SEC Football: 5 Surprising Standouts of Spring Practice
Spring practice in the Southeastern Conference is a time for new coaches to get to know their teams, new coordinators to implement their schemes and players to create a name for themselves.
In this land of change and opportunity, it's no surprise that each year several players exceed expectations and, well, surprise their coaches.
Building yet another year where the conference looks to dominate its competition and prove itself worthy of the national throne takes position experimentation and some all-star athletes. With most SEC teams now having undergone a couple of open spring practices, it's time to review which mostly unknown athletes we could be talking about in 2014.
Stanton Truitt, Auburn
Truitt, a 3-star true freshman from Monroe, Ga., is a multi-talented athlete who's been pegged for the Auburn offense. After losing Heisman finalist Tre Mason to the NFL draft, head coach Gus Malzahn will be looking hard at Truitt as a potential replacement.
"Truitt is going to be a good guy. He's quick with his feet and has great hands," added safety Jermaine Whitehead, according to Alex Byington of the Opelika-Auburn News. The 5'10", 185-pound star has already proven to be a matchup nightmare for Auburn's first-team defense, with his quick adjustments and great hands making him a tough tackle.
This future standout is already taking some first-team reps and is poised for a tremendous career in Auburn.
De'Runnya Wilson, Mississippi State
A rare two-sport star, Wilson of Mississippi State has been blowing players and coaches alike away with his raw talent. After helping a struggling MSU basketball squad, Wilson returned to spring practice in a form true to his talents.
According to The Commercial Dispatch, the wide receivers coach noted that he was "very surprised with him coming off his high-school tape, which was very raw. All of a sudden you get to see him move around in camp last year and he has great athletic ability."
Wilson grabbed 26 catches as a true freshman a season ago and has picked up where he left off. Look for this speedy, sticky-handed receiver to combine with dual-threat quarterback Dak Prescott to make MSU an elite offensive threat.
David Williams, South Carolina
After redshirting in 2013, running back David Williams is impressing people in spring practice. The 4-star recruit has somehow managed to walk the line between adding strength and speed.
The Philadelphia, Pa., native has reportedly upped his weight about 10 pounds, while his 40-yard dash time is under 4.4. GreenvilleOnline.com reported that Williams' 40-yard dash was clocked at a nearly unbelievable 4.34 seconds.
South Carolina running backs coach mentioned that "nobody's job is safe" and that "you need more than a couple of running backs in the SEC, and I expect him to be right there." With that kind of speed, starter Mike Davis might be looking over his shoulder.
Kyle Allen, Texas A&M
Let's set the stage, shall we? Talented and underrated true freshman quarterback enters spring practice at Texas A&M. Said freshman impresses coaches and challenges for a starting spot.
Former Heisman-winner Johnny Manziel has left his spot as the Aggies' signal-caller, and now there's an Allen-sized hole to fill at the position. After enrolling a semester early, Allen's maturity and intelligence have helped him show off his accuracy and elusiveness in practice.
Similar in mold to Manziel, Allen is 6'3" and 200 pounds. If the Scottsdale, Ariz., native continues this path, he'll be headed for some mighty big shoes that need filling.
Von Pearson, Tennessee
The Vols have a lot to replace in 2014, but a huge recruiting class might be able to handle the load.
Wide receiver Von Pearson has been dropping jaws in Knoxville, including the above one-handed grab that was featured on SportsCenter's Top 10. A 4-star athlete out of Feather River College in California, Pig Howard's leave of absence opens the door for Pearson to make his case.
And make his case he has. Wide receivers coach Zach Azzanni added "he is ultra-talented, there is no doubt about it. He makes acrobatic catches just like he did at Feather River."
If his ability can draw defenders away from a maturing offensive line, head coach Butch Jones might just have an all-star out of the gate.
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