ESPN released its breakout player for 2011, and it is Tyler Wilson from Arkansas.
Arkansas quarterback Tyler Wilson will be the SEC’s top breakout player this season, according to the results of our SportsNation poll last week.
More than 8,400 people voted, and Wilson received 34 percent of the vote. Alabama cornerback DeQuan Menzie was second with 21 percent. Georgia linebacker Alec Ogletree was third with 18 percent followed by LSU running back Spencer Ware with 15 percent and Florida defensive end/outside linebacker Ronald Powell with 11 percent.
Obviously, there are several other players out there who could easily qualify, and some of you have suggested that I include an “other” category in our next poll. We’ll try to do that the next time if it makes sense.
That said, some of the others who were prominently mentioned as possible candidates as the top breakout player (and all good choices) were Mississippi State receiver Chad Bumphis, Florida tight end Jordan Reed, LSU defensive end Sam Montgomery, Alabama cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick, Auburn receiver Trovon Reed, Arkansas running back Ronnie Wingo, Jr., and Tennessee defensive end Jacques Smith.
Wilson would be my choice, too, this season, although the other guy I think might have a monster season is Ware. He has everything it takes to be a 1,200-yard plus rusher — great moves, great vision and the ability to turn 5-yard runs into 50-yard touchdowns.
I’m going to go against the grain with my pick. I’m going to go with LSU wide receiver Russell Shepard. Shepard hasn’t done anything his entire career, and he was one of the most hyped recruits coming out of college.
Now, Tyler Wilson will be good because of the talent around him, but it hurts his running game with Knile Davis being injured. I have full confidence in Dennis Johnson, but Knile Davis is on another level.
I think Shepard has the ability – he undoubtedly does – to flip the field in an instant, much like Percy Harvin did for Florida. LSU just has to find a way to get him the football.
Ultimately I feel that Zach Mettenberger will be the starting quarterback for this team for the bulk of the snaps, and I know he has the ability to get Shepard the football. I mean, Russell Shepard only has 791 total yards his freshman and sophomore years. That’s just an amazing stat to me. He should have that in a half of a season.
Who would you tab as the SEC’s breakout player of 2011?