How many of you out there knew who Johnny Manziel was this time last year?
If you are raising your hands, you are either a big-time Texas A&M fan or a liar. Each and every year, the nation’s big-time recruits are poked, prodded, dissected and finally, projected into what roles they will play and what types of numbers they will put up in their first years on campus.
However, if these five- and four-star recruits do not make the immediate impacts of guys like TJ Yeldon (1,108 yards, 12 TDs as a freshman with Alabama), Amari Cooper (1,000 yards, 11 TDs with Bama) or Devonte Fields (10 sacks with TCU), then they are largely forgotten.
Not here, and not by ESPN’s Travis Haney, who compiled his list of the top 10 potential breakout stars of the 2013 college football season.
Did any of your favorite team’s players make the list?
10. Jonathan Gray, RB, Texas Longhorns — 2012 Numbers: 701 yards, three touchdowns
9. Ronald Darby, CB, Florida State Seminoles — 2012 Numbers: 22 tackles, eight pass breakups, one forced fumble
8. Barry Sanders, RB, Stanford Cardinal (yes, the Barry Sanders’ son) — 2012 Numbers: Redshirted
7. Geno Smith, CB, Alabama Crimson Tide — 2012 Numbers: Nine tackles, two pass breakups
6. Rushel Shell, RB, Pitt Panthers — 2012 Numbers: 641 yards, four touchdowns
5. Mario Edwards Jr., DE, Florida State Seminoles — 2012 Numbers: 17 tackles, 1.5 sacks
4. Shaq Thompson, LB, Washington Huskies — 2012 Numbers: 74 tackles, 2 sacks, 1 fumble recovery, 3 interceptions
3. Trey Williams, RB, Texas A&M Aggies — 376 yards, five touchdowns
2. Nelson Agholor, WR, USC Trojans — 340 yards, two touchdowns
1. Dorial Green-Beckham, WR, Missouri Tigers — 28 catches, 395 yards, five touchdowns
Mizzou struggled mightily in 2012, the Tigers’ first as members of the SEC. Bringing in Green-Beckham prior to the year was a coup of sorts, as the young man was rated as one of the nation’s top recruits prior to the year. Fans did not hear much from him as a true freshman.
But that should not be the case in 2013.
The same might just be said for the rest of the uber-talented young student-athletes on this list.
However, the fun part for us will be seeing who succeeds and who needs more work.
So who do you think will be college football’s breakout star in 2013?
As always, if you think a player deserves to make this list, sound off in the comments below!