Freshman Focus: Week 4

DALLAS (FWAA) – Each week during the 2022 season, we will highlight the notable performances of first-year players and head coaches leading up to the selection of our annual Freshman All-America Team and the Steve Spurrier First-Year Coach of the Year Award presented by Chris Doering Mortgage. Here are the top performances from Week 4, the weekend of Sept. 24:


Charles Arnold Jr., S, Coastal Carolina (5-10, 170, Fairburn, Ga.): 9 tackles, 2 INT, 8 return yards
Arnold Jr.’s interceptions and team-leading nine tackles helped Coastal Carolina beat conference foe Georgia State 41-24 on Thursday night. The redshirt freshman leads the team in solo tackles (14), is tied for the most interceptions (2), and has the second-most total tackles (20). The Chanticleers are the only 4-0 team in the Sun Belt, with the only other undefeated team being James Madison (3-0). Arnold Jr. will need another strong game this weekend against a Georgia Southern team that is averaging 39.8 points per game.

Quinshon Judkins, RB, Ole Miss (5-11, 210, Pike Road, Ala.): 27 rushes, 140 yards, 2 TD, 1 reception, 5 yards
Judkins’ second multi-touchdown game and second triple digit-yard rushing game helped Ole Miss top Tulsa 35-27. The true freshman, part of a talent-packed running back room featuring Zach Evans and Ulysses Bentley IV, leads the Rebels in carries (70), yards rushing (429), and rushing touchdowns (5). Both of Judkins’ touchdowns came during a stretch where Ole Miss (4-0) scored four consecutive touchdowns to finish the first half. The biggest test for the No. 14-ranked Rebels is on tap this weekend, though, with No. 7-ranked Kentucky bound for Oxford.

Drake Maye, QB, North Carolina (6-4, 220, Huntersville, N.C.): 17/32, 301 yards, 5 TD, 13 rushes, 37 yards
Maye continued to impress, keeping his team in the game in a 45-32 loss to Notre Dame on Saturday. The redshirt freshman leads the ACC and all national freshmen in passing yards (1,231) and touchdowns (16). The former four-star recruit’s brightest highlight of the day came on an 80-yard touchdown connection with Antoine Green. The Tar Heels (3-1) will try to start conference play with a win against a struggling Virginia Tech team at home.

Jaydn Ott, RB, California (6-0, 205, Chino, Calif.): 19 rushes, 274 yards, 3 TD, 2 receptions, 10 yards
Ott made his case for his third Pac 12 Freshman of the Week award in four weeks after running California past Arizona in a 49-31 win. The true freshman’s 463 rushing yards lead the Pac 12 and as well as all FBS freshmen. The speedy former four-star talent ripped off a 73-yard touchdown on the second play from scrimmage and another 72-yard score to put the Wildcats away. Ott will try to run rampant again for the Golden Bears (3-1) against a Washington State front that has allowed just one rushing touchdown this season.


Kalen DeBoer, Washington: Washington earned its first 4-0 start since 2017 with a 40-22 division victory over Stanford. DeBoer’s high-octane offense generated 478 total yards, led by Michael Penix Jr, who threw for 309 yards and two touchdowns. Penix Jr. also leads the country in passing yards. The Husky defense was far from perfect, but a couple of fumble recoveries and an interception kept the Cardinal in check.

Joey McGuire, Texas Tech: McGuire’s Red Raiders beat then-No. 22-ranked Texas in Lubbock for the first time since 2008. The 37-34 overtime upset also marked the first Big 12 win of McGuire’s career. Donovan Smith led the Texas Tech (3-1) offense, completing 38 passes for 331 yards and two touchdowns. Trey Wolff, who converted all three of his field goal tries, knocked through a 20-yarder in overtime to ice the win. 

Clay Helton, Georgia Southern: Helton’s Eagles notched their third win of the year, a 34-23 win over Ball State. Georgia Southern (3-1) also matched its 2021 win total with the victory on Saturday. Kyle Vantrease led the Eagle offense with 26 completions for 310 yards passing and two touchdowns. Georgia Southern’s defense gave up 496 yards of offense, but limited Ball State to just six third down conversions in 15 attempts.

Marcus Freeman, Notre Dame: Entering as 2.5-point underdogs, the Fighting Irish overcame some offensive struggles early in the season and handed North Carolina its first loss of the season by a 45-32 count. Quarterback Drew Pyne was sharp leading the offense, completing 24 passes for 289 yards and three touchdowns. Audric Estime was excellent on the ground, rushing for 134 yards and a couple of scores on 17 carries. Notre Dame (2-2) outgained the Tar Heels 576-368 in the win.

Founded in 1941, the Football Writers Association of America consists of journalists, broadcasters, publicists, photographers and key executives in all areas of college football. The FWAA works to govern media access and gameday operations while presenting awards and honors, including an annual All-America team. For more information about the FWAA and its programs and initiatives, contact Executive Director Steve Richardson at 214-870-6516 or