Now that we've examined the impact players on the team this fall, next we'll be taking a look at this team's "breakout" players. What's a breakout player, exactly? A breakout player is one that hasn't seen a lot of time on the field so far and is generally unknown by a lot of the fanbase, or at least has made minimal impact on the team relative to the impact he'll make this year. Some of them are introductions of newer players, while others are statements of raised expectations from veterans. Confused? We'll try to make this make a little more sense to you.
Chris Griffin, Redshirt Freshman, Offensive Line
The first of this fall's breakout players will be Chris Griffin, a 6'6", 295 pound redshirt freshman offensive lineman from Panacea, FL -- around 45 minutes south of Tallahassee near the Gulf coast. Griffin has added 30 pounds from his reported high school weight of 265 pounds. Why would that be, you ask? That's because Griffin not only played football in high school, but was also a major force in the state of Florida's heavyweight wrestling division. Now that he's focused on football, Griffin has clearly bulked up. However, that wrestling experience will play a large role in Griffin's breakout season as an offensive lineman.
With Will Jackson, Ray Beno, Jay Finch, and Chase Roberts having departed the program, there are holes to fill on the offensive line, and I would expect Griffin to fill one of them. He is likely to play at offensive tackle given his length and athleticism, and should surprise some people with his ability to maneuver himself (and others) -- skills picked up and honed as a wrestler. Not only that, but Griffin was a solid offensive lineman in high school (with an impressive lineup of scholarship offers) who could have seen time last year as a true freshman were the line not as deep as it was. This year, though, expect Griffin to start (and if not, to see a lot of playing time), and be prepared to be surprised by how good a guy who's never played at the college level can be. Griffin should impress a lot of people on the offensive line.
Are you excited to have Chris Griffin playing? What are your expectations for him? Will he start this year, or will Errin Joe take that place?