Spring is ultimately the time for unknown players to make a splash and show up as a result of an injury or recent position vacancy. It’s always nice to see those new players make a name for themselves and earn some playing time for fall.
Here are some players who did just that this spring in the SEC East:
Florida: WR Latroy Pittman, Fr.
Florida desperately needs playmakers at WR, and Pittman will help fill that void. He is a bigger, physical WR at 6-0, 202lbs, and he is a different WR than Florida fans are accustomed to in recent years. Pittman’s not your Percy Harvin-type player, but he will be a big asset in the pro-style offense as a possession receiver. He showed up in a big way on a 43-yard pass from Jacoby Brissett on a 3rd-and-8 play that had Gator fans gaining some optimism for 2012.
Georgia: WR Justin Scott-Wesley, RS Fr.
Scott-Wesley entered Georgia very raw athletically at WR last year, and he really grew up this spring. The 6-0, 220lb track star turned heads all throughout practice and in the spring game. He had three catches for 46 yards, and he figures to help at the receiver position next fall. JSW will add both playmaking ability and depth to the position.
Kentucky: WR Demarco Robinson, So.
Joker Phillips raved about the 5-10, 160lb WR all spring. And fans were certainly able to see why when he showed his playmaking ability in the spring game. Robinson hauled in nine catches for 146 yards, including two touchdown catches of 69 and 21 yards. The Cats need someone else other than La’Rod King at WR, and Robinson looks to be that guy.
Missouri: QB Corbin Berkstresser, RS Fr.
Berkstresser was the talk of the spring – perhaps more so because of James Franklin’s injury than his big arm. But nonetheless, he had a better-than-expected spring practice. Franklin had shoulder surgery, but he is expected to return and be ready for the fall. Head Coach Gary Pinkel thought Berkstresser had a very good spring and is parallel to where Franklin and Tyler Gabbert were a year ago. Hopefully Franklin is back for the first game of the year, but Mizzou now knows Berkstresser can step in if needed.
South Carolina: WR Damiere Byrd, So.
Even though South Carolina will use a power running game with Marcus Lattimore, it’s important to know that Steve Spurrier will look to get the vertical passing game more involved this year. Speedster Damiere Byrd broke out of his shell this spring, and I look for Spurrier to feature Byrd much more in the passing game. He really emerged as a playmaker and a go-to receiver, and he really adds another weapon and dimension to an already potent offense.
Tennessee: RB Marlin Lane, So.
Tennessee is in dire need of a running game to help balance a very potent passing attack. Marlin Lane started some of last year, and he showed some flashes but really never broke out of his shell. However, the buzz around the Tennessee program is that Lane is ready to be ‘the guy’ at RB in 2012. He led the backs in the spring game with 106 yards rushing and touchdown runs of 39 and 19 yards.
Vanderbilt: WR Josh Grady, RS Fr.
Grady is a playmaker for the Dores, and he showed that to the coaching staff and the fans this spring. Grady will play WR and Wildcat QB in Vanderbilt’s offense. He was a former QB in high school, and he passed for 58 yards and a touchdown, while rushing for 35 yards and an eight-yard touchdown in the spring game. Grady looks to be a nice complement to Jordan Matthews and Chris Boyd.