Every year we look at players who just didn't come through the season before. It's a harsh reality in today's sports atmosphere with all the suffocating hype and expectations.
Today, we start to discuss players in the SEC who are looking for a rebound season in 2011. Some were either injured the year before or fell below expectations. That means redshirt freshmen aren't eligible, but a player who missed most of the year due to injury, like Ole Miss' Kentrell Lockett or LSU's Sam Montgomery, is.
Each day, we'll take a look at one player on both offense and defense from each team looking for that bounce-back season this fall.
We're changing things up by starting in the SEC East and going in alphabetical order. We'll start our new series with the Florida Gators:
John Brantley, QB, Sr.: Brantley entered the 2010 season with a wealth of hype after most around the program thought he'd put up much better passing numbers than Tim Tebow did. However, Brantley never adapted to Urban Meyer's spread offense and was near the bottom of the SEC in quarterback statistics last season. Brantley ranked 10th in the SEC and 89th nationally with a passing efficiency of 116.36. He threw nine touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Four of those touchdowns and seven of those picks came in SEC play. Things are expected to be better for Brantley now that Charlie Weis and his pro-style offense are in town. Remember, some had Brantley pegged as a 2011 draft pick because of his throwing ability. He has the skill to succeed, but he has to develop the confidence he lacked last season in a more fitting offense.
Dominique Easley, DT, So: Easley was a part of Florida's tremendous trio of defensive linemen it brought in last season. Unfortunately for Easley and the Gators, his first season was pretty forgettable. Discipline issues had the former five-star recruit suspended from the team, and once he finally returned, an ankle injury got to him. Easley played in just six games last season, recording four tackles. Florida's new coaching staff helped transform his attitude this spring and Easley began to look like the player who was first recruited to Florida. If Easley has his head together, he could be a true force in the middle of Florida's defensive line. The coaches are expecting big things from him in his second year.