Underclassmen Poised for Breakout Seasons in 2013

Stephen SheehanCorrespondent IJanuary 4, 2013

Adrian Hubbard will emerge as an elite pass-rusher in 2013.
Adrian Hubbard will emerge as an elite pass-rusher in 2013.Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Everyone knows the growing legend of South Carolina sophomore Jadeveon Clowney, but a handful of fellow underclassmen should join the ranks of college football's elite with breakout seasons in 2013. 

Staying in the SEC, another physical freak pass-rusher tops the list of players who will become household names next season. 

At 6'6", 248 pounds, outside linebacker Adrian Hubbard is one of the most gifted athletes in college football. A former standout defensive end in high school, the sophomore transitioned to outside linebacker in Nick Saban's 3-4 defense and has displayed great potential. 

Hubbard redshirted in 2010 and played sparingly as a designated edge rusher in 2011 before moving into the starting lineup this season. 

The ultra-athletic OLB has responded with 39 tackles (10 for loss) and a team-leading six sacks for the BCS Championship-bound Crimson Tide. 

Although he's the team's best pass-rusher already, Hubbard is capable of developing into one of the best 3-4 outside linebackers in the country. With excellent length, speed and an evolving array of pass-rush moves, Hubbard should build on his successful 2012 campaign and become a double-digit sack artist in 2013. 

One player who will try and shut down Hubbard over the next few years will be Florida left tackle D.J. Humphries. 

The former 5-star prospect was the consensus No. 1 tackle of the 2012 recruiting class, and Humphries wasted no time earning snaps for one of the nation's top teams. Despite being listed behind senior Xavier Nixon, Humphries earned starts against Missouri and Louisiana-Lafayette and more than held his own. Blessed with a lean 6'6" frame, Humphries is a premier athlete for the position and will benefit from a year in the weight room. 

With Nixon graduating, Humphries should be the clear-cut starter at left tackle in 2013. 

As long as he bulks up from his current weight of 275 pounds, he should establish himself as one of the best tackles in the country in his sophomore season. 

While Manti Te'o and Stephon Tuitt garner the attention for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, there's one youngster on the nation's best defense who will join his teammates as a superstar next season. 

Outside linebacker Ishaq Williams only has 27 tackles and zero sacks to his name as he finishes his sophomore season, but the former 5-star prospect (according to 247Sports' composite rankings) should realize his immense potential in 2013. 

Checking in at an NFL-ready 6'5", 255 pounds, Williams' best asset is his length. 

The former Gatorade National Player of the Year in New York is stuck behind some talented upperclassmen, but Notre Dame still uses him heavily in a rotational role. 

However, that should change next season, as the No. 5 outside linebacker of the 2015 NFL draft class should put it all together and break into the starting lineup. When he does, watch out. 

Williams and Prince Shembo should form a devastating pass-rushing duo for the Fighting Irish, and along with standout sophomore Tuitt, Notre Dame's defense should still be one of the best in the country.