Breakout Candidates in College Football 2023 Power Five Players to Watch

Breakout Candidates in College Football 2023 – As excitement for the 2023 college football season builds, fans and analysts look forward to identifying standout performers who could make an immediate difference on the field. Within each Power Five conference, numerous players are poised to become star quarterbacks or defensive playmakers whose performances may transform their teams and draw national attention.

ACC Breakout Candidates: Cade Klubnik and Leonard Taylor Eyeing Stardom

Cade Klubnik, a highly touted five-star prospect, assumed his starting quarterback duties for Clemson late in the 2022 season and led them to an ACC championship. Now with Garrett Riley as Clemson’s offensive coordinator – having successfully worked at TCU with Max Duggan before – Klubnik could elevate his game further and even contend for Heisman Trophy honors.

Leonard Taylor stands at 6-foot-3 and weighs 305 pounds, drawing notice from NFL scouts despite not establishing himself as a star for Miami Hurricanes. Taylor could garner first-round draft consideration and possess the size and skillset to cause havoc on any defensive line. Should Miami improve under new head coach Mario Cristobal, Taylor could create havoc for opposing quarterbacks by returning fully fit for Week 1.

Big 12 Breakout Candidates: JoJo Earle and Dasan McCullough Ready to Shine

After experiencing injury setbacks at Alabama, JoJo Earle transferred to TCU and is set to make an immediate, impactful contribution to their offensive system. With Kendal Briles as their new offensive coordinator, Earle now has the chance to showcase his talents and become an essential weapon for Kendal Briles’ Horned Frogs team despite limited playing time (he currently stands as the 12th best receiver among 2021 recruits). His 12th-place ranking indicates his potential impact.

Oklahoma’s defensive struggles in 2022 inspired head coach Brent Venables to turn to the transfer portal for solutions. One key acquisition was Dasan McCullough, ranked by 247Sports as the No. 17 overall transfer for this cycle when he left Indiana. He received valuable experience playing all 12 games for Indiana before signing with Oklahoma as a projected starter and giving an underperforming defense new life.

Big Ten Breakout Candidates: KeAndre Lambert-Smith and Jah Joyner Ready to Take the Stage

KeAndre Lambert-Smith has shown glimpses of his potential during his three seasons at Penn State, yet he has not become the Nittany Lions’ primary playmaker. But with crucial receivers leaving in free agency this offseason, Lambert-Smith should come into his own in 2023. When combined with five-star quarterback Drew Allar, he can become the go-to target and showcase his considerable playability, like last season’s Rose Bowl victory (124 yards, 88-yard touchdown performance).

Joyner led Minnesota in quarterback pressures despite modest numbers last season, showing his promise as a pass rusher. Beginning with Week 5, Joyner gradually gained more playing time until eventually taking on full-time starter duties in 2023. With Wilson DeLattiboudere’s coaching staff, he can build upon his foundation and become one of Big Ten’s premier pass rushers.

Pac-12 Breakout Candidates: Cameron Skattebo and Dontae Manning Eyeing Success

Cameron Skattebo entered Arizona State with high expectations after an outstanding FCS season. At Arizona’s spring game, he demonstrated his worth with an outstanding showing, amassing over 100 all-purpose yards and scoring one rushing touchdown. Skattebo’s ability to convert first downs or touchdowns on 40.3 percent of his touches illustrates his impactful playmaking potential. Under Kenny Dillingham’s direction, Skattebo hopes to recreate its past success on a Power Five level.

Oregon is searching for a playmaker in the secondary, and Dontae Manning may provide just that solution. Manning may not have lived up to initial expectations, but his 13-game appearances this past season provided valuable experience for him. With Tosh Lupoi now providing stability on defense, Manning has an opportunity to reach his full potential and realize his status as a four-star prospect.

SEC Breakout Candidates: Luther Burden III and Caleb Downs Ready to Make an Impact

Luther Burden III, the prized recruit of Missouri’s 2022 signing class, showcased his skills as a true freshman, making significant contributions to the Tigers’ offense. With improved quarterback play, Burden is poised to remind everyone why he was a five-star prospect during his recruitment. His six touchdown receptions accounted for nearly half of the team’s passing touchdowns, indicating his ability to find the end zone.

Ranked as the top safety in the 2023 recruiting cycle, Caleb Downs has made a strong impression on Alabama’s coaching staff during spring practice. Despite not having played a down at the collegiate level, his contributions in practice have caught the attention of head coach Nick Saban. With multiple starting safeties departing, Downs has a clear path to becoming an immediate impact player for the Crimson Tide if he continues progressing as expected.

The 2023 college football season promises to be exciting, with several breakout candidates from each Power Five conference ready to make their mark. From highly touted quarterbacks like Cade Klubnik and Luther Burden III to talented defensive players such as Leonard Taylor and Caleb Downs, these athletes have the potential to elevate their game and become stars on the national stage. Keep a close eye on college football updates and these players as they embark on their journey to stardom in the upcoming season.