Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski has had yet another incredible recruiting year on the heels of his fifth national title, and the best of the bunch is Oak Hill Academy forward Harry Giles, the consensus No. 1 player in the 2016 class. In 2013, Giles tore the ACL and MCL in his left knee, and in November, he tore his right ACL during his team’s season opener. But as long as his recovery goes as expected, Giles will be the talk of college hoops next season and the No. 1 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft.
Getty ImagesBrace Hemmelgarn
COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Calvin Ridley, Alabama -- age 21
Coming out of high school, five-star wideout Calvin Ridley was the No. 1 receiving prospect in the talent-rich state of Florida, and as a true freshman at Alabama this fall, he’s proved the hype was warranted. Through 13 games this season, Ridley has led all Crimson Tide receivers in catches (75) and yards (893), and is tied for the lead in touchdowns (5). And while ‘Bama -- like most SEC teams -- will have QB question marks after the departure of Jake Coker, Ridley should continue to thrive in Lane Kiffin’s system regardless of who throws him the ball.
Getty ImagesKevin C. Cox
GOLF: Emiliano Grillo -- age 23
At just 23 years old, Emiliano Grillo has already established himself on the Web.com Tour, where, in October, he wrapped up the championship with a 14-under effort at Sawgrass. Then two weeks later, Grillo picked up his first PGA Tour win, beating out Kevin Na in a playoff at the Frys.com Open, and in November, he finished in a tie for fourth at the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai. Recently, Grillo cracked the top 35 in the World Golf Ranking, and if he keeps playing like he has, he’ll only continue to rise.
Getty ImagesCliff Hawkins
MLB: Corey Seager, Los Angeles Dodgers -- age 21
Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager got a brief taste of the majors in 2015 and hit .337 with four homers and 17 RBI in 98 at-bats following his call-up in September. The job should be Seager’s from the start this year, and by all accounts, Seager, who will turn 22 in April, has everything it takes to join Carlos Correa and Francisco Lindor as one of the league's top young players. Seager is big, at 6-4 and 215 pounds, and will hit for power and average, and if you don’t know his name already, you will by the summer.
Getty ImagesSean M. Haffey
NASCAR: Erik Jones, Joe Gibbs Racing -- age 19
At a time when NASCAR has one of the deepest pools of young talent in its history, one guy to keep an eye on is Erik Jones, who at age 19 just won the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship in his first full season. In 2016, Jones will move up to the AAA-level NASCAR XFINITY Series, where he’ll compete for a title with Joe Gibbs Racing, and if all goes as expected, the talented driver will race full time in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in 2017.
Getty ImagesJeff Curry
NBA: Kristaps Porzingis, New York Knicks -- age 20
The No. 4 pick in last June’s draft, Knicks forward Kristaps Porzingis may already be crossing the threshold between relative unknown and rising profile, and if the rookie makes the jump some think he’s capable of, Porzingis may be one of the league’s next big stars by the end of 2016. Only 20 years old, the 'Latvian Dirk Nowitzki' has garnered high praise from seemingly everyone, including Nowitzki himself, and he’s already quieting doubters who questioned New York’s decision to select him in the first place.
Getty ImagesMike Stobe
NFL: Tyler Lockett, Seattle Seahawks -- age 23
A dynamic receiver and return man, Seahawks rookie Tyler Lockett has already established himself as a threat every time he touches the football. He’s Seattle’s third-leading receiver and has also scored on a punt return (in his first career game) and a kickoff (105 yards in Week 3) this season. Originally, coach Pete Carroll planned on using Lockett primarily as a return specialist, but Lockett -- who passed his dad, Kevin, as Kansas State’s all-time leading receiver -- forced Carroll’s hand. And as one of Russell WIlson's favorite targets, he’s put the rest of the NFL on notice, too.
Getty ImagesMaddie Meyer
NHL: Michael Dal Colle, New York Islanders -- age 19
While Auston Matthews, the presumptive No. 1 pick in the 2016 draft, is the obvious choice to become a breakout star on the ice, Michael Dal Colle may very well put himself back on the national radar next season, too. The No. 5 pick in the 2014 draft by the Islanders, Dal Colle is having a down year in the OHL, and he was recently cut by Canada’s world junior team. But he'll turn pro next season, and if the Islanders don’t re-sign Kyle Okposo, Dal Colle may find himself scoring a lot on a line with John Tavares.
Getty ImagesBruce Bennett
SOCCER: Matt Miazga, New York Red Bulls -- age 20
Perhaps the top young defender in MLS, Matt Miazga helped the New York Red Bulls to the MLS Cup semifinals this season and also got called up to the U.S. national team in November. The 20-year-old is a homegrown product who made his MLS debut at 17, and he’s been so good MLS may lose him altogether soon. New York recently exercised Miazga’s 2016 option, so he’s under contract until the end of 2016, but don’t be surprised by a transfer to the Premier League after that -- if he can’t force a sale overseas sooner.
Getty ImagesKirk Irwin
TENNIS: Garbine Muguruza
Of all the promising young players in tennis, 22-year-old Venezuelan Garbine Muguruza may be in the best position to make the leap from being known by tennis fans to being known by everyone. Muguruza broke onto the scene in 2014, when she ousted Serena Williams in the French Open, and this year she reached the Wimbledon final, where Serena returned the favor (Williams also beat Muguruza in the round of 16 at the Australian Open). Still, Muguruza has quietly risen to No. 3 in the WTA rankings and may be poised to win her first Grand Slam in 2016.
Getty ImagesClive Brunskill
UFC: Sage Northcutt
Last year, we tabbed Conor McGregor as the next big thing in UFC, and if anyone’s primed to make a McGregor-like jump in 2016, it’s 19-year-old lightweight Sage Northcutt. Northcutt is 2-0 since joining UFC (he won his first fight in 57 seconds), and in January, he’ll face Andrew Holbrook at UFC on FOX 18. Once chided by Dana White as looking more like a male model than a fighter, Northcutt is a martial arts dynamo and a physical specimen, and odds point to the UFC building him up the same way they did McGregor -- for good reason.
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