With the football season fast approaching, we thought we'd take a look at five players the casual fan may not be too familiar with, but who could have breakout seasons this year.
Nigel King - King, a former North Carolina star, had to sit out his first year at Maryland due to NCAA issues, but caught nine passes for 125 yards and a touchdown as a redshirt freshman last season. He showed an immediate rapport with Caleb Rowe early, catching a 33-yard pass in the quarterback's first game and a touchdown pass from him in his first start. King finished the season on his highest note, catching four Shawn Petty passes for 72 yards and rushing for a 19 yard gain in the finale against North Carolina.
With Marcus Leak out this year, King is expected to start in the slot role for the Terrapins, and he brings an unusual amount of strength to the position to go along with his considerable speed and catching ability. King has long been a favorite of the TT community, and this year he has a real chance to shine.
Quinton Jefferson - Jefferson was an absolute beast as a high schooler in Pittsburgh, putting together one of the more impressive high school tapes of any recent Maryland commit. After grayshirting in 2011, he played in nine games as a true freshman last season, recording 13 tackles (include 0.5 for a loss) with two fumble recoveries and one fumble forced. He had two five tackle games - Georgia Tech and Florida State, and had a 28-yard fumble return against the Seminoles.
With A.J. Francis and Joe Vellano gone, Maryland has a serious opening on the defensive line, and Jefferson is one of the many looking to fill it. Currently listed as the starter at the leaner defensive end position, it's his job to lose.
Yannick Ngakoue - Ngakoue is the only incoming freshman on this list, and with good reason.With Derwin Gray going to prep school, he's the highest-touted incoming Terp by a wide margin, and is coming in at a WILL position that is anything but settled. Currently, oft-injured Marcus Whitfield is slotted to be Darin Drakeford's replacement (with Yannick Cudjoe-Virgil and Clarence Murphy also above the true freshman), but many believe Ngakoue could be a four-year starter at the spot. He may not be the starter for kick-off against FIU, but come ACC time expect to see a whole lot of the younger Yannick.
Amba Etta - The speedster redshirted last season, and enters camp as Deon Long's back-up at the X position. It's between Etta and true sophomore Levern Jacobs for the fourth receiver slot, and whoever wins it will certainly see plenty of pass-catching opportunities. Even if Jacobs wins that spot out, Etta is one of the better deep threats on the team, and should see plenty of long balls throughout the year.
Abner Logan - Logan was the defensive star of last year's class, and was able to redshirt thanks to some serious inside linebacker depth. With Demetrius Hartsfield gone, however, Logan now stands as the third option behind starters Cole Farrand and L.A. Goree. He's fast, he's strong, and he has great football instincts - he will certainly press the two starters for playing time, and could be a key contributor off the bench - the Alex Twine of the inside.
It's poll time. Who are you guys picking as the breakout star? Who did we miss? Let us know in the comments.