Here are my most improved players:
1. David Nelson – The lanky wide receiver started making plays in the second half of the spring and it looks like he’ll find his way into the playing rotation this season. He still needs to gain strength to be the type of blocker the coaches are looking for, but he’s certainly an inviting target and he’s displayed good hands. He reminds me a little bit of Chris Doering.
2. Ryan Stamper – He was completely under the radar heading into the spring, but this guy has been working with the No.1 defense at outside linebacker the past few weeks and has a chance to lock down a starting job in 2007. He has fended off promising redshirt freshman A.J. Jones, which is saying something because Jones has been very impressive at times. Stamper’s emergence this spring has been an unexpected bonus.
3. Kyle Jackson – I know, I know. The kid hasn’t been very good since the Alabama game in 2005. But he’s really had a great spring. Not only is he covering well from his free safety position, he’s been a sure tackler, which means he’s really taken care of his most obvious weakness. Jackson has been with the No. 1 defense throughout the spring.
4. Cameron Newton – This true freshman quarterback look lost and awful the first few days of the spring. He’s made an amazing transformation since thing. He’s looked comfortable in the offense and he’s become a very confident passer. It looks like he’ll be the No. 2 guy in 2007, which means he’ll be playing some.
5. Markus Manson – I thought this experiment would be called off after a week or so and Manson would move back to tailback from cornerback. I missed that one. Manson has looked very good at times and probably would be a starter if the season started today. He’ll definitely be staying at cornerback now. With his speed an athletic ability, he could be one of the surprise defensive players in the SEC in 2007.