#CFBrank outsiders could still rise


Who believed Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston would win the Heisman Trophy before the start of the 2013 season?

Who had former Missouri defensive end Michael Sam as an All-American?

ESPN.com is counting down the top 100 players in college football this week, but there are plenty of other players who might be poised for breakthrough seasons in 2014. Here are 10 players who might become household names before season's end:

Trenton Brown, OL, Florida

Florida's myriad injuries on the offensive line were a big reason it finished last season with a 4-8 record, its worst finish since a winless campaign in 1979. Among the 15 players who suffered season-ending injuries were offensive tackles D.J. Humphries and Chaz Green and guard/tackle Tyler Moore.

If not for the injuries up front, Brown, a transfer from Georgia Military Academy, might have redshirted in his first season at UF. But he was forced to start at right tackle in the final five games after Moore was hurt in a scooter accident. If Brown plays up to his potential this coming season, the 6-foot-8, 350-pound senior might become one of the SEC's best offensive linemen. He's slated to start at right guard and will be a load for interior defensive linemen to try to move.

Greg Bryant, RB, Notre Dame

Bryant was one of the country's most prized running back prospects when he signed with the Fighting Irish before the 2013 season. He had two carries in the season opener against Temple and one rush against Purdue. Then Bryant missed the rest of the season with a knee injury, and the Irish struggled to run the ball without him.

Bryant is healthy again and wowed Irish fans by running for 105 yards on 12 carries in the spring game. He'll battle Cam McDaniel and fellow sophomore Tarean Folston for carries during preseason camp. Bryant has improved as a pass catcher, and he might emerge as Notre Dame's No. 1 back this coming season.

Theiren Cockran, DE, Minnesota

If the Gophers are going to continue their surprising ascent under coach Jerry Kill, they'll need Cockran to continue disrupting opposing offenses. Last season, he had 30 tackles, 7½ sacks and 10 tackles for loss and led the Big Ten with four forced fumbles. He'll have to do it this season without All-Big Ten selection Ra'Shede Hageman, so he might see more double-team blocking than he did in 2013.

Cochran weighed about 190 pounds when the Gophers recruited him out of Homestead, Florida. He's added about 60 pounds in his first three seasons, so he's continuing to grow into the position.

Tevin Coleman, RB, Indiana

Coleman, a junior from Tinley Park, Illinois, is certainly flying under the radar at Indiana, which isn't exactly known as a football hotbed. But Big Ten defensive coordinators probably cringe every time he touches the football in coach Kevin Wilson's offense. Last season, Coleman ran for 958 yards with 12 touchdowns, despite missing the last three games with an ankle injury.

  • 1
  • |
  • 2
  • |
  • 3
Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...