2021 college football preseason true freshman All-America team

  • ESPN staff writer
  • Joined ESPN in 2011
  • Graduated from Central Michigan

  • Senior National Recruiting Analyst for ESPN.com
  • Coached in four professional football leagues
  • Graduated from Eastern Kentucky and Marshall

Every college football season, a new batch of true freshmen burst through the door at their respective programs and excel in their first year on campus.

This season, we might see fewer true freshmen make an impact than in years past because the NCAA granted an extra year of eligibility for all athletes who want to take it. That factor along with the increasing popularity of the transfer portal means there aren’t as many voids on rosters as usual.

That doesn’t mean there won’t be opportunities or we won’t see any first-year players make a splash. The 2021 recruiting class had some outstanding prospects ready to contribute to their teams this season.

Here is a look at those players and the preseason true freshman All-America list.

Quarterback

Tom Luginbill: Tyler Buchner, Notre Dame

While Wisconsin transfer Jack Coan has the experience and has been named the official starter, Buchner, the No. 41-ranked prospect in his class, is just too talented to ignore. It wouldn’t be surprising to see plenty of him throughout the year.

Tom VanHaaren: Ty Thompson, Oregon

This one was probably the most difficult position to gauge because there is really good depth across the board. Thompson is probably behind Boston College transfer Anthony Brown, but maybe that changes with fall camp. Thompson had a really good scrimmage for the Ducks recently but has some competition to get to the front of the line. He might not win the starting job, but if he keeps progressing and getting better, there’s a chance he makes an impact.

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