Each spring, there are always certain players I try to keep an eye on that can end up becoming difference makers in the upcoming season. The spring practices always reveal which ones have really been working hard in the offseason. Obviously, Justin Blackmon was one of those guys last year. Another player I looked forward to seeing last spring was Orie Lemon and how he recovered from his season ending injury the year before.
This year is more of the same. I want to see how some guys are coming back from injury, how some are maturing, and how some are just progressing overall into becoming the next star at their respective position. Here are the main four guys that I hope are ready for a breakout year.
One of the recruited gems of the class three years ago, Lowe has been sidelined twice with injuries. The last was of the season ending variety. Now fully healthy, Lowe realizes how much he missed being out on the field and is ready to lay someone out (hopefully not Blackmon). The safety is a speeding bullet of strength. He will be used a ton in Nickel packages and serve as the first guy to give either Johnny Thomas or Markelle Martin a breather. His enthusiasm and energy is the spark that the secondary needs to push even harder every day.
More after the jump.
Moore was kind of a head scratcher for me last year. He had a really good freshman year but then disappeared a bit in his 2nd season. Obviously a part of this has to do with Blackmon's success but I got the notion that Tracy wasn't 100% focused on being the best he could be. It appears some of that is changing. The guy has completely transformed his body--much less baby fat, much more muscle. Commitment on the field always starts off the field and I think we're seeing the first steps of that. He definitely has the potential of being a big time receiver in this offense. Hopefully he is refocused and ready to turn some heads when fall comes around.
As soon as he stepped on campus the comparisons to Perrish Cox began. Athletic. Blazing speed. Game changer. In his freshman year he certainly lived up to his hype on special teams as he had multiple returns for touchdowns. But now, it's time for him to shine where it matters most: on defense. According to coaches, he is doing exactly that. He has really started maturing in the last six months and the results are starting to show on the practice field. He has the potential to be the next shutdown corner at OSU. He just has to stay committed and hungry.
A year ago, the redshirt freshman DT came to OSU weighing 357 pounds. He now weighs 312 and is going to be the anchor of the D-line. How good can he be? Watch some practice video of him. The guy has an explosive first step and is absolutely violent with his hands. He is the future of DT for OSU. But how quickly can he make a sizeable impact? Hopefully by the time the conference schedule rolls around. He has already shown a massive commitment level by losing over forty pounds. Now he has to buckle down and improve enough in the offseason to give OSU what they haven't had in almost a decade--decent QB pressure.