Leading up to what promises to be an exciting 2019 college football season, we are 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 12!
A breakout player for every Big 12 team
Baylor – Terrel Bernard – Linebacker – Sophomore
Six foot one inch, 222-pound linebacker Terrel Bernard is certainly set to become a breakout player for Baylor in 2019. Last season, as a freshman, Bernard accumulated 47 tackles with three tackles for loss, one sack, and one interception along with a pass breakup. The La Porte High School (TX) product had a massively successful high school career. In fact, he tallied 201 tackles as a senior, 148 as a junior and 114 as a sophomore. Bernard is an all-around playmaker who is certainly bound for All-Big 12 honors this year.
Iowa State – Deshaunte Jones – Wide Receiver – Senior
Who is going to fill the void left behind after the NFL departure of Hakeem Butler at wide receiver for Iowa State? Deshaunte Jones is the logical answer to become a breakout player for the Cyclones this season. Jones already has 108 receptions in his career for 1,175 yards along with 10 touchdowns. Jones is a versatile athlete who came out of famed Colerain High School in Cincinnati. At Colerain, he played dual-threat quarterback, leading his team to a number 12 ranking nationally in 2015. Look for Jones to become an impact playmaker in 2019.
Kansas – Corione Harris – Cornerback – Sophomore
Corione Harris came to Kansas as a four-star recruit out of New Orleans. In fact, he was rated as the sixth best player in Louisiana, which makes his decision to come to Kansas quite interesting. Regardless, he made an impact last year as a freshman. For example, he made 43 tackles with a tackle for loss along with an interception and seven pass breakups. Additionally, he forced a fumble. Under Les Miles, Harris should develop into one of the top corners in the country and become a breakout player for Kansas in 2019.
Kansas State – James Gilbert – Running Back – Senior
James Gilbert comes to Kansas State as a graduate transfer from Ball State. Certainly, Gilbert has already had a successful college career, although most have not heard of him considering he played in the MAC. Gilbert ran for 2,806 yards along with 30 touchdowns during his time at Ball State. In high school, at Arsenal Tech in Indianapolis, he ran for 4,817 yards, which is a school record. Clearly, he has already been impactful and will become a breakout player for the Wildcats as well as nationally in 2019.
Oklahoma – Ronnie Perkins – Defensive End – Sophomore
Ronnie Perkins will become a breakout player for the Sooners in 2019 for a variety of reasons. First, as a freshman last year, he notched 37 tackles along with eight tackles for loss and five sacks in seven starts. Secondly, new defensive coordinator Alex Grinch comes to OU, who employs a much more aggressive style, which will accentuate Perkins game. Thirdly, Perkins is a straight beast. He has good size, scary athleticism and effective moves on the line. Look for Perkins to put up big numbers in 2019.
Oklahoma State – Spencer Sanders – Quarterback – R-Freshman
Of course, Spencer Sanders has to beat out senior Dru Brown officially for the starting position. Once he does, the exciting Sanders will instantly prove that he is a star in the making for Oklahoma State. The six-foot-two-inch quarterback out of Denton Ryan High School in Texas has the credentials to back up the breakout player claim. For example, his senior year of high school in 2017, he threw for 3,845 yards and 54 touchdowns while also rushing for 1,380 yards along with 16 touchdowns. In 52 starts, he compiled a record of 46-6, proving he is a productive winner.
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TCU – Shameik Blackshear – Defensive End – Senior
Shameik Blackshear is the second graduate transfer to land on the Big 12 breakout player list. He comes in after four years playing at South Carolina. Blackshear never necessarily lived up to his four-star hype out of high school at South Carolina per se. However, he is a perfect fit for Gary Patterson’s defense. The six foot five inch, 270 pound Blackshear did pick up four tackles for loss along with a sack last year in two starts. He did that while playing in all 13 games for the Gamecocks. Expect Blackshear to erupt on the Big 12 and national radar with a highly productive 2019.
Texas – Anthony Cook – Cornerback – Sophomore
The Longhorns have plenty to choose from regarding a potential breakout player. Players such as B.J. Foster, Ta’Quon Graham, and Keaontay Ingram are among those ready to break out. However, Anthony Cook is set to become one of the top cover corners in college football this season. The hard-hitting Cook played in 14 games last year totaling 18 tackles along with a sack and a pass breakup. This year, he assumes a starting role at cornerback alongside D’Shawn Jamison. Expect his numbers to increase dramatically, but more than that, expect to see his Cook assert his dominance in coverage in 2019.
Texas Tech – Xavier Benson – Linebacker – R-Freshman
Xavier Benson is an exciting athlete out of Pleasant Grove High School in Texarkana, TX. During his senior year of high school, he picked up 105 tackles, including seven for loss. He also had seven sacks, seven quarterback hurries, as well as two interceptions. Additionally, he also forced two fumbles, while recovering two fumbles and blocked two kicks. Not only that, but Benson also caught 20 passes for 526 yards and five touchdowns on offense. Expect Benson to become a highly productive player for Matt Wells at Texas Tech, thus their pick for breakout player in 2019.
West Virginia – T.J. Simmons – Wide Receiver – Junior
With David Sills V and Gary Jennings both moving on to the NFL, an opening has been created at the wide receiver position. Some would say, Marcus Simms, the leading returning receiver is due to break out. However, T.J. Simmons is the player to watch for West Virginia in 2019. Simmons grabbed 28 balls for 341 yards along with a touchdown last year. During his senior year at Clay-Chalkville High School in Alabama, he had 47 receptions for 1,228 yards along with 20 touchdowns. Simmons originally went to Alabama but elected to transfer to WVU after his freshman campaign.
There you have it, a breakout player from every Big 12 program for the 2019 season. Keep checking back for more college football content as the season edges closer.
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