10 CFB Sophomores and RS-Freshmen Players Ready to Explode in 2013

Ian BergCorrespondent IApril 25, 2013

10 CFB Sophomores and RS-Freshmen Players Ready to Explode in 2013

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    The college football season is always littered with freshmen stars who become instant impact players for their teams in their first year. Stefon Diggs was that guy for Maryland last fall, but there are some that take extra time to develop and don't steal the show right away. 

    These are 10 rising sophomores who may have missed the spotlight last fall, but they will blast past the competition and become stars heading into the new year.

    These sophomores have their fans excited, and soon the nation will take notice to their dominant play. 

Dorial Green-Beckham: WR, Missouri Tigers

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    Dorial Green-Beckham was projected to be an immediate impact player in the Missouri offense last fall.

    The rising sophomore played well at times, but he looked lost and was ineffective at others. This year is his chance to right the ship and become the national talking point that everyone expected him to be in 2012.

    He finished with 28 receptions and 395 yards last year while appearing in 10 games. In four of those, he only caught one pass in what is a very pass heavy scheme for Missouri.

    This year he will be settled into the system and ready to make an impact with regularity. 

Noah Spence: DE, Ohio State Buckeyes

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    Last fall, Noah Spence was a backup at defensive end learning the ropes of the Ohio State defense. He played in 11 of 12 games and finished with 12 tackles and one sack.

    He is taking over the starting defensive end position this fall and has been very productive this spring in search of stardom.

    Offensive line coach Ed Warrinner told the media (h/t ESPN), "I'm glad he's on our team, that's all I can say. He can be an impact player for us."

    This was after Spence was holding his own in line drills against star offensive tackle Jack Mewhort. Look for Spence to storm into the spotlight by Week 1 this fall. 

Jameis Winston: QB, Florida State Seminoles

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    The Florida State quarterback race took an interesting turn this spring when Clint Trickett chose out of Tallahassee. What was a race to replace a two-year starter in E.J. Manuel is now a one-man race with Jameis Winston leading the pack.

    Winston is a talented dual-threat quarterback that was an elite playmaker coming out of high school. He was already considered to be the leader in the competition this spring, but this secures him at No. 1.

    The Seminoles shouldn’t have much of a falloff offensively this fall with Winston calling the plays. He has more raw talent that Manuel, but has to learn the system and learn how to defeat top college defenses.  

    He will step onto the field this fall and instantly be one of the best signal-callers in the game. 

Trey Williams: RB, Texas A&M Aggies

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    Trey Williams is a rising star from the Aggies backfield heading into the 2013 season. Williams was a dangerous return threat last year for Texas A&M who was also able to create a few plays from the backfield.

    He finished last season with 65 carries for 376 yards and five touchdowns. He was also able to add 25 kickoff returns for 557 yards.

    Williams was a dangerous threat in the spring game for the Aggies and will be a stud out of the backfield this fall. He is as electric as they come in the SEC at the reserve back role. 

Nelson Agholor: WR, USC Trojans

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    Losing Robert Woods was big for the USC offense heading into 2013, but athlete Nelson Agholor is ready to step in and make an immediate difference.

    The rising sophomore saw some action in the return game and as a receiver last fall, but his true potential has yet to be unleashed on the Pac-12.

    That will change this fall. The Trojans are in need of an additional threat in the passing game to Marqise Lee this year, and Agholor will be the answer. 

Mike Davis: RB, South Carolina Gamecocks

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    Mike Davis served as a backup last fall and became the primary back when Marcus Lattimore fell to injury. He is a big time playmaker who showed flashes of greatness this spring.

    Davis only accumulated 52 carries for 275 yards and two touchdowns last fall, but his 5.29 yards per carry is a solid stat line.

    The Gamecocks will be looking for balance on the offense this fall and will need to have a threat out of the backfield that isn’t catching snaps. Davis is that guy. 

Jordan Jenkins: LB, Georgia Bulldogs

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    Jarvis Jones is headed to the NFL, but the good news is that his replacement has already been found. Jordan Jenkins filled in last fall for an injured Jones and performed very well for a freshman.

    Heading into his sophomore season he is expected to become a breakout star.

    Jenkins finished 2012 with 31 tackles and five sacks in 14 game appearances. He will be the full-time starter this year and should increase those numbers exponentially.

    Look out SEC quarterbacks because Jenkins will be cut lose this fall and will be bringing the pain train with him. 

Barry Sanders Jr.: RB, Stanford Cardinal

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    Barry Sanders Jr. is a legacy in the game of football, but he will begin to build his own brand this fall as he becomes the primary back for the Stanford Cardinal.

    Stanford has put some very talented quarterbacks on the field as of late, but the ground game has been a big part of the rise in Palo Alto. Sanders Jr. is ready to be the next steady back for the Cardinal.

    This pickup was huge in the 2012 recruiting cycle for Stanford. Sanders Jr. will take over the Pac-12 discussion this fall. 

Brian Kimbrow: RB, Vanderbilt Commodores

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    James Franklin walked into the Vanderbilt job a few years ago looking to turn the program into an SEC power overnight. It started in 2012 when he picked up Brian Kimbrow at running back.

    Kimbrow was a dangerous athlete that was courted by every major SEC program. He chose Vanderbilt and has become the premier player for the Commodores offense.

    Heading into the fall Kimbrow is one of the best kept secrets in the SEC. He will be in the national spotlight by December. 

Landon Collins: S, Alabama Crimson Tide

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    The Alabama defense will lose a few playmakers thanks to the NFL heading into the fall, but there is a load of talent that is available to choose from as the Tide search for replacements.

    Robert Lester departs from safety, and rising sophomore Landon Collins is a player to watch step up into the starting lineup.

    Having head-hunter types in the secondary has always been a staple in the Nick Saban defense, and that will continue with Collins. He is a deadly striker that can also make plays in coverage.

    Expect the Tide defense to rely heavily on this rising star.