In a year that lacked an overwhelming offensive performance by a freshman, it appeared time to look to the defensive side of the ball. There, we found a player worthy of the MaxPreps National Freshman of the Year award.
Defensive lineman Nicholas Bosa played a key role for Florida Class 7A state champion St. Thomas Aquinas, posting one of the finest ninth grade seasons in the state of Florida in years.
The 6-foot-2, 215-pound Bosa had more than 50 tackles and six sacks for one of the nation's top programs. He already has an offer from Ohio State, the school to which older brother Joey made a verbal commitment last spring.
He could develop into one of the best players to emerge from Aquinas, which has been an NFL factory over the years.
Bosa headlines a talented group of young players on the 2012 MaxPreps Freshman All-American Team.2012 MaxPreps Freshman All-American Football TeamFirst Team DefenseNicholas Bosa, DL, 6-2, 215, St. Thomas Aquinas (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)
The younger brother of Ohio State commit Joey Bosa recorded 51 tackles (20 TFL) and six sacks for the Class 7A state champion.Curtis Beamon, DL, 6-2, 275, Huffman (Birmingham, Ala.)
An All-Area pick, Beamon dominated to the tune of 15 sacks playing for Class 6A Huffman.Michael Carter, DL, 6-3, 280, Jackson (Ga.)
Carter started every game at defensive tackle for Jackson and projects to be the program's next big recruit.Jared Goldwire, DL, 6-6, 260, Lakes (Lakewood, Wash.)
One of the most physically intimidating freshmen in the country, Goldwire appears further along than either Zach Banner or Benning Potate'o.Xavier Gaines, LB, 6-3, 210, Frostproof (Fla.)
Gaines accounted for 16 touchdowns on offense but, like Angel, is even more dominant on defense.
Tuf Borland, LB, 6-1, 200, Bolingbrook (Ill.)
Bolingbrook has become a bastion of talent, and Borland could be the next blue-chipper. He started at linebacker for one of the top programs in Illinois.Gabe Angel, LB, 6-2, 215, Wilson Central (Lebanon, Tenn.)
made waves last spring when he received an offer from Mississippi State
as an eighth grader. He had a solid reason at running back, though he
likely projects as a linebacker in college.Shaq Quarterman, LB, 6-2, 215, Oakleaf (Orange Park, Fla.)
When he wasn't playing fullback, Quarterman was busy tallying 80 tackles for Oakleaf.
Devin White, ATH, 6-3, 180, North Webster (Springhill, La.)
starred at both running back and linebacker. On defense, he made 78
tackles and recorded five sacks. He intercepted two passes and returned
them both for touchdowns.Stephen Davis, DB, 6-3, 180, Dutch Fork (Irmo, S.C.)
The son of the former NFL running back by the same name, Davis was a physical presence in Dutch Fork's secondary, helping him earn multiple scholarship offers.
Khalil Ladler, DB, 5-11, 175, Stephenson (Stone Mountain, Ga.)
Perhaps the top freshman defensive back in the country, Ladler is an excellent cover corner, breaking up seven passes in seven games.Cooper Clark, DB, 5-10, 170, Jordan (Sandy, Utah)
teammate of last year's National Freshman of the Year Austin Kafentzis,
Clark made 107 tackles and intercepted seven passes for the Class 5A
state champs.Ben Sukut, DB, 6-1, 170, Capistrano Valley Christian (San Juan Capistrano, Calif.)
Sukut had a game that most players on dream about, returning four interceptions for touchdowns in a single half