Spring practice's top 10 breakout players 

May, 3, 2011
05/03/11
8:56
AM ET

Spring football often is the first real look many of us get at the so-called "rising stars" of a program, the ones that look like the replacements for key guys from the year before. Just about every team has a player who really wasn't a factor the previous season, but now has the staff arching its collective eyebrow over a breakout spring showing. This week's top 10 list: the biggest breakout guys of the spring.

1. Corey Nelson, LB, Oklahoma Sooners

The third-rated outside linebacker in the 2010 recruiting class, Nelson has physically matured and looks ready to team with OU star Travis Lewis at weakside linebacker to form a fierce tandem. Bob Stoops went so far as to note that Nelson was "the best player" on the OU defense at times this spring. I suspect Stoops will find a way to make sure Nelson gets plenty of action on the field this fall.


To read the rest of Bruce Feldman's list of breakout spring performers, including a star freshman at Notre Dame, a starting quarterback in the ACC and Boise State's next great wide receiver, become an ESPN Insider today.

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