Breakout players to watch among the non-AQs

February, 11, 2010
2/11/10
11:00
AM ET
As we head into spring football, it’s time to start speculating about which players will jump up and surprise this season.

Some of the players I mentioned last year were Florida Atlantic running back Alfred Morris and Memphis receiver Marcus Rucker. Morris led the Owls in rushing with 1,392 yards and Rucker had just 241 receiving yards for the Tigers.

It’s not an exact science, but it is fun to start looking ahead and speculating which players could have a breakout season in 2010.

Here are my top five breakout hopefuls:

1. Jordan Wynn, QB, Utah: After watching Wynn play the final third of the season last year, it’s hard not to expect him to be pretty darn good in 2010. Wynn had a rough stretch of opponents to start his collegiate career, but that will only make him better in 2010, especially against a tough nonconference schedule that includes Notre Dame and Pittsburgh.

2. Lampford Mark, RB, Nevada: Mark sat behind Luke Lippincott and Vai Taua most of last season, but with Taua on the fence because of academics, Mark can come through this spring as the team’s top rusher. He rushed for at least 69 yards in three games this season, including 90 yards against SMU in the Sherton Hawaii Bowl when both Taua and Lippincott were out.

3. Zac Dysert, QB, Miami-Ohio: Dysert had a good freshman season last year, passing for 2,614 passing yards and 12 touchdowns, but he also threw 16 interceptions. With a year in this offense, a little more familiarity with the coaching staff and a better supporting cast, Dysert could be the quarterback to watch in the MAC this year.

4. Jamie Hampton, QB, Troy: Hampton missed part of the 2008 season and all of last year while recovering from knee surgery, but before the injury he was on his way to being one of the best quarterbacks for the Trojans in quite some time. Because of his skill and experience, the Trojans shouldn’t have to worry about a dropoff after losing former starter Levi Brown.

5. Robbie Rouse, RB, Fresno State: Rouse was hidden behind Ryan Mathews and Lonyae Miller, but he still managed to rush for 479 yards and four touchdowns as the third stringer. As the Bulldogs top returning running back in 2010, Rouse should be one of the best rushers in the conference.

Graham Watson | email

College Football
Watson joined ESPN.com in 2008 after four seasons covering the Missouri Tigers and the Big 12 Conference for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She also covered college football recruiting for the Dallas Morning News.

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