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Big Ten Week 3 Preview: A Key Freshman to Watch for Every B1G Team
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12 Sep 2018 07:05 PM EST

-by Daniel Mogollon, Staff Writer; Image: Penn State receiver KJ Hamler runs by Pittsburgh defenders for touchdown. (Image Source: Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

As we approach Week 3 in the Big Ten, here’s a look at one freshman per team to watch this week and beyond (recruiting rankings per the 247Sports Composite in parenthesis):

12:00 – Kent State Golden Flashes @ Penn State Nittany Lions (FS1)

#1 WR/KR KJ Hamler (No. 323 Class of 2017): The redshirt freshman receiver has been PSU’s most-exciting player through two games. He has their longest pass reception (46 yards), longest return (52), and longest touchdown run (32) with a team-high five plays of 20-plus yards. Not just exciting, Hamler has been very clutch.

12:00 – Rutgers Scarlet Knights @ Kansas Jayhawks (FSN)

#8 QB Artur Sitkowski (No. 395 Class of 2018): A week after getting crushed by Nick Bosa, it appears Sitkowski will be good to go on Saturday. In his debut (Texas State), he completed two-thirds of his passes for 206 yards and a score, however also tossed three INTs. He has the arm, but is turnover prone (4 INTs in 48 passes).

12:00 – Troy Trojans @ Nebraska Cornhuskers (BTN)

#28 RB Maurice Washington (No. 207 Class of 2018): Even if dynamic freshman quarterback Adrian Martinez can’t go on Saturday (“there’s a chance”) the Huskers will have an exciting freshman in the backfield. Washington (50 total yards) created a lot of buzz in training camp and he brings more speed than their other backs.

12:00 – Temple Owls @ Maryland Terrapins (BTN)

#6 WR Jeshaun Jones (No. 751 Class of 2018): While quarterback Kasim Hill is their most important freshman, not many players have started their college careers with a splash like Jones has. On his first three touches, he ran for a touchdown (28 yards), caught a touchdown (65 yards), and threw for a touchdown (20 yards).

12:00 – Ball State Cardinals @ Indiana Hoosiers (BTN)

#21 RB Stevie Scott (No. 1,340 Class of 2018): The reigning co-Big Ten Freshman of the Week rushed for 204 yards on 31 carries for 6.6 yards per carry in his second collegiate game, as he led the Hoosiers to a big win over Virginia in their home opener. Listed as an athlete as a recruit, Scott has established himself as RB1.

3:30 – BYU Cougars @ Wisconsin Badgers (ABC)

#9 FS Scott Nelson (No. 803 Class of 2017): The Badgers have already started four freshmen on the defensive side of the ball this season and Nelson has been the most active of the bunch. His 11 tackles are tied for second on the team, he’s one of three players with an interception, and leads the Badgers with two passes broken up.

3:30 – SMU Mustangs @ Michigan Wolverines (BTN)

#73 OT Jalen Mayfield (No. 268 Class of 2018): The Wolverines have no freshmen starting on either side of the ball, but that could change at some point this season. Mayfield impressed the staff with his play at left tackle in the fourth quarter last week and could see action again this Saturday. Same goes for James Hudson at RT.

3:30 – Illinois Fighting Illini vs. South Florida Bulls (BTN)

#21 CB Jartavius Martin (No. 1,498 Class of 2018): With many experienced sophomores after the Illini started freshmen at a record pace in 2017, not as many freshman will start in 2018. Martin (INT), who joined Vontae Davis as the second true frosh corner to start the first two games for Illinois since 1980, is an exception.

3:30 – Miami (Ohio) RedHawks @ Minnesota Golden Gophers (BTN)

#13 WR Rashod Bateman (No. 367 Class of 2018): The Gophers are very freshmen heavy with their offensive skill players with Bateman the most intriguing of the bunch. The four-star recruit from Georgia is right behind Tyler Johnson with his 10 receptions for 130 yards (13 YPC), including a long of 25 yards.

7:30 – Missouri Tigers @ Purdue Boilermakers (BTN)

#4 WR Rondale Moore (No. 229 Class of 2018): The most electrifying freshman in the Big Ten, Moore has 125 receiving yards (14 receptions), 128 rushing yards (32 yards per carry), and 123 kickoff-return yards for an average of 188 all-purpose yards per game. He will make opposing fans hold their breath when he has the ball.  

7:30 – Akron Zips @ Northwestern Wildcats (BTN)

#29 CB Greg Newsome II (No. 700 Class of 2018): One of several Big Ten freshmen from IMG Academy in Florida, Newsome has emerged to provide some much-needed depth in the secondary. He’s already made seven tackles and recorded two passes defensed while flashing his ability in coverage.  

7:30 – Northern Iowa Panthers @ Iowa Hawkeyes (BTN)

#32 WLB Djimon Colbert (No. 644 Class of 2017): A former cornerback and receiver in high school, Colbert has bulked up to 234 yards, as he’s moved to linebacker since arriving in Iowa City. With Kristian Welch out, Colbert stepped into the starting WILL role against Iowa State and recorded five tackles in his first start.

8:00 – Ohio State Buckeyes vs. TCU Horned Frogs (ABC)

#24 CB Shaun Wade (No. 17 Class of 2017): Their most-exciting freshmen may be on offense, but don’t be surprised if Wade becomes their most impactful first-year player. He already has one of OSU’s two interceptions to go along with five tackles off the bench. The redshirt frosh could be a key cog to the secondary this season.

Daniel Mogollon is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and the Football Writers Association of America. He is also a voter for the Thorpe and the Rotary Lombardi Award, as well as the Latino Sports MVP Awards.

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