Spring breakout players: Syracuse

Another day, another look at players from each Big East team who announced themselves as potential spring breakout guys.

Once again, here's how I'm defining "breakout" status: players who haven't seen the field yet but showed they could be major contributors in 2011; players who have gotten some time but could move into much bigger roles this season; and players who have started but could blossom into stars.

Continuing on down the alphabet, it's time to take a peek at the Syracuse Orange breakout candidates:

  • Antwon Bailey, RB, Sr: Bailey is by no means an unknown quantity, but he still fits the bill as a breakout guy because of his opportunity. Used mostly as a third- down or change-of-pace specialist behind Delone Carter the past couple of seasons, he's about to step into a full-time starting role at tailback. He's not very big -- listed at 5-foot-7, Bailey told me on my spring trip to Syracuse that most people on campus don't even think he's a football player when he meets them -- but he's got great quickness and wiggle. Combine his ability to line up at receiver if needed and the veteran Orange offensive line that will block for him, and he has a chance to be among the best backs in the Big East this season.

  • Keon Lyn, CB, Soph.: Lyn played on the same high school team (Florida's Miramar High) as West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith and Mountaineers receivers Stedman Bailey and Ivan McCartney. Perhaps trying to defend those guys in the passing game sped his development. Syracuse coaches really like Lyn's athletic ability as he attempts to step into a starting role this season for the first time. He got his feet wet in limited action as a true freshman last season and now will have to respond to the pressure of covering Big East receivers one-on-one at times in Syracuse's pressure scheme.

  • Dan Vaughan, LB, Jr.: Like Bailey, Vaughan is another upperclassmen who is getting an opportunity to play more. After playing in every game the past two seasons as a backup, Vaughan solidified his starting job at strong side linebacker with an excellent spring. He won't wow you with speed, and at 210 pounds he's small for a player at his position. But he knows the game and brings a veteran presence to an otherwise young position group. Assuming he holds off some incoming freshmen this summer, he could make an impact at a key spot on Scott Shafer's defense.