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Thursday, July 17, 2008
Some major props for Gators' Wright

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low

 
 J. Meric/Getty Images
 The Gators are expecting big things from Major Wright this season.

Now for those players in the SEC on the cusp of breaking out and becoming household names. Some of these players have already made their mark to varying degrees, while others either haven't gotten the chance or just haven't done it yet. Keep an eye on all 10 this season:

1. Major Wright, S, Florida: A punishing hitter who tied for the SEC lead in forced fumbles a year ago as a true freshman. Took his lumps along with the rest of the Gators' young secondary, but he'll be better for it this season.

2. Jeremy Jarmon, DE, Kentucky: For all intents and purposes, had a breakout season last year with nine sacks in his first full season as a starter. But with more depth and better talent around him, Jarmon will be even better in 2008.

3. Chad Jones, S, LSU: Another physical safety to watch in 2008. Jones showed his playmaking abilities in spots last season as a true freshman. At 6-foot-3 and nearly 230 pounds, he has all the tools to be a great one.

4. Tray Blackmon, LB, Auburn: A suspension his freshman season held him back, and it was an ankle injury last season. Blackman still finished seventh on the team in tackles despite playing in just nine games. This is the year he puts it all together.

5. Gerald Jones, WR, Tennessee: Was underutilized last season by the Vols as a freshman. But he's something to see in the open field, and new Tennessee offensive coordinator Dave Clawson is determined to get him the ball.

6. Al Woods, DT, LSU: Probably will back up Charles Alexander to start the season, but this is the year he puts it all together and plays like the NFL first-round draft pick he's been projected as. Think the Tigers are deep up front?

7. London Crawford, WR, Arkansas: Finally ready to live up to lofty high school credentials now that he's in Bobby Petrino's pass-happy offense. One of the Hogs' most improved players in the spring.

8. Terry Grant, RB, Alabama: Set an Alabama freshman rushing record last season with 891 yards despite being hindered by a painful sports hernia. Had offseason surgery to correct the problem and has become a more complete back.

9. Richard Murphy, RB, LSU: Even with Jacob Hester gone, the LSU backfield remains crowded. Some are fingering Keiland Williams as the breakout guy, but Murphy had the better spring with his blend of speed and pass-catching ability.

10. Mario Fannin, RB/WR, Auburn: Shoulder surgery derailed him in the spring, but the explosive Fannin is moving to the slot in Tony Franklin's spread offense. He's still going to get his touches running the ball, too.

In closing: Arkansas has a couple of tight ends to watch this season -- Andrew Davie and D.J. Willams. South Carolina tight end Jared Cook has "star" written all over him, too. Is this the year Tennessee defensive tackle Demonte Bolden puts it all together for 12 games? And for that matter, does another member of that Tennessee defensive line, senior end Robert Ayers, finally realize how good he can be?