By Michael Briggs @MichaelSBriggs on May 14, 2014
The Big Ten will welcome newcomers Maryland and Rutgers this season after the latest conference expansion, but the Eastern seaboard imports won't be the only fresh faces fans will grow accustomed to in 2014. Here are five breakout stars who you will be hearing about.
Williams, a Minnesota legacy, should already be on your radar after leading the Gophers in receiving yards (417) with 25 receptions (16.7 ypc average) and five touchdowns as a redshirt freshman last season, despite having not one, but two unproductive quarterbacks throwing him the ball. This season, expect All-Big Ten numbers from Williams with another year of experience and hopefully one starting QB for the entire year.
Demetrius Cooper is drawing rave reviews from Sparta after filling out his 6-foot-5 frame. His motor, length and raw talent have been compared to MSU's 2013 Big Ten Defensive Lineman of the Year, Shilique Calhoun, and it's easy to see why after his terrorizing spring game performance. The redshirt freshman will have to split time at defensive end with Calhoun and Marcus Rush, but with less pressure, expect big results.
Clement is another player who will star in a reserve role in 2014, as no one is questioning Heisman hopeful Melvin Gordon's place atop the depth chart. However, with a massive offensive line and a capable workhorse in front of him wearing down defenses, you might as well call Clement the janitor with all the cleaning up he'll be doing. Don't be surprised if the sophomore rushes for 1,000 yards himself this season.
Zettel will move from his backup role the past two seasons to a starting spot at defensive tackle in 2014, which isn't good news for opposing offenses. A converted end, Zettel possesses speed that is just unfair when combined with his 6-foot-4, 280-pound grown man's strength. The Michigan native appears to be PSU's next first-team All-Big Ten defensive lineman, or in other words, the seventh in a row.
Spence has arguably already broken out, recording 51 tackles and eight sacks for Ohio State as a sophomore. However, the likely future first-round NFL draft pick is not done ascending and should become one of the nation's premier defensive players this season. Spence will benefit from playing with several other star defensive lineman, and new position coach Larry Johnson is capable of squeezing every drop of potential out of him.
Michael Briggs is a College Football Writer for Rant Sports. You can follow him on Twitter or Google Plus.
January 30, 2015 by Nick Wilder
Notre Dame’s 2013 recruiting class was one of the top classes in the nation at the time, and it’s certainly turned out to be a solid group thus far. Read More
The 2014 season for Notre Dame was extremely inconsistent, but the Fighting Irish posted a few significant wins that were exciting contests throughout. Read More
January 30, 2015 by RantSports Staff
Isn't it about time Florida State football made adult film star Mia Khalifa Read More
January 30, 2015 by Alex Drude
If he wasn't named Mike Leach, he might have already been fired. If the 2015 WSU season looks like 2014, it might not matter what his name is. Read More
January 29, 2015 by Patrick Leiva
The ACC announced their conference schedule on Thursday, and Notre Dame's opponents should have plenty of preparation time for the Irish. Read More
January 29, 2015 by Nick Wilder
With a few challenging games on the schedule for Notre Dame in 2015, the Fighting Irish have to take advantage of their weaker opponents and win those matchups. Read More
Notre Dame will try to improve on its much-maligned defense in 2015 with help from several critical players who are returning next season. Read More
When Notre Dame faces its ACC opponents in 2015, the Fighting Irish will be at a clear disadvantage in almost all of their matchups. Read More
January 29, 2015 by RantSports Staff
The Texas football team had the honor of working out with comedian Kevin Hart. Read More
January 29, 2015 by Tyler Brett
Art Briles can't let go of how his team missed the 2014 College Football Playoff and it could impact Baylor negatively in 2015. Read More
January 29, 2015 by Shawn Spencer
With signing day less than a week away, time is running out for teams to make final pitches to recruits. Here are five players LSU hopes to have on campus in 2015. Read More
January 28, 2015 by Alex Drude
Matthew Mariota is not a QB, nor does he come with the accolades his older brother did. But if he can play ball, the Ducks will be happy. Read More