Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson wasn't the only player to announce himself on the national stage with a breakout performance. Here are four others who started 2010 in style
DE Wayne Daniels, TCU, Senior
All-America sack master Jerry Hughes is gone, but stepping into his role as lead pass rusher is this 6' 2", 250-pound force, who was a frequent visitor in the Oregon State backfield during the No. 6 Horned Frogs' 30--21 win last Saturday. Daniels (96), who had just 6½ sacks entering the season, racked up three tackles for loss, including two sacks; forced a fumble; and helped TCU limit Heisman Trophy candidate Jacquizz Rodgers to 75 yards on 18 carries. Frogs coach Gary Patterson has a reputation for developing defensive players; Daniels is his latest discovery.
QB Taylor Martinez, Nebraska, Freshman
Coach Bo Pelini started neither Zac Lee, the incumbent at QB, nor Cody Green, the top backup in 2009. Instead he went with Martinez, who was a running and passing wizard against an overmatched Western Kentucky defense. The 6'1", 205-pound speedster accounted for 263 yards of total offense, including 127 on the ground (on just seven carries) and three touchdowns in a 49--10 blowout. If Martinez can come close to keeping up that pace, he could be the final piece in the offensively challenged Cornhuskers' championship puzzle.
QB Cameron Newton, Auburn, Junior
The transfer from Florida (via Blinn College in Schulenberg, Texas) got almost as much coverage in Alabama this summer as the Gulf oil spill. Last Saturday the 6'6", 250-pound Newton lived up to the hype, passing for 186 yards and three touchdowns as well as running for 171 yards and two scores as the Tigers cruised by Arkansas State 52--26. His performance led a victory parade of first-time starting SEC quarterbacks, who finished the weekend 5--1.
DE Olivier Vernon, Miami, Sophomore
Vernon's glory may be short-lived. He saw many snaps because fellow end Andrew Smith sat out with an arm injury, but Smith should be back for Saturday's showdown at No. 2 Ohio State. Still, the highly recruited Vernon made a push for more playing time with a team-high 3½ sacks against Florida A&M. (The Hurricanes had eight.) This week Miami will need all the edge-rushing help it can get against quarterback Terrelle Pryor and the Buckeyes.