Every season is characterized by players who have great years that most did not expect them to have â€“â€“ a sort of coming out party.
It is not an exact science, predicting which players will have their â€œbreakoutâ€ year, but here are a few players to watch as the season progresses.
Lou Greenwood â€“ wide receiver
Sophomore wide receiver Lou Greenwood saw time last year mainly returning kicks, but also took snaps at running back. Greenwood had 42 carries for 147 yards as well as 13 receptions with a total of four touchdowns.
He possesses great speed and versatility as an athlete, prompting the coaches to move him to wide receiver in 2010, a move that he accepted without argument.
â€œWith the move to receiver I feel like it will be easier to get me the ball,â€ Greenwood said. â€œSo I feel like it is a big role for me.â€
Another sign of a potential breakout year for Greenwood is his willingness to do whatever he can to ensure the team wins games. He doesnâ€™t have a specific set of numbers to measure his success by except wins.
â€œI just want to make an impact for the team,â€ Greenwood said. â€œI want to win and if I can score 12 touchdowns every game and do that, then thatâ€™s what Iâ€™ll do.â€
Tony Drake â€“ running back
Freshman running back Tony Drake, out of Texas, comes to CSU as a highly recruited prospect looked at by Michigan, Boise State and TCU.
Drakeâ€™s incredible 40-yard dash time of 4.35 seconds is his biggest attention drawer.
His reason for coming to be a Ram was simple.
â€œThe communication and vibe with the coaches showed that CSU really wanted me,â€ Drake said. â€œMichigan â€“â€“ they talked about me coming on visits and wanting me up there, but CSU â€“â€“ as soon as they called me, I was up there the next day.â€
His game-breaking speed and potential to hit the home run will surely allow him to see some time on the field as a true freshman.
Ivory Herd â€“ strong safety
On the defensive side of the ball, junior Ivory Herd will be asked to fill the hole left by Klint Kubiak.
His first two years on campus, Herd saw the field mostly on special teams and in relief of the injured Kubiak, where he proved to be a sure tackler and capable of breaking up passes.
Beyond that, Herd strives every day to improve. Safeties coach Larry Lewis sees that effort paying off.
â€œHeâ€™s going to get where heâ€™s at because of his hard work and his effort,â€ Lewis said. â€œHe is aggressive and tough, and really heâ€™s a lot faster than people think he is.â€
Herd is ready to take the next step in his development as a player.
â€œLast season I was a little hesitant at times,â€ Herd said. â€œBut now I feel like I play football without hesitation.â€
Football beat reporter Cris Tiller can be reached at email@example.com.