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3 Breakout Players: SS Fred Holton

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Today, we begin a 3-part series with the highly-touted strong safety who's missed the past two seasons due to injury.

If you want a comparison for Holton, start with Brian Dawkins.
If you want a comparison for Holton, start with Brian Dawkins.

Fred Holton's career has basically been the definition of frustrating. After a freshman season that saw him stand out on special teams, Holton had won a starting job on the defense and was ready to break some faces. Unfortunately for Holton, August saw him injure his Achilles, ending his season. His teammates felt bad for him suffering this injury after he'd put in a ton of work over the summer, and many shaved their heads (to match his haircut) in tribute. Fast forward a year -- Holton is primed and ready to come back with a vengeance, having again won the starting job at safety. This time, however, he suffers a new injury, this one to his foot. He's listed as "questionable" and "doubtful" for the first six or so games, before having his season officially ended with surgery.

This year, though, will be Fred Holton's time to shine. Jemea Thomas will be playing defensive back to replace NFL-bound Rod Sweeting, meaning Holton will be slotted at the starting strong safety position. Buckle your seatbelts, because you're in for a treat. Holton is listed at 6'1", 208lbs, but will probably play closer to 220lbs. My understanding of him is that he's a weight room warrior, and once he gets onto the field is comparable to a human missile. His strength is in run support and defending short-to-mid-range passes -- perfect for his position. Dude is a hard-hitter who's more than capable of separating player and ball, be it in breaking up a pass or forcing a fumble.

I fully believe that Fred Holton is going to open some eyes this year. Imagine the chip this kid must have on his shoulder after missing two years with unfortunate injuries. Look for him to be an impact player and a difference-maker on defense.

Do you believe in the potential within Fred Holton, or do you think that two years off of the field will be majorly detrimental to him?