Joshua Dobbs, Jamal Adams and O.J. Howard named as breakout stars
One of the most entertaining aspects of the college game is the unpredictability of some players to develop into future stars of the game. While many players come out of nowhere to shine for their teams, NFL.com predicts three SEC players that are on the verge of stardom.
Quarterback, Joshua Dobbs - Tennessee Volunteers
Many are predicting a breakout season for the Vols, as the team appears to be taking steps closer to contention in the SEC East. If the team is to fulfill such lofty expectations, it will be in large part due to the efforts of their junior signal caller. Dobbs first action of the last season came following a shoulder injury knocked out starting quarterback Justin Worley for the season. Behind the sophomore Dobbs, the team finished 4-1 in their last five games including a 45-28 victory over Iowa in the TaxSlayer Bowl.
The extra month's worth of preparation appeared to pay huge dividends for Dobbs especially, and with an entire offseason to gain first team reps his progression should only continue. With a plethora of receivers to throw to and a tandem of running backs that match any in the SEC, Dobbs could lead the Volunteers out of the cellar and into the driver seat in the SEC East.
Safety, Jamal Adams - LSU Tigers
The talented freshman unexpectedly worked his way into the Tigers talented and deep secondary a season ago, as he was too good to keep off the field. Former defensive coordinator John Chavis even compared Adams to former Tennessee safety and fifth overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft Eric Berry. With an amazing skill set few players possess, Adams is expected to start for the Tigers this season after losing Jalen Collins to the NFL this offseason. Adams entered his first college offseason knowing he can play at a high level in the SEC, now he must continue to work and progress his game in order to reach the level that his coaches know he can achieve. Look for Adams to continue on the rich tradition of LSU as DBU.
Tight end, O.J. Howard - Alabama Crimson Tide
The Tide have been waiting for the former five-star recruit to show what he can do on the field for two seasons now, it's time for Howard to finally make his mark in Lane Kiffin's offense. Howard is a matchup nightmare at six-foot-six and 245-pounds while possessing elite speed for a player of his size. He's too big for corners and too fast for safeties and linebackers to cover. Kiffin's offense understandably ran through Amari Cooper last season, but with his early departure to the NFL, the Tide will now have to rely on another player to emerge as their go-to receiver in crucial situations. With just as much experience in the offensive system as any player on the team, Howard must put it all together and show why he was the nation's most coveted tight end prospect in 2013.