College football is full of good players. Unfortunately, being "good" doesn't garner national attention. In order for a player to create a reputation that stretches across states, conferences and regions, he must make the leap from good to great.
I've identified five players who are poised to make that jump from good to great in the upcoming season. One player in this group actually sat out the 2012 season while another is set to play on both sides of the ball this fall. One thing all five have in common: They've generated plenty of buzz in the offseason and they're set to make a lot of noise this fall.
Florida CB/WR Loucheiz Purifoy
Purifoy is a freaky athlete but he didn't produce enough stats to garner national hype in 2012. That will change this season. He will likely see time on both sides of the ball (cornerback and wide receiver) and he'll also be a factor on special teams (two blocked kicks in 2012). I love his toughness and raw athleticism and I believe he's poised to have a huge season.
South Florida DE Aaron Lynch
Lynch sat out last season after transferring to South Florida from Notre Dame. He was very impressive as a true freshman in 2011. He posted 5.5 sacks for the Irish and displayed an impressive blend of size, power and agility. South Florida isn't viewed as an elite program but that won't stop Lynch from garnering plenty of national attention this fall.
LSU DT Anthony Johnson
LSU is no stranger to dominant defensive linemen. Johnson showed flashes of dominance last fall but I expect him to be more consistent this season. The Tigers will play in several high-profile games this fall and Johnson will have the opportunity to display his power, quickness and ability to finish. He should approach double-digit sacks this year and become a household name for college football fans.
Maryland WR Stefon Diggs
Diggs arrived at Maryland as a prized recruit and he more than lived up to the billing. He caught 54 balls for 848 yards and six touchdowns as a true freshman last season. He also returned two kickoffs for scores. He played on a bad team last year and his efforts went largely unnoticed on the national scene. I don't expect Maryland to be a top tier squad in 2013 but the talent around Diggs will be improved enough to showcase his skills. He'll be a fixture on the Saturday night highlight shows.
USC WR Nelson Agholor
Agholor showed glimpses of his potential as the Trojans' third wideout last fall. With Robert Woods now playing for the Buffalo Bills, Agholor will move up to the No. 2 spot and team with Marqise Lee to form one of the top pass catching duos in the country. Agholor has outstanding speed and he tracks the ball naturally over the shoulder. He's also surprisingly strong and elusive after the catch. This fall, he will see a steady diet of single coverage because of Lee's reputation and I expect him to capitalize with plenty of big plays.