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January 18, 2011

Rivals.com Freshman Five-Star Tracker

The signature play of the college football season came from a five-star prospect in the Class of 2010.

Oregon players thought they had tackled Auburn running back Michael Dyer in the final series of the BCS championship game, but Dyer's knee never hit the ground. Dyer got himself back up and ran for a 37-yard gain that set up Wes Byrum's winning 19-yard field goal.

But this class of five-star prospects hasn't produced many other big plays yet.

South Carolina's Marcus Lattimore played as well as any freshman -- true or redshirt -- this season by rushing for 1,197 yards and leading the Gamecocks to their first SEC East title, but he was the only one of the 26 five-star prospects from 2010 to emerge as an instant superstar.

Lattimore and Miami's Seantrel Henderson were the only five-star prospects from 2010 to make the Rivals.com Freshman All-America team.

This class has produced a number of skill-position performers who made immediate impacts. Dyer's big performance in the BCS championship game allowed him to join Lattimore in the 1,000-yard club. California wide receiver Keenan Allen and USC wide receiver Robert Woods also put up big numbers.

But the five-star prospects at other positions needed more time to develop. The only other five-star recruits from 2010 to start at least half their teams' games were Henderson and UCLA defensive end Owamagbe Odighizuwa.

We recap the 2010 performances of each of the five-star recruits in our season-ending Rivals.com Freshman Five-Star Tracker.

Buzz: Powell recorded 16 solo tackles, nine assists, three tackles for loss, one sack and two pass breakups, and he spent about half the season playing linebacker. He made one start on defense, and nine of his tackles came in a late-season game against Appalachian State.
Buzz: Henderson started at right tackle in each of Miami's last nine regular-season games and earned second-team Freshman All-America honors from Rivals.com. Miami improved its offensive production by about 70 yards per game after Henderson moved into the starting lineup. He graded out at 88.4 percent during the regular season.
Buzz: Prater enrolled in time for spring practice to get a head start on his college career, but he struggled with injuries for much of the preseason and ended up redshirting. He should get a chance to compete for a feature role in 2011 as the Trojans attempt to replace Ronald Johnson.
Buzz: Floyd made two starts this season -- including the Outback Bowl victory over Penn State -- and finished with 23 tackles. He recorded eight tackles for loss to tie for fourth on the team in that category. Floyd should move into the starting lineup next season.
Buzz: Listed as a defensive back during the recruiting process, Allen emerged as a standout receiver during his freshman season. He made nine starts and caught 46 passes for 490 yards and five touchdowns. Allen caught a touchdown in three consecutive games during a midseason stretch against UCLA, USC and Arizona State.
Buzz: Woods earned Freshman All-America honors from Rivals.com after catching 65 passes for 792 yards and six touchdowns. He led the Trojans in total catches and receiving yards. He caught 12 passes for 224 yards and three touchdowns in a 37-35 loss to Stanford and had seven receptions for 116 yards and two scores the following week in a 48-14 rout of California.
Buzz: Easley played six games and made four tackles. Easley didn't accompany the team to a win at Vanderbilt for disciplinary reasons, and he was the subject of occasional transfer rumors.
Buzz: Odighizuwa made six starts and delivered 10 tackles -- four for loss -- to go along with three sacks. He had two sacks in a 35-7 loss to California and also produced a sack in the 28-14 loss to USC that closed the Bruins' season. He moved into the starting lineup midway through the season.
Buzz: Rogers finished his freshman season with 11 caches for 167 yards and two touchdowns. He caught a 45-yard touchdown pass in the Music City Bowl loss to North Carolina and had a 22-yard touchdown reception in a 50-14 triumph over Memphis. Five of his 16 catches came in the final two games of the season.
Buzz: Lattimore certainly lived up to the hype. The top running back prospect in the 2010 class rushed for 1,197 yards and 17 touchdowns to make the biggest impact of any freshman this season. He rushed for 212 yards and three touchdowns in a victory over Florida that helped South Carolina clinch its first SEC East title. He reached the end zone three times against Troy and scored two touchdowns each against Southern Miss, Georgia, Alabama and Kentucky.
Buzz: Dyer will live in Auburn lore forever for his unbelievable 37-yard run that set up the winning field goal in the Tigers' 22-19 BCS championship game victory over Oregon. Dyer ran for 143 yards against Oregon to cap a season in which he rushed for 1,093 yards and five touchdowns. He averaged 6.0 yards per carry.
Buzz: Jeffcoat recorded 15 tackles -- six for loss -- and 2.5 sacks to go along with seven quarterback hurries and a fumble recovery despite missing four games with an ankle injury. He should take on a larger role next season as Texas looks to replace star pass rusher Sam Acho.
Buzz: Crisp started at left tackle for North Carolina State's season-opening victory over Western Carolina and served as the second-team left tackle behind senior Jake Vermiglio the rest of the season. Vermiglio's departure gives Crisp a good chance of moving into the starting lineup in 2011.
Buzz: Joyner made 23 tackles this season as a reserve cornerback. He also averaged 20.4 yards on 14 kickoff returns. Joyner recorded his first career interception in a 45-17 victory over Miami.
Buzz: Anderson, who arrived at Miami intending to compete for the Hurricanes in football and track, left the football team in October because he was upset about his lack of playing time. Last week, Miami officials announced that Anderson withdrew from school in December.
Buzz: Hicks had 23 tackles and one sack in a reserve role this season. He had 11 tackles and a quarterback pressure in the Longhorns' 20-13 upset of Nebraska and recorded a sack in the 24-17 loss to Texas A&M that closed the season.
Buzz: After entering the national spotlight during spring practice with a spectacular run that created a frenzy on YouTube, Baxter struggled to make an impact during the season. He ran for 252 yards and one touchdown on 59 attempts. Baxter rushed for 75 yards in an early season win over Washington State, but he had a total of five carries in USC's last four games.
Buzz: Martin, an Oakland native, announced in July that he was transferring from California because he was encountering too many distractions in the Bay Area. He landed at Florida and will be eligible to play this fall, likely as an outside linebacker.
19. LSU ATH Spencer Ware
Buzz: Ware closed his freshman season by rushing for 102 yards on only 10 carries in a Cotton Bowl victory over Texas A&M. Before the bowl game, Ware had only 24 carries for 175 yards. Stevan Ridley's decision to enter the NFL draft gives Ware a chance to emerge as LSU's main running back in 2011, though Michael Ford also will be competing for that role.
Buzz: Jones produced 18 tackles, three sacks and a fumble recovery in a reserve role this season. He likely will move into the starting lineup in 2011 as Florida State attempts to replace Kendall Smith and Mister Alexander at linebacker.
Buzz: Gholston had 13 tackles -- one for loss -- and half a sack to go along with five quarterback hurries as a backup defensive end before suffering a shoulder injury against Minnesota in the 10th game of the season. The injury knocked him out for the rest of the year. Gholston is expected to be ready for spring practice and should compete for a starting job.
Buzz: While his future teammates were driving toward a national championship, Coleman was undergoing treatment for acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Coleman was diagnosed with the disease last spring and just enrolled in school last week with the 2011 early enrollees. He isn't expected to play in 2011, but he could be cleared in time to play the following season.
Buzz: Milliner made 11 starts at cornerback this season and ranked fourth on his team with 55 tackles. He also delivered four tackles for loss, one interception and seven pass breakups. Milliner made a season-high nine tackles in a 28-27 loss to Auburn.
Buzz: Ambles made just one catch all season before being suspended indefinitely in mid-October because he repeatedly was late for team functions. Recent reports had suggested that Ambles was transferring to a junior college, but Ambles tweeted Thursday that he had rejoined USC's team.
Buzz: Elam made 22 tackles -- two for loss -- and one sack while playing primarily in a nickelback role this season. He delivered his first career sack in a loss to Alabama. Elam will enter spring practice as the favorite to replace the departed Ahmad Black as Florida's starting strong safety.
Buzz: Seastrunk redshirted and spent the year on the scout team (he played the role of Michael Dyer in preparations for the BCS championship game). It will be interesting to see how Oregon works Seastrunk into the rotation next season, since the Ducks return LaMichael James (294 carries, 1,731 yards, 21 TDs) and Kenjon Barner (91-551-6).

Steve Megargee is a national writer for Rivals.com. He can be reached at smegargee@rivals.com, and you can click here to follow him on Twitter.

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