Yes, I know this is technically two freshmen, but it was too hard to choose just one and it would have felt like cheating if I had them occupying two of the three spots on this list. Instead, I have Dont’e Thornton and Troy Franklin at No. 1 together.
Why was it so hard to choose? I’ll answer that question with one of my own: Did you watch the spring game? These guys were both stars. They looked like they were ready to crack that starting rotation by making big play after big play. They were both standing out as favorite targets of Jay Butterfield, Anthony Brown, Ty Thompson, and Robby Ashford.
Franklin was the higher-ranked recruit as a four-star and the No. 40 overall prospect in the nation and Thornton wasn’t too far behind at No. 56 in the country. Franklin was the No. 3 receiver in the 2021 class and Thornton was No. 7.
Both guys should have regular roles in the receiver rotation this upcoming season despite guys like Mycah Pittman, Josh Delgado, Jaylen Redd, Kris Hutson, Devon Williams, and Johnny Johnson all returning. I could see both pushing the two-deep by the start of the season and even earning starting snaps by the end of the year.
These guys are going to be really fun to watch.