Tom Dienhart, BTN.com Senior Writer, July 7, 2015
Every school needs them. They are breakout players. They may come out of nowhere to become key contributors this fall. Or, expectations may be big for these ?breakout? players.
Here is a look at one likely breakout player for each Big Ten East squad.
LB Tegray Scales. He had just-add-water impact last year as a true freshman, making 46 tackles with two sacks and 4.5 TFLs. Scales also tallied three picks. The 6-0, 220-pound sophomore plays the pass and run with equal aplomb. He?s a future star for a defense that needs stars.
OT Derwin Gray. The 6-5, 315-pound redshirt freshman is coming off spring shoulder surgery but is expected to be ready. He better be, as the Terps need Gray to hold down the key left tackle spot. Maryland also needs Gray?s bookend-redshirt freshman right tackle Damian Prince–to excel and give the Terps a strong rushing attack to take pressure off new QB Caleb Rowe.
SS Jabrill Peppers. The 6-1, 205-pound Peppers got his feet wet as a freshman last year-playing in three games with a start–but ultimately was redshirted because of leg injuries. Peppers is an uber athlete who has converted from cornerback. He?s a frightening combination of speed and size who flashed his potential in the spring. Peppers is primed to live up to the massive hype that accompanied him to Ann Arbor.
SS Montae Nicholson. He?s the next star of the Spartans? famed ?No Fly Zone? secondary. The 6-2, 216-pound Nicholson flashed great closing speed as a true freshman last year. He?s a big hitter who also can cover. Watch his star rise.
HB Jalin Marshall. America got a glimpse of his playmaking skills last season as a true freshman. And Marshall finished No. 2 on the team with 38 catches for 499 yards and six TDs. Only Cris Carter caught more passes as a freshman at OSU than the prep quarterback. Now, with Devin Smith and Evan Spencer gone, the 5-11, 205-pound Marshall could see an expanded role and become one of the Big Ten?s most deadly weapons.
DE Carl Nassib. Yes, the 6-6, 270-pounder is a senior, but he has played a reserve role his entire career after arriving on campus as a walk-on and adding 60 pounds. With holes to fill at end with Deion Barnes and C.J. Olaniyan gone, Nassib is primed to start and play a big role. He impressed in the spring after showing flashes off the bench last year.
DE Kemoko Turay. The rangy Turay made a mark last year as a redshirt freshman as a pass rusher and kick blocker. He?s an athletic 6-6, 235-pound freak who tied for the national lead with three blocked kicks. Turay also was seventh in the Big Ten with 7.5 sacks. Not bad for a guy who played just two years of high school football.
|About Tom Dienhart||BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart is a veteran sports journalist who covers Big Ten football and men's basketball for BTN.com and BTN TV. Find him on Twitter and Facebook, read all of his work at btn.com/tomdienhart, and subscribe to his posts via RSS. Also, send questions to his weekly mailbag using the form below and read all of his previous answers in his reader mailbag section.|