Man, football season seems so far away. I can't wait to see next years team (though, at the same time, I'm slightly fearful).
Anyways, here are two players on offense and defense who I think could be set for break-out years. And when I say "set," I'm probably just expressing my hopes, rather than making a founded prediction.
On defense, I think it's easy. I'm going with Mike Williams, and Jonas Mouton. Even though we know that star rankings aren't the end all be all, both of these recruits were very highly regarded.
Mouton has gotten mixed results so far, but I'm hopeful that he can put it together for his senior season (5th year). Size and athleticism won't be an issue for him. Hopefully a second year in GERG's defense will produce better results.
Williams had some injuries last season, and then couldn't really find the field anymore. I don't know if his playing time as injury-driven, or a coaches decision. Like Mouton, this is an incredibly athletic kid who I'm hoping improves in his second year.
Both players play a position with thin depth, so their success could go a long way towards helping us.
Offensively, I'm going with Stonum and Shaw. Both of them play a position where we have more depth than on defense, so I think their success is maybe less critical (is there such a thing) than that of Williams and Mouton.
I hate to bring up Stonum again (or am I just going for the reverse jinx here? hmm), but I think he's worth discussing.
Though he turned in a great year on special teams, his 2009 receiving stats were pretty equal to 2008, and he only caught one pass once we started our post-DSU slide. I tread carefully, because I know the passing game depends on a number of factors, but I just didn't see him get targeted deep at all.
I have incredibly high expectations for him (can't explain why) and I think he could be our next big time receiver. If he can haul in some deep jump balls, I think that goes a long way towards opening up the rest of the offense.
Finally, we have Mike Shaw. He was a bit of an after thought, since he didn't switch until signing day. I'm not sure what the expectations were for him, but suddenly he finds himself as the lone running back with an real experience. He's been doing his best Carlos Brown impression, but I think the next 9 months could be crucial for him.
He's got the leg-up on the youngester because of his experience. At RB, I prefer a guy that can be counted on to know the play and secure the football to a guy who is real explosive but mistake prone. Shaw is that guy. Having said that, I think he could quickly find himself behind Mike Cox, (har har) Fitz Touisant, and Vincent Smith (once he returns) if he doesn't seize the job by September.
What do you guys think?