The SEC didn’t have a team in the national championship game for the first time in nine years, but many still consider them to be the best conference in the country. The conference produces several new stars every year, so who can fans expect to have breakout years in 2015?
Though he's just a freshman, Cowart has the size (6’4″, 250 lbs.) and speed (4.6 40-yard dash) to have an immediate impact rushing the passer and will develop into a star under defensive coordinator Will Muschamp. Auburn already has a good defense, but they still need a star - Cowart has the talent to be that guy right away.
Cooper was one of the only bright spots in a disappointing season for the Gamecocks in 2014. He’s a versatile threat that showed he can be an elite wideout (1,136 yards, nine touchdowns) that also makes plays in the running game (200 yards, two touchdowns) and can even throw the ball (5/8, 78 yards, 2 touchdowns).
With quarterback Dylan Thompson and running back Mike Davis gone, South Carolina’s offense will give Cooper as many touches as possible, turning him into a star on the national stage.
Dobbs led Tennessee to a 4-2 record after taking over during the last six games of the season, passing for 1,206 yards and nine touchdowns while rushing for 469 yards and eight more touchdowns. He needs to improve his decision making, but having a whole offseason as the starter should help in that regard. His athleticism and arm talent make him a dangerous weapon, and Dobbs could be the breakout star in the SEC.
“Like Nick Marshall, but bigger and better” is how one scout described Johnson, who completed 28 of 37 passes in 2014 with three touchdowns and no interceptions in mop-up duty this year. The Tigers will be a better team in 2015, and very few of their offensive weapons are graduating or leaving for the NFL. Gus Malzahn’s offensive scheme will ensure Johnson has the opportunity to put up Heisman-caliber numbers, and he’ll give Auburn a potent passing attack to go along with their dominant ground game.
Chubb was absolutely dynamite once he saw the field after All-American Todd Gurley’s suspension. In fact, he was so good that he got the starting nod over Gurley once Gurley got back. Chubb will be the full-time, featured back for the Bulldogs next year, and he’s going to get a very heavy workload as Georgia tries to break in a new quarterback. The opportunities will be there, and if he can produce like he did this year, he’ll go from part-time starter to Heisman finalist.
1) RB Leonard Fournette - LSU Tigers
Fournette got Heisman hype before he even stepped on campus in Baton Rouge this fall, and while he didn’t quite reach that level as a freshman, he was still one of the best backs in the SEC. He’ll be more heavily featured next year, and will become the focal point of LSU’s power running offense. With a year of experience under his belt, Fournette could take the country by storm this fall.
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