Michigan Football: Breakout Candidates for Wolverines in 2013-14
Michigan is coming off an 8-5 campaign and a trip to the Outback Bowl.
While players such as quarterback Denard Robinson, defensive end Craig Roh and receiver Roy Roundtree are no longer with the team, there are some individuals who showed glimpses of their potential in 2012 who figure to break out in 2013.
Here's a look at my top three breakout candidates for the Wolverines in 2013-14.
3. Thomas Gordon, S
In survey of 19 departing seniors conducted by WolverineNation, strong safety Thomas Gordon was one of the names pegged to have a breakout season in 2013-14.
One player said, via Michael Rothstein of WolverineNation:
Thomas Gordon is going to have a really good year next year. He's motivated, understands the system. He gets the defensive system just as well as Jordan Kovacs. He's a great communicator and a guy I expect is going to pretty much take the senior leadership role in the defensive backfield and have some success.
Gordon racked up 81 tackles in 13 starts last season, via CFBStats.com. He was the third-leading tackler on Michigan. He also collected two interceptions, one sack and forced a fumble.
The redshirt senior has already shown he can play with the big boys. In a leadership role, with an extra offseason under his belt, expect him to build on his 2012 campaign and be a high-impact player for the Wolverines.
2. Jeremy Gallon, WR
The emergence of quarterback Devin Gardner has also paved the way for a breakout campaign for Jeremy Gallon.
Gallon caught fire with Gardner under center, posting a combined 511 yards and three touchdowns in Gardner's five starts. That included racking up 145 yards and two touchdowns against South Carolina in the Outback Bowl.
Even before Gallon's run, he had posted 107 yards against eventual national champion Alabama in the first game of the 2012 campaign. He averaged 16.92 yards per catch, 27th in the nation, via CFBStats.com.
1. Devin Gardner, QB
After Denard Robinson went down with an injury in October against Nebraska, Devin Gardner was asked to take his spot under center for the Wolverines. He ended up remaining as the starter even when Robinson was cleared to take the field again.
Who are you most excited to watch in 2013-14?
All Gardner did in his first game as a starter was account for three touchdowns (two passing, one rushing) in the 35-14 blowout victory over Minnesota. He then accounted for 15 touchdowns in his final four starts (nine passing, six rushing).
Gardner did toss four interceptions in that span, but there's hope that he can take better care of the ball with an offseason to work on his game.
The redshirt junior showed better command with the football in his five starts last season than Robinson did during his career at Michigan. Gardner's composure was particularly impressive, given that he was thrown to the wolves with Robinson going down.
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