Freshman Class: Immediate Impact, Future Promise

Tulane's freshman class has had a bigger impact in its rookie season than any of coach Chris Scelfo's three previous classes.

And some impact players have redshirted and are preparing to bolster this class and the team as a whole in the near future.

Four players in particular – defensive lineman Taurean Brown, cornerback Jeremy Foreman, safety Terrence Peterson and offensive tackle Derrick Rogers – have redshirted this season with the expectation that they will be significant contributors during the next four years.

Brown (6-foot-6, 270 pounds, Katy, Texas) was capable enough to play as a freshman, but with the experience and depth the Green Wave has on the defensive line, it would have been a waste to use a year of eligibility with so many players ahead of him on the depth chart.

With all four starters graduating after this season, Brown should see extensive playing time next season and might even contend for a starting position.

Foreman (6-2, 164, Lutcher High School) is one of the freshmen the coaches are most excited about: "We're very high on him," Associate Head Coach/Recruiting Coordinator Giff Smith said. "With Lynaris Elpheage returning for his senior season at left cornerback, and with the experience Sean Lucas has gained at nickle back and inbacking up senior Jeff Sanchez on the right side, Foreman will have to fight for a starting position next season, but he'll definitely be in the mix."

Peterson (5-11, 190, Alvin, Texas) "is one of the most physical players we signed," Smith said. Peterson recently underwent surgery to clean out an old wrist injury, but that shouldn't be an issue. With both starting safeties – Quentin Brown and Adrian Mitchell – graduating, Peterson will have a good opportunity to compete for a starting position.

Rogers (6-5, 315, St. Amant High School) will move right into the mix next season on an offensive line that has gone through a baptism of fire this season. Right guard Seth Zaunbrecher's graduation guarantees one new starter and the youngsters on the line, who have had mixed results this season, will be tested by Rogers, who's expected to play tackle, and others.

The other redshirts are:

Chris Beckman (6-2, 190, Grenada, Miss.), who will replace Seth Marler as the Green Wave punter next season; Demiah Freeman (6-0, 220, Titusville, Fla.), who should be in the rotation at linebacker; Mark Burgess (6-5, 290, Odessa, Fla.), who will join the competition on the offensive line; Quintin Jones (6-0, 215, Henderson, Nev.), who will play catch-up to fellow freshman Tye Graham in backing up senior-to-be Kris Coleman at a fullback, a position virtually overlooked in Tulane's offense; and Beau Stubbs (6-1, 180, Salmen High School), will try to work his way up the depth chart at linebacker.

Quarterbacks Billy Don Malone (6-2, 190, Blossom, Texas) and Nick Cannon (6-3, 200, Hahnville High School), who will try to stake their claim to being the heir apparent as J.P. Losman enters his senior season.

That brings us to the three players most responsible for the impact this freshman class has had – linebacker Anthony Cannon (6-0, 210, Stone Mountain, Ga.), Lucas (5-11, 175, Lithonia Ga.) and wide receiver Damarcus Davis (6-0, 180, Shreveport).

Cannon leads the team and is second in the country in tackles (84) among freshmen. He could be settled in at weakside backer things could get interesting if Brandon Spincer regains his eligibility.

Lucas has joined in the points parade on defense, scoring twice on interception returns and once on a fumble return as the regular nickle back and as Sanchez's backup.

Davis' rise up the depth chart was accelerated by the injuries to older wide receivers. He has started five games and has 17 catches for 215 yards and two touchdowns. He also has three rushes for 11 yards.

Ten other freshmen have played this season without having the impact of the three standout freshmen.

A season-ending injury to top wide receiver Roydell Williams and other less-severe injuries at the position brought about unexpected playing time for Bubba Terranova (6-3, 185, Salmen High School) and Gary Malone (6-1, 205, Blossom, Texas).

Terranova has played in five games and caught three passes for 25 yards but has been slowed by injury. Malone, who started out on special teams, is running second team behind Tristan Smith but hasn't caught a pass yet.

Also running second team as skill players on offense are running back Jovon Jackson (5-11, 206, St. Petersburg, Fla.), tight end Jerome Landry (6-4, 240, Holy Cross High School) and Graham (6-2, 245, Kingwood, Texas), who also can play tight end.

Jackson is the second-leading rusher on the team (27 carries, 126 yards, 4.7 average, one touchdown). Landry has caught three passes for 23 yards and two touchdowns. Graham has one carry for six yards and hasn't caught a pass.

Three freshmen have played as backups on the offensive line – Donald Madlock (6-4, 300, Tyler, Texas), Robert Hand (6-6, 250, Spring, Texas), and Will Blaylock (6-3, 300, Tyler, Texas).

Madlock is the heir apparent to Zaunbrecher, Smith said Hand, who's backing up Jimmy Kosienski at right tackle, can be a very good player if he works hard in the weight room, and Blaylock is backing up Brendon Drysdale at center.

Defensive end Michael Roberts (6-3, 245, Houston) has overcome the logjam of upperclassmen to reach the second team, backing up Kenan Blackmon. "Michael forced himself into the mix," Smith said. "We would have liked to have redshirted him, but he did too good a job. We had to play him."

Defensive back Tommy Griffin Jr. (5-11, 190, Tyler, Texas) has played mostly on special teams).

"This group is very mature and very much team-oriented," Smith said. "Some are used to playing a lot and haven't been able to play as much and yet they're still very positive and very much into everything we're doing."

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