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Spring eye-openers in the Big East

One of the fun things about spring practice is seeing players emerge from relative obscurity into major roles for the first time.

As I traveled around the Big East, I saw a lot of new faces and learned a lot of new names. Today I thought I'd highlight a list of five (actually six) players who opened my eyes. These aren't necessarily the biggest breakthrough players of spring. Rather, they are guys about whom I didn't know very much when practice started but who forced me to learn about them in a hurry:

1. Tim Wright/Quron Pratt, Rutgers: It was easy to miss Wright last year, even though he's a physically gifted, 6-foot-4 receiver. That's because he primarily played on special teams, if at all. But this spring, he took a leap forward and became one of Tom Savage's primary targets. And Pratt, a redshirt freshman, showed a lot of quickness and shiftiness in the slot receiver position. These two helped the Scarlet Knights' receiver position go from question mark to strength in a hurry.

2. Jeremy Wright, Louisville: Given all of the talk about Louisville's three primary running backs heading into the spring -- Victor Anderson, Bilal Powell and Darius Ashley -- I didn't hear a whole lot about the redshirt freshman Wright. But there were times in practice when he was the team's most impressive tailback, so much so that the Cardinals felt comfortable moving Ashley to defense. Unfortunately, a sports hernia injury cut Wright's spring short.

3. Adam Masters, Connecticut: Injuries to Jimmy Bennett and Mike Ryan allowed the redshirt sophomore Masters to get a lot of snaps at offensive tackle this spring, and he was so good at it that he may give one of those guys a battle for the starting job this fall. UConn continues to come up with excellent, under-the-radar offensive linemen.

4. Tristan Roberts, Pittsburgh: Roberts didn't play last year because of an injury and was mostly a special-teams player the year before. Now healthy, he made a big push this spring at outside linebacker, giving two-year starter Greg Williams reason to worry about his job security in the fall.

5. Evan Davis, Cincinnati: It's hard to be more anonymous than a backup center, even on a BCS bowl team. Davis waited behind Chris Jurek for two years before getting a crack at the starting job this spring. He didn't disappoint, playing extremely well and giving the Bearcats peace of mind at that crucial position.