Two breakthrough first-year players have been named to the Freshman All-SEC team for the 2022 season. Running back Trevor Etienne and linebacker Shemar James are being recognized just two days after being Honorable Mentions on the College Football News Freshman All-American team.
Trevor Etienne took the reigns as the Gators' primary running back option later on in the season after splitting duties with Montrell Johnson Jr. for most of the season. Paired with Anthony Richardson's rushing ability, that three-headed monster was the backbone of Florida's offense.
Etienne recorded 704 rushing yards this season, with 129 of those yards coming in a career-high performance against Florida State. He became the fourth true freshman in Florida football history to rush for at least 700 yards, joining Emmitt Smith, Tony Green and Fred Taylor.
Shemar James played in all twelve games for the Gators with three starts. He recorded 40 tackles this season, good for the second-most among true freshman SEC linebackers and sixth-most for the Gators. James' best game came against Eastern Washington, where he recorded a career-high eight tackles. He was one of Billy Napier's best-recruiting wins in his transition class, as the former five-star was considered the No. 3 prospect in Alabama and the No. 6 linebacker nationally, per 247Sports.
Top players like Richardson, O'Cyrus Torrence and Ventrell Miller have declared for the NFL draft and will not be playing against the Oregon State Beavers in the Las Vegas Bowl. Because of that and the over a dozen players that have entered the transfer portal, Etienne and James will play a big role on Dec. 17 starting at 2:30 p.m. EST and broadcast on ESPN.
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Story originally appeared on Gators Wire