We'll take a look at some of the Big 12's breakout stars this spring, but we'll move forward with a series today looking at guys who will be stepping into bigger roles this season and what they have to provide. Some are going from being role players to starters. Some are going from starter to star. Some from stars to bona fide superstars.
Let's move on with Kansas State.
Kansas State's spring step forward: RB John Hubert
Now is the time for Hubert. He has to shift from being a very, very good starter to a star if Kansas State is going to be better than a 6-7 win team this season. Hubert has quietly been solid the past two seasons, but far overshadowed in his own backfield by some guy named Collin Klein who spent some time in New York in December for something called the Heisman Trophy presentation.
In the past two seasons, Hubert has averaged almost 5 yards a carry and racked up an average of 961 yards as Klein's right-hand man in the backfield. It's a shame more folks haven't taken notice of the 5-foot-7, 191-pounder who plays like he's 6-foot-2 and 230 pounds when he's rumbling through the tackles. Next year, expect K-State to lean on the third-year starter a little more with a quarterback transition to either Daniel Sams or Jake Waters under way. Hubert is good enough (and most importantly, durable enough) to help smooth that transition by shouldering a much heavier load. He carried the ball just 189 times last season and 200 times in 2011. Don't be too surprised if he flirts with 300 carries next season.
K-State needs him to step forward and become a star to help this offense to keep churning and stay as efficient as it's been under Klein the past two seasons. He's gone. Those 3rd-and-shorts are a lot less automatic without Klein, but Hubert can earn those tough yards and will have to in 2013. Sams is speedy as a runner but is a lot less powerful than Klein. Expect more carries in tight spots for Hubert, and if he blossoms into an even bigger talent (Is a Big 12 rushing title on the way? Heads up, Lache Seastrunk.), you can go ahead and chalk up yet another magical season in Manhattan, this one even more illogical than the previous two.