Freaks Week: Top 25 ‘Freaks’ in college football for 2015: Nos. 20-16
For more than a decade we’ve been spotlighting the biggest "Freaks" in college football — those guys who are the top workout warriors in the sport or the guys who possess some rare physical abilities that wow folks inside their programs. Our Top 25 countdown comes thanks to the input of many coaches, players and sports information directors around the country. The countdown to No. 1 continues through the week, and here are Nos. 20-16.
ALSO (ICYMI): ‘Freaks’ Nos. 25-21
20. Ryan Norton, Clemson, C: The Tigers starting center turned heads recently when a video of him bench-pressing 640 pounds (with a little bit of help from his spotter) went online. Norton also did that super-heavy bench with the aid of a “shoulder-saver” as Tiger strength coach Joey Batson explained, which helps the linemen work on their six- to eight-inch punch without much risk of injury. The 290-pound Norton, who arrived at Clemson weighing around 240, is a 500-pound bencher, the coach said, adding Norton also has put up 225 as many as 37 times.
19. Tony Brown, Alabama, CB: The 20-year-old sophomore doesn’t just have some of the best hairstyles in college football (see below); he’s also one of the fastest hurdlers in the country. Before arriving in Tuscaloosa, Brown ran a personal best of 13.38 in the 110 hurdles at the Texas Relays in 2013, the top time in the country that year. In January, Brown won the 60-meter hurdles title at the Vanderbilt Invitational with a time of 7.89 seconds. A few months back, the 6-foot, 195-pounder earned First Team All-America status by running the lead leg for the Tide’s 4×100-meter relay team that finished eighth at the 2015 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Oregon.
18. Jalen Hurd, Tennessee, RB: A former blue-chip recruit who had a terrific freshman debut for the Vols, expect Hurd to really, really take off this fall. The 6-3 ball-carrier has muscled up to 242 pounds, but Vols coach Butch Jones said Hurd still moves — and looks — like he’s only 220. Hurd squats 605 pounds, broad-jumps 10 feet, 2 inches, and clocked a blazing 4.02 in the pro agility shuttle. The only RB at the NFL Combine who clocked a faster time was former Nebraska star Ameer Abdullah, a 205-pound back.
17. Kemoko Turay, Rutgers, DE: As a freshman last season, the 6-6, 240-pound Turay had 7.5 sacks and blocked three kicks. Not bad for a guy who played only one season of varsity high school football. According to RU head coach Kyle Flood, Turay vertical-jumps 40 inches, runs the 40 in the 4.6 range and has gained 30 pounds since arriving at Rutgers.
16. Kyle Friend, Temple, C: One of several holdovers from last year’s Freaks list, the 6-2, 305-pound senior continues to wow folks inside the Owls program. This offseason, Friend — a guy who has started 33 consecutive games — benched 225 pounds 46 times and also ran the 40 in 4.95 seconds.
"Kyle is the strongest player I’ve ever coached," said Temple head coach Matt Rhule, a former NFL assistant.
"He is also the best combination of strength and speed I’ve ever coached."
On top of that, Friend has a 3.35 GPA in business management.
Bruce Feldman’s Freaks Week countdown continues through Friday and resumes Monday, when the top five Freaks are unveiled. Check back each day for the next five players on the list. For more Freaks content, check out Nos. 25 through 21, and see Feldman’s feature on USC phenom Adoree’ Jackson.
Bruce Feldman is a senior college football reporter and columnist for FOXSports.com and FOX Sports 1. He is also a New York Times Bestselling author. His new book, "The QB: The Making of Modern Quarterbacks," came out in October 2014. Follow him on Twitter @BruceFeldmanCFB.