Freaks Week: Top 25 ‘Freaks’ in college football for 2015: Nos. 25-21
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, but it starts here with these players:
ALSO: ‘Freaks’ Nos. 20-16
25. (tie) Ian Anderson, Ball State, OT: Not the lead singer for Jethro Tull, but this one is as strong as any player in the MAC. The 6-foot-3, 295-pounder from North Carolina came in as a defensive lineman as part of Pete Lembo’s first class at BSU. Anderson has blossomed thanks in large part to his dogged work in the weight room. He’s a 500-pound bencher, a 605-pound squatter, and he power cleans 385. He also has 24 percent body fat — not too bad for an O-lineman.
25. (tie) Jon Cunningham, Kent State, NT: A former Ohio state high school wrestling champ, the 5-foot-11 1/2, 295-pound sophomore didn’t make this list solely for this video displaying some intensity that could make WWE execs giddy. Instead, it’s thanks to his 700-pound squat, 350-pound hang clean and because the guy isn’t even 6 feet tall but has a 6-7.25 wing span.
24. Will Geary, Kansas State, NT: Another decorated high school wrestler, Geary won two consecutive state wrestling titles in the 285-pound class, and also was the 2013 national champion for the National High School Coaches Association. This guy arrived at K-State as a walk-on and immediately created a buzz inside the program on the scout team, where he more than held his own every day against the Wildcats’ All-American center, B.J. Finney. Word is, no one — including Finney — could handle the 6 foot, 297-pound Geary. As a redshirt freshman in 2014, he won a starting job and led all Wildcat DTs with 30 tackles. The 20-year-old Geary already cleans 392 pounds to go with a 425 bench and can squat 640 (going to parallel.)
23. Carl Lawson, Auburn, DE: A freshman All-American in 2013 after making 7.5 TFLs for the Tigers (he also made SEC First-Year Academic Honor Roll), Lawson missed the 2014 season because of an ACL tear. Teammates say the 6-foot-2, 260-pounder has regained all of his explosiveness and then some. His time of 1.57 for 10 yards would’ve turned heads if he’d have done it at the NFL Combine. (Anything below 1.60 is flying for a D-lineman.) Lawson also is vertical-jumping 36 inches, and he benches 450.
22. Connor McGovern, Mizzou, LT: The son of a bodybuilder from North Dakota, McGovern tore a pec while trying to bench 515 earlier in his career at Mizzou. McGovern is 6-foot-4, 305 pounds, and squatted 690 pounds for five reps. He’s done 40 reps on the bench with 225 pounds. He’s vertical-jumped 34 inches and been timed in the 40 at 4.9. McGovern also can do 18 pull-ups despite weighing more than 300 pounds.
21. Shane Williams-Rhodes, Boise State, WR: The smallest man on our list. The Texan is only 5-foot-6, 173 pounds, but he plays very, very big. He’s already fifth on BSU’s all-time receptions list with 171. Williams-Rhodes makes up for his limited size with some serious explosiveness. His vertical jump is 37 inches; he’s clocked a 4.46 40, and his pro agility shuttle is 3.95 (which would’ve been the fourth-fastest of all the players at the NFL Combine last year). However, the thing that has folks inside the Broncos program saying he’s a Freak is when he back-squatted 500 pounds for a set of three reps.
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, see Feldman’s feature on USC phenom Adoree’ Jackson.