Every year, SEC nobodies jump onto the scene and finally get their opportunity to make a splash, either from a void in the depth chart or because the switch finally turns ‘on’.
There are several players that would project from a nobody to a somebody, but let’s take a look at five who are still relatively unknown to the rest of the SEC:
Antonio ‘Tank’ Morrison, MLB, Florida
2012 stats: 34 tackles, two TFL and one forced fumble
Buzz: Antonio Morrison was an unheralded three-star recruit from Illinois, but Will Muschamp made ‘Tank’ his priority to lead the linebacking corps into the future. Morrison made an impact as a true freshman at outside backer and made his mark against FSU for laying the wood on EJ Manuel and causing a massive fumble. Now, with Jon Bostic and Jelani Jenkins gone, Morrison takes over the middle linebacker job. The SEC will take note of one of the biggest up-and-coming hitters in 2013.
Jermauria Rasco, DE, LSU
2012 stats: 10 tackles, two TFL and one forced fumble
Buzz: LSU’s defensive ends command the attention of its competition, only this year Sam Montgomery and Barkevious Mingo will be notably absent. So, rising junior Jermauria Rasco emerges as the likely candidate to replace one of his previous All-SEC predecessors. Rasco, a former top 10 defensive end exiting high school, is talented, but he’s been buried under future NFL players for three years. That changes in 2013.
Geno Smith, CB, Alabama
2012 stats: Eight tackles, two pass break ups
Buzz: Nick Saban and Alabama are known for All-American lockdown corners. With back-to-back years of Dre Kirkpatrick and Dee Milliner, Saban’s next protégé is rising sophomore Geno Smith. Smith has tremendous skills, with quick feet and great hips. Smith played in 12 games as a freshman, earning two starts. He’s long (6-0) and athletic, and he was a top ten corner exiting high school from Georgia. Smith should emerge as the starter opposite Deion Belue. Bama’s corner tandem will be so tough yet again.
Brandon Williams, RB, Texas A&M
2012 stats: Sat out due to transfer rule
Buzz: Brandon Williams will suit up for the Aggies in his first season in ‘13, thanks to sitting out last season after transferring from Oklahoma. Williams, a former five-star running back, looks to be one of the SEC’s biggest breakout players this year. He rushed for 219 yards on 46 carries in eight games as a freshman for the Sooners. The backfield tandem of Williams and Johnny Manziel should be downright scary for any SEC defensive coordinator. The 6-0, 195-pound sophomore should win the starting job this spring.
Jonathan Williams, RB, Arkansas
2012 stats: 45 carries for 231 yards; eight catches for 208 yards and two TDs
Buzz: Jonathan Williams and Bret Bielema’s offense should be a perfect marriage. Now that Dennis Johnson and Knile Davis are gone, Williams should carry the torch as the Hogs’ running back of the future. The former four-star Texas blue chipper should thrive in the Hogs’ newfound physical style of offense. Williams showed his versatility when he caught just three passes for 150 yards and two touchdowns. Williams is ready to become the Hogs’ main offensive threat.
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