Living up to the five-star hype adds unneeded pressure to 18-year-old prospects who look to take the college football world by the horns. Some live up to the enormous hype as a true freshman, while it takes others sometimes two to three years to really put everything together.
These four SEC players haven’t put it together yet because of various reasons, but it’s never too late to turn the switch on and live up to the five-star hype as a junior and senior.
Andre Debose, WR, Florida (SR): Debose was dubbed the second coming to the former electric Percy Harvin in Urban Meyer’s spread offense. But Debose struggled with a hamstring injury from the get-go, and he has yet – as a rising senior – to live up to his potential. Will Muschamp has said time and time again that he wants more effort and consistency from Debose. One area that Debose has helped the Gators, though, has been in the kickoff return game. He’s registered 58 returns for 1,592 yards and a school-record four touchdowns. Debose has also caught 29 passes for 543 yards and four touchdowns, but he has yet to blossom as a receiver. Florida’s offense desperately needs a pass catcher to step up and be a homerun threat, and 2013 could the year for Debose…but we’ve been saying that for the last three years.
Ray Drew, DE, Georgia (JR): Ray Drew was the anchor to Mark Richt’s ‘Dream Team’ in 2011, and he was looking to become Georgia’s version of the ‘Minister of Defense’. However, things haven’t exactly panned out for the once-hyped blue-chip prospect. Drew has only registered 31 tackles in two seasons. Richt started Drew at outside linebacker, but he wasn’t quick enough. Then, the Dawgs moved him to defensive end, and he has yet to really make an impact. Drew also had a quiet spring, as Sterling Bailey really emerged ahead of him. Maybe 2013 is the perfect scenario for Drew to breakout, and Georgia could really use a playmaker at defensive end.
Ronald Powell, Buck, Florida (JR): The former Rivals.com No. 1 overall player missed last season recovering from an ACL injury. So, the big numbers we all expected out of Powell simply haven’t been there, mostly because of the injury. Powell looked like he was actually coming into his own and becoming a leader last spring before the injury occurred. Now, Florida just hopes Powell can be 95 percent of his original freakish self after two different knee surgeries on the same knee. Powell is slated to play the Buck position alongside rising sophomore Dante Fowler, Jr., who looks like a future star. Adding a healthy Powell to Florida’s already deep and talented front seven bodes well for minimal drop off from last season’s stellar defense.
Trovon Reed, WR, Auburn (JR): Signing Trovon Reed was a big deal for Auburn. Anytime you can go out of state and sign Louisiana’s top player, keeping him away from LSU, it’s a big deal. But Reed hasn’t exactly lived up to the hype yet, thanks in part to a broken foot in 2010 and a shoulder injury in 2011. Reed has combined for just 370 all-purpose yards in two full seasons, and he’s only caught 30 passes. He has so much more in the tank and showed some flashes over the last two seasons. His best season came in Gus Malzahn’s offense in 2011 as a slot receiver, before injuring his shoulder. Reed’s hoping to rekindle the playmaking magic he showed in high school for the 2013 Tigers.
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