Quarterback: Justin Worley, Tennessee
The transfer of redshirt freshman Riley Ferguson gives Justin Worley—a senior—the big upper-hand to start for the Vols next season. His career to-date has been unspectacular, but in 2014, the Vols will surround Worley with more talent than he's ever seen. With Marquez North, Josh Malone, Von Pearson and (hopefully) Pig Howard as receiving options, Worley will be set up well for a big statistical season.
Running Back: Braylon Heard, Kentucky
Braylon Heard forced his way into a crowded Nebraska backfield as a sophomore in 2012, taking 52 carries for 348 yards despite playing alongside Ameer Abdullah, Rex Burkhead and Imani Cross. He transferred to Kentucky last offseason and should be able to crack the top of the rotation over returning leading rusher JoJo Kemp. Heard runs with long, bounding strides—think of a poor man's Darren McFadden—and should give the Wildcats a unique, reliable threat out of the backfield. That is something they have lacked since the days of Rafael Little in the late 2000s.
Receiver/Tight End: Pharoh Cooper (WR), South Carolina
Pharoh Cooper made the SEC All-Freshman team as an "all-purpose player" last season, but that was mostly on the strength of his return skills. As a receiver, he is largely untested, having only caught three passes for 54 yards and one touchdown. But he is poised to take over Bruce Ellington's role at the heart of South Carolina's offense this season and is probably the Gamecocks' most explosive player not named Mike Davis. Cooper should emerge as Dylan Thompson's favorite target and could be in store for a fine statistical season.
Offensive Line: Shon Coleman, Auburn
Man, what a story. Shon Coleman was diagnosed with cancer shortly after signing his national letter of intent in 2010 and didn't make his college football debut until last season, when he backed up No. 2 NFL draft pick Greg Robinson. But Coleman is not just a College Gameday feature waiting to happen; he's an extraordinarily talented player who impressed during spring camp and is the favorite to replace Robinson at left tackle in 2014. Per Brandon Marcello of AL.com, teammates compared his strength to that of Robinson during spring practice.
Defensive Line: Chris Mayes, Georgia
A lot of players are mentioned before Chris Mayes when people talk about the potential of Georgia's front seven. Ray Drew, Ramik Wilson, Jordan Jenkins, Leonard Floyd—they all supersede Mayes in that discussion. But the massive nose tackle (6'4", 330 lbs) got better as the season went on in 2013 and has looked the part of a dominant force this spring. "Chris Mayes, that kid hasn’t stopped fighting since Day 1," said defensive line coach Tracy Rocker, per Seth Emerson of the Macon Telegraph. "I moved him around, moved him around, and his last week here has probably been his best day out here."
Linebacker: Jarrad Davis, Florida
In the short-term, Florida's injury woes in 2013 led to an embarrassing 4-8 record—one of the worst seasons in program history. But in the long-term, they might have been a blessing in disguise (of sorts), having allowed young players like Jarrad Davis to see the field in a meaningful capacity before they would have in a perfect world. Now a full-time starter, Davis has earned the respect of his locker room, per Scott Carter of GatorZone.com, and is poised for a big true sophomore season. His instincts are remarkable for a player his age.
Defensive Back: Derrick Jones, Ole Miss
Edward Aschoff of ESPN.com listed Derrick Jones as one of the five breakout players of spring camp in the SEC West. For someone with his unique physical profile—6'2", long arms, fluid hips—to be standing out in practice is a bad sign for the rest of the division and conference. Mike Hilton and Senquez Golson stand in his way on the depth chart, but in 2014, every team essentially needs three starting cornerbacks. And Jones has the highest upside of any of them.