Leading up to what promises to be an exciting 2019 college football season, we will be picking a breakout player from every power-five team. Additionally, a series of breakout players will be determined from the group of five programs. Some of these players have already shown promise while others have hardly seen the field. Either way, this group should become household names this season. To kick us off, let’s begin with the SEC.
A breakout player for every SEC team
Alabama – Najee Harris – Running Back – Junior
Well, this breakout player choice is clearly obvious. Harris managed to run for 783 yards along with four touchdowns in 2018. What makes that impressive is the fact he did it in a backfield containing Damien Harris and Joshua Jacobs. Both of those players are in the NFL now. Harris has size, speed, agility and an offensive line all in his favor. Additionally, he does not have the same level of competition in the backfield this year as opposed to last, making him the clear workhorse candidate for the Crimson Tide in 2019. Look for Najee Harris to not only be in First Team All-SEC contention but also All-American contention.
Arkansas – Bumper Pool – Linebacker – Sophomore
Not only does Bumper Pool have a fantastic name but the Texas native has a fantastic game as well. Pool recorded 29 tackles along with 2.5 tackles for loss, four pass breakups, a fumble recovery as well as a blocked kick last year. His senior year of high school in 2017, he accumulated 166 tackles along with good all-around numbers. Certainly, that shows his playmaking ability. With players such as Dre Greenlaw moving on, expect Pool to step in as a major part of the Razorbacks defense in 2019 and be their breakout player.
Auburn – Derrick Brown – Defensive Tackle – Senior
Derrick Brown came into Auburn as an Army All-American and MaxPreps National Player of the Year. Although he has shown flashes, Brown certainly has not lived up to the hype he had coming into Auburn. However, this year he is set up to become a breakout player for the Tigers. With his massive six foot five inch, 318-pound frame, good technique in the middle and explosiveness, Brown will become a dominant force and finally live up to the hype.
Florida – Trevon Grimes – Wide Receiver – Junior
Trevon Grimes is chomping at the bit to step up in a big way for the Gators this season. He missed most of his senior year of high school in 2016 due to injury. Grimes barely saw the field as an Ohio State Buckeye in 2017. Last season at Florida, he made one start, which was the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl against Michigan. He did play in all 13 games snagging 26 balls for 364 yards along with two touchdowns while averaging 14 yards per catch. Grimes will be a breakout player for the Gators based on his pure athleticism, big-play ability and solid route running. Additionally, outside of Van Jefferson, he is the most talented receiver on the team.
Georgia – Kearis Jackson – Wide Receiver – Redshirt Freshman
There are plenty of good options to choose from at Georgia including running back Zamir White as well as linebacker Quay Walker. However, Jackson makes the most sense to be the breakout player for the Bulldogs. Georgia needs a big play, dynamic wide receiver to rely on after losing Mecole Hardman and Riley Ridley to the NFL. Jake Fromm will absolutely love what Jackson brings to the table. Jackson averaged 18 yards per reception his senior year at Peach County High School in Georgia. He has solid size at six feet tall and 200 pounds, amazing athletic ability and a history of productivity in high school. Look for big things from Kearis Jackson this season.
Kentucky – Asim Rose – Running Back – Junior
With Benny Snell Jr on an NFL roster after posting insane numbers as a Wildcat, Asim Rose now takes over the running back duties. Rose played in all 13 games in 2018 and in fact, rushed 86 times for 479 yards along with five touchdowns. That is particularly impressive considering he played backup to Snell who ran for nearly 1,500 yards. Additionally, quarterback Terry Wilson was their second-leading rusher with 547 yards on the ground. Rose is a versatile athlete who possesses good size for a back at six feet one inch and 210 pounds. He is a perfect pick to be Kentucky’s breakout player and contend for All-SEC honors in 2019.
LSU – Jacob Phillips – Linebacker – Junior
Certainly, it could be said that Nashville, TN native Jacob Phillips has broken out already. Consider the fact that he accumulated 87 tackles last season with a pick six and a sack along with three pass breakups. However, when you think of LSU’s defense from last year, names such as Devin White, Greedy Williams and Grant Delpit come to mind. This season, Jacob Phillips will take over Devin White in terms of production. By matching or exceeding that, his hype and recognition will increase nationally. Expect Phillips to be in contention for First Team All-SEC in 2019.
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Mississippi – Braylon Sanders – Wide Receiver – Junior
Braylon Sanders is a natural pick to be the breakout player for Ole Miss in 2019. With A.J Brown and D.K Metcalf gone to the NFL, Sanders steps in as the next big-time wide receiver for the Rebels. Though he is not as “big” as some former Ole Miss star receivers, he matches up with his speed and route running as well as his hands. Despite being further down the depth chart for obvious reasons, Sanders still managed to tally 16 receptions for 271 yards along with a touchdown last season in 10 games. Look for big things from Braylon Sanders this season in Oxford.
Mississippi State – Fletcher Adams – Defensive End – Senior
It is finally time for Fletcher Adams to shine for Mississippi State as their breakout player in 2019. With stars Jeffery Simmons and Montez Sweat off to the NFL, Adams has every opportunity to make a monstrous impact up front for the Bulldogs. Frankly, the six-foot-two-inch defensive end has underachieved thus far in his career. Because of that, he is motivated to put up big numbers this season. Adams has only recorded six tackles for loss along with 1.5 sacks thus far in his career. Certainly, despite that, he possesses all the skills necessary to turn himself into an NFL Draft pick this year and contend for All-SEC honors.
Missouri – Nick Bolton – Linebacker – Sophomore
Nick Bolton is a breakout player waiting to happen for Missouri. The Frisco, TX native finished his senior year of high school with 130 tackles, with 16 tackles for loss along with five interceptions. Bolton contributed as a true freshman last year by tallying 22 tackles as a backup. Bolton’s physicality, vision, strength and his ability to play sideline to sideline are what will certainly make him a star in the SEC.
South Carolina – Jaycee Horn – Cornerback – Sophomore
The son of former NFL star Joe Horn, the Georgia native definitely had a productive freshman year last season. Jaycee Horn will most certainly build upon the early success to become a breakout player in the SEC in 2019. In 11 games in 2018, Horn accumulated 45 tackles, four tackles for loss, two sacks and broke up eight passes as well. He has already shown his versatility along with an ability to cover effectively. Additionally, his six-foot-one-inch frame allows him to match up well with many receivers. Look for an All-SEC caliber season from Horn this year as the Gamecock’s breakout player.
Tennessee – Alontae Taylor – Cornerback – Sophomore
At Coffee County Central High School in Tennessee, Alontae Taylor made a name for himself as one of the best athletes in the country. In fact, he totaled 8,225 yards on offense while scoring 75 touchdowns. As a true freshman for the Vols in 2018, Taylor started eight games at cornerback while playing in all 12. Taylor certainly made an impact by making 40 tackles, including one for loss, forcing two fumbles, breaking up two passes as well as blocking a kick. Alontae Taylor surely has star written all over him. He will be Tennessee’s breakout player in 2019, thus building upon the foundation of success he laid in 2018.
Texas A&M – Anthony Hines III – Linebacker – Sophomore
Anthony Hines likely would have been Texas A&M’s breakout player in 2018, however, he suffered a season-ending injury in the first game. In 2017 as a true freshman, Hines put up 33 tackles, six tackles for loss, three sacks along with a forced fumble showing promise of what is to come. Hines high school career is simply absurd. During his four years at Plano East High School in Texas, he accumulated a whopping 640 tackles with 96 of them for loss. Look for Anthony Hines to pick up where Tyrel Dodson left off for Texas A&M, and then some.
Vanderbilt – Frank Coppet – Safety – Junior
Tae Daley is another candidate as a breakout player for Vanderbilt, however, Frank Coppet seems to be due. Coppet played in 12 games last season, including starting the last six regular-season games. He tallied 30 tackles while intercepting three passes. Frank Coppet is trending in the right direction heading into his junior campaign. Certainly, he made a name for himself at St. Thomas Aquinas in Florida during his senior season. During their state title-winning season in 2015, Coppet totaled 96 tackles and four interceptions. Look for a breakout year in 2019 for this Commodore.
There you have it, a breakout player from every SEC program for the 2019 season. Keep checking back for more college football content as the season edges closer.
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