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. Let’s continue with the Big Ten breakout players.
A breakout player for every Big Ten team
Illinois – Milo Eifler – Linebacker – Junior
After appearing in 13 games as a redshirt freshman (mainly on special teams), at Washington, Milo Eifler transferred to Illinois. Eifler, who is out of Bishop O’Dowd High School in California, is ready to contribute at a high level. Impressively, he was ranked as one of the top 15 outside linebackers in the country by the majority of recruiting websites. Interestingly, he did not start playing football until his sophomore year of high school. He brings tremendous athleticism along with great size to the position at six feet two inches and 230 pounds. Look for Milo Eifler to become the breakout player for the Illini in 2019.
Indiana – Micah McFadden – Linebacker – Sophomore
Linebacker Micah McFadden came to Indiana after a stellar career at Plant High School in Tampa, FL. In fact, during his senior year, McFadden accumulated 211 tackles, 39 tackles for loss as well as seven sacks, two interceptions, and two fumble recoveries. McFadden is a better than expected athlete with great vision. Additionally, he stands six feet two inches tall and weighs 230 pounds, giving him good size for a linebacker. Clearly, he is a playmaker. With his role expanding greatly this year, Micah McFadden is the frontrunner to be the Hoosiers breakout player in 2019.
Iowa – Toren Young – Running Back – Junior
Junior running back Toren Young, who hails from Madison, WI, is poised to become Iowa’s breakout player in 2019. First, Young looks similar to Ezekiel Elliott at five feet 11 inches and 221 pounds. Secondly, he finished second on the team with 136 carries for 637 yards along with five touchdowns last year. Also, Young posted insane numbers in high school. For example, during his senior year, he rushed 333 times for 2,779 yards as well as 28 touchdowns! Young has good size, solid speed as well as incredible durability.
Maryland – Dontay Demus – Wide Receiver – Sophomore
The Terrapins certainly need a go-to wide receiver. Who better than six-foot four-inch Dontay Demus out of Washington D.C to become their breakout player? Of course, Maryland needs to figure out their quarterback situation and find consistency there first. However, in 2018, Demus finished third on the team with 13 catches for 278 yards. Those numbers will increase dramatically this year with his playmaking ability. His senior season of high school, he posted 66 receptions for 1,167 yards along with an impressive 12 touchdowns. Look for big things from Demus in 2019.
Michigan – Josh Ross – Linebacker – Junior
The six foot two inch, 225 pound Josh Ross had a successful sophomore campaign in 2018 as a reserve. In fact, Ross accumulated 61 tackles along with a sack, two pass breakups, and three quarterback hurries while appearing in all 13 games for Michigan. With Devin Bush now in the NFL, it is time for Josh Ross to take over as Michigan’s breakout player. Expect Ross to be a cinch for All-American honors as well First-Team All-Big Ten honors. Those lofty expectations will not be too much for him to handle, considering he has every tool you want in a linebacker.
Michigan State – NaQuan Jones – Defensive Tackle – Junior
The Spartans always seem to have a dynamic defensive tackle or two on their roster. This year is no different as NaQuan Jones is ready to become a breakout player for Michigan State. Last season, Jones played in 13 games, accumulating 26 tackles along with 4.5 tackles for loss. Additionally, he picked up two sacks as well as a forced fumble and a pass breakup. At six foot four inches and 339 pounds, he is big enough to be a run stuffer in the middle, but also athletic enough to get after the passer.
Minnesota – Antoine Winfield Jr – Safety – Sophomore
Antoine Winfield Jr. obviously has great bloodlines being the son of former NFL and Ohio State star Antoine Winfield Sr. Winfield produced at a high level for The Woodlands High School in Texas before coming to Minnesota in 2016. He made an impact as a true freshman by posting 52 tackles along with three pass breakups, a fumble recovery, and an interception. Unfortunately, he has only played a total of eight games the last two seasons due to injuries. Antoine Winfield Jr. will stay healthy this year and become a breakout player Minnesota.
Nebraska – Wandale Robinson – Running Back – Freshman
Incoming freshman Wandale Robinson has the biggest chance to become a breakout player for Nebraska out of their potential candidates. Running back Maurice Washington is facing off the field issues, so that presents an opening. Additionally, the small, speedy and durable back offers plenty of versatility. Robinson can line up at wide receiver as well as be used in multiple ways out of the backfield. Look for Robinson to make an impact right away for the Cornhuskers.
Ohio State – Justin Fields – Quarterback – Sophomore
Well, this seems to be too obvious. Fields came into Georgia as the top dual-threat quarterback out of high school. Unable to overtake Jake Fromm, he decided to transfer to Ohio State and was granted immediate eligibility by the NCAA. Now, Fields appears to be ready to become a star in college football, thus becoming the choice for Ohio State’s breakout player. Fields is equally as dangerous as a passer as well as a rusher, which will make him hard to defend in the Big Ten. Expect Fields to be in contention for First Team All-Big Ten honors.
Penn State – Ricky Slade – Running Back – Sophomore
Miles Sanders is now in the NFL. Penn State will be breaking in a new quarterback. Clearly, that makes Ricky Slade an obvious choice to become the Nittany Lions breakout player. Slade is incredibly athletic as well as versatile. Additionally, his five-foot-nine-inch frame makes him hard to tackle. Last season, while backing up the aforementioned Sanders, Slade rushed 45 times for 257 yards along with six touchdowns in nine games. In his home state of Virginia, Slade dazzled the crowds with an amazing high school career. In fact, he accumulated 5,499 rushing yards during his career. Look for big things out of Ricky Slade in 2019.
Purdue – Kenneth Major – Cornerback – Sophomore
Kenneth Major had a successful redshirt freshman campaign in 2018 for Purdue. To illustrate, he appeared in 12 games, making seven starts. In those games, he finished with 55 tackles, three interceptions, and two pass breakups along with a fumble recovery. Major will become a household name in Big Ten country this year as a full-time starter. Of course, that means his production will increase greatly. Additionally, he will become known for his cover skills. He is a tremendous athlete and stands out as the obvious breakout player choice for the Boilermakers.
Rutgers – Elorm Lumor – Defensive End – Junior
As a big, athletic defensive end, Elorm Lumor is poised for a big season for Rutgers. That, of course, makes him the breakout player choice for the Scarlet Knights. Lumor started in 10 games in 2018 and let the team with seven tackles for loss. Additionally, he recorded four sacks and 35 overall tackles while blocking a field goal and recovering a fumble. He has already shown flashes of greatness and will expound upon that in 2019. In fact, expect him to be in play for All-Big Ten honors.
Wisconsin – Christian Bell – Linebacker – Junior
Birmingham, AL native Christian Bell is finally poised to become a breakout player for the Wisconsin Badgers this season. He possesses good size at six foot four inches and 245 pounds. Additionally, he is a good athlete who has a well-rounded game. Look for Bell to put up big numbers in 2019.
There you have it, a breakout player from every Big Ten program for the 2019 season. Keep checking back for more college football content as the season edges closer.
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