in such a great way. If they end up winning the ACC Championship Game, I think it’s probably going to end up being him because he’s going to be the only freshman QB with a Power 5 championship to his credit.”

Young went on to explain how Maye, a four-star prospect from Charlotte, North Carolina, initially committed to Nick Saban and Alabama before switching his commitment to UNC.

“Drake Maye moved from Alabama to UNC, so it’s not like people don’t know about him,” Young said. “It’s about whether or not he was going to leverage his talent on him, and he did that in a very real way.”

But while Maye has been the clear answer when it comes to the most impressive freshman quarterbacks in college football this season, there is a linebacker playing for Brian Kelly and the #1 LSU Tigers. 6 which was just as impressive.

Harold Perkins, who was a five-star prospect and the #1 linebacker in the nation coming out of high school, according to 247Sports.com, enjoyed an incredible freshman season.

He had a historic performance in the Tigers’ 13-10 win over Arkansas last weekend, recording eight tackles, four sacks and two forced fumbles.

What made the performance even more impressive was that Perkins did it all while sick with the flu.

“I said after JT Tuimoloau had his standout game against Penn State he was in the running for the Bednarik Award,” Young said. “I think, frankly, Harold Perkins did the same thing on Saturday. LSU didn’t beat Arkansas. If you watched the game, you know it was Harold Perkins who beat Arkansas.”

While Maye and Perkins are certainly among the best-performing freshmen in college football this season, they’re not alone.

Here’s a look at many more freshmen enjoying amazing campaigns.

Penn State LB Abdul Carter: This talented freshman has a shot at being the next great linebacker to move through Penn State. He ranks second on the team in both tackles (44) and sacks (3.5). The former four-star rookie also forced two fumbles on a defense that allows only 19 points per game.

Miss R.B Quinshon Judkins: Judkins is among the best running backs in all of college football, regardless of class. He currently ranks tenth among all FBS players with 1,171 rushing yards and is fifth in rushing touchdowns with 15.205 yards outing and two touchdowns in a 31-28 win over Texas A&M.

Baylor R.B Richard Reese: This freshman running back has a shot at being a nationally known name if he can lead Baylor to an upset victory over No. 4 TCU this weekend. In 10 games this season, Reese has totaled 852 rushing yards and 13 rushing touchdowns, which ranks eighth among FBS players. The freshman’s best game came in Week 8 when he rushed for 186 yards and two touchdowns in an impressive 35-23 victory over Kansas.

Penn State R.B Nick Singleton: A five-star recruit and the top running back prospect in the class of 2022, expectations were high for Singleton when he arrived on the Penn State campus. Through 10 games this season, Singleton has certainly lived up to the hype. He has 851 yards and 10 rushing touchdowns and is coming off arguably the best game of his young college career, a 122-yard outing and two touchdowns against Maryland. Singleton has a shot at being the next great running back to play at Penn State, joining a long list of stars that includes the likes of Saquon Barkley, Larry Johnson, Curtis Enis and former #1 draft pick Ki-Jana Carter.

Georgia db Malaki Starks: When you play for the best defense in college football and lead the team in both tackles and interceptions, you’ll have a spot on this list. Starks wasted little time making an impact as he recorded an acrobatic interception and eight tackles in his first college appearance against Oregon. Since then he has been a standout on the Bulldogs defense, recording 44 tackles and two interceptions on a unit that is holding opposing offenses down to just 11.6 points per game.

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