Michigan State Football: 5 potential breakout stars for 2015

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Aug 29, 2014; East Lansing, MI, USA; Michigan State Spartans cornerback Darian Hicks (2) reacts to a play during the 1st half of a game at Spartan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

4. Darian Hicks, Jr., CB

With the departure of Darqueze Dennard from the 2013 team and to the NFL draft, Darian Hicks was expected to step up big-time during his sophomore campaign in 2014. However, the young cornerback had anything but a successful season and saw his playing time reduced near the end of the year.

Don’t expect the 2015 season to be anything like his 2014 campaign as Hicks has learned from his mistakes and is taking this offseason to improve and hone his skills. He has the potential to be a stud in the defensive backfield, but it just hasn’t happened yet.

Hicks may be a bit undersized at 5-foot-10, but he has bulked up quite a bit in the past couple of seasons in order to fit right in with the rest of the No Fly Zone. If he wants to be physical like Trae Waynes and Dennard were for the past two years, adding some weight can’t hurt.

Whenever there was a big passing play for the opponents in 2014, Hicks seemed to be the culprit of poor coverage. That will likely all change this season as his job is on the line and the spring practices have been basically his last shot to earn a starting role before he watches the last two years of his career from the sidelines.

That motivation alone could drive someone to live up to their potential and I believe that’s exactly what will happen here. Hicks is rumored to be a backup as of right now, but I expect it to change before week one.

This is his year to show what he’s worth.

Next: 3. DeAnthony Arnett, Sr., WR