With spring football in the books, let's take a look at some players who burst onto the national scene during their 15 practices and could be primed for a lot of playing time in the fall.
Jameis Winston emerged as the leader of the FSU offense this spring.
Florida State QB Jameis Winston: Do you think two-year backup Clint Trickett would have transferred to West Virginia if he thought he had a real chance to start in Tallahassee? The dual-threat Winston was the Seminoles' star of the spring, capping off his offseason success with a fantastic performance in the team's spring game. He did this, by the way, while also playing baseball for the school. While head coach Jimbo Fisher maintains that intriguing sophomore Jacob Coker remains in the mix, this is Winston's job to lose. He is big, strong, athletic and has a good arm. But is he the signal-caller to help the 'Noles avoid losses like the one last year at NC State?
USC WR Nelson Agholor: With Robert Woods moving onto the NFL, Marqise Lee needs a buddy to help him out in the receiving corps. Lee will get all of the attention from opposing defensive coordinators, so another Trojans receiver will have an opportunity to take advantage. The Florida native is still learning the nuances of the position, and he is still developing rapport with quarterbacks Max Wittek and Cody Kessler, but Agholor has showed flashes of big-play ability. Incredibly, head coach Lane Kiffin also mentioned that Lee and Agholor arguably would be the team's two best cornerbacks if they lined up on defense. That speaks to how troublesome the Trojans' secondary is as well as the athleticism of the pair of receivers.
Florida RB Kelvin Taylor: One of the reasons why the Gators were in the BCS race throughout last season besides their stout defense was the physical rushing attack provided by Mike Gillislee. With Gillislee no longer in Gainesville, head coach Will Muschamp is looking for someone to step up in preseason camp to fill that void. The son of former Gators great Fred Taylor arrived in January and had a very good spring, finishing the team's final scrimmage with 60 yards. Matt Jones and Mack Brown are Nos. 1 and 2 on the post-spring depth chart, but Taylor will see the field early. And true freshmen backs have stolen starting jobs across the SEC in recent seasons.
Arkansas RB Jonathan Williams: The staple of a Bret Bielema-coached team has been a power run game and sound defense. While freshman Alex Collins will certainly compete for playing time once he arrives on campus, sophomore Jonathan Williams made a strong case to be the No. 1 back with a very good spring. He is the leading returning rusher for the Hogs after gaining 231 yards on 45 carries as well as 208 receiving yards and two touchdowns as a pass-catcher in 2012. He has good vision and toughness, and his production will be huge for an offense that has a bit of a question mark under center.
Baylor QB Bryce Petty: We wondered how Nick Florence would do taking over for Robert Griffin III despite his experience starting in the past, and we saw how productive Florence was last fall. Could Petty put up similar numbers in this offense after working with quarterback guru George Whitfield? The fourth-year junior will have weapons around him, including former Oregon transfer Lache Seastrunk, who will be on some preseason Heisman Trophy lists. Petty has had time to learn a quarterback-friendly system and pretty much ran away with the starting job this spring. He punctuated his spring by going 13-of-15 passing for 181 yards and two touchdowns in the spring game, and he looks ready to be the next productive Bears signal-caller.
APR 15 Jerry Angelo
A strategy session for draft day as well as my top-five players in this year’s rookie class.
APR 14 Jeff Fedotin
Oakland has whiffed on its first-round picks.
APR 12 Joel Corry
Jacksonville’s pursuit of center Alex Mack came up just short after a valiant effort.