I was at UM in the days of freshman football. The NCAA did away with freshman football so that they could be allowed to play on (in those days) the varsity. The red shirt stuff is a crock of isht. They wanted freshmen to play, so let them ALL play and change the rule allowing them to jump to the NFL three years out from their HS class graduation. It should be 4 years, or degree, whichever comes first.
Probably wanted to get a feel for which ones are ready to count on as much-needed depth for the remainder of the season. If they waited for the ACC part of the schedule, they would be experimenting with untested freshmen during crucial conference games.
The rule does not only apply to true freshmen, though. Here are the non-freshman UM players that have yet to redshirt in their career and have played in 4 or less games this season, making them technically still eligible to redshirt this year.
Non-Freshman Redshirt Chart
Ahmmon Richards (Jr.) – 1 (LSU)
Brian Polendey (So.) – 2 (LSU, SSU)
Michael Irvin II (Jr.) – 0