football Edit

Week 13: College football's breakout stars

Mark Pszonak contributed to this report

Week 13 of the college football season is in the books and with it came many standout performances. Here are three guys who had what could be breakout weeks for them as they take the next step in their development.

MORE BREAKOUT STARS: Week 12 | Week 11 | Week 10 | Week 9 | Week 8

Kenny Pickett
Kenny Pickett (AP Images)

The skinny: Pickett committed to Pittsburgh in June and remained firm with his word until offensive coordinator Matt Canada made the move to LSU. This caused him to take a closer look at a few schools, with North Carolina becoming the main threat. But in the end, he signed with the Panthers and enrolled early. Pittsburgh began with Max Browne at quarterback and then made the move to Ben DiNucci before Pickett finally got the call as the starter for the Virginia Tech game. Now the Panthers may have found their quarterback of the future. After a promising performance against the Hokies, Pickett led the Panthers to an improbable victory against undefeated and No. 2 Miami on Friday with 193 yards and one touchdown through the air and 60 yards and two touchdowns on the ground.

Farrell’s take: A three-star dual threat out of high school, Pickett wasn’t heavily recruited, but had his share of middling offers. He had good size and showed solid mobility, but didn’t flash a huge arm and was raw in some aspects. He was better throwing on the move than he was in the pocket, and he showed some of that in his last couple of games. The win over Miami has Pitt fans excited about the quarterback of the future in Pittsburgh.

Dwayne Haskins
Dwayne Haskins (AP Images)

The skinny: Haskins committed to Maryland in May, but never truly shut down his recruiting process. As time progressed, more and more rumors began to swirl that the Terps would need to work overtime to keep Haskins, and after official visits to Florida and Ohio State, he flipped to the Buckeyes in mid-January. He canceled a planned visit to LSU after he committed to Ohio State. Haskins had already received spot duty in seven games this season, but none of his minutes on the field were as important as when J.T. Barrett went down with an injury during the game against Michigan on Saturday. Playing vital minutes for the Buckeyes, Haskins completed 6 of 7 passes for 94 yards and added 24 yards on the ground on three carries to help lead them to the victory. The Buckeyes’ offense seems to be in good hands after Barrett’s departure.

Farrell’s take: Haskins burst onto the scene for us by winning the QB MVP at our Rivals Camp Series Baltimore-Washington, D.C., between his sophomore and junior year. The offers flew in after that. He ended up as a Rivals100 prospect by showing off excellent arm strength and good touch downfield. As a top 5 pro-style quarterback in the 2016 class, we liked his upside and even mentioned him as a better option than J.T. Barrett following the Oklahoma debacle. He is showing Ohio State fans that the passing game could be in better hands in the future after his seamless appearance against Michigan.

Dillon Mitchell (left)
Dillon Mitchell (left) (AP Images)

The skinny: Mitchell surprised some by making a commitment to Oregon during his junior season. Despite continued interest from Tennessee, Alabama, Oklahoma and Auburn, Mitchell stayed firm with his commitment and enrolled early for the spring of 2016. After only grabbing two receptions as a true freshman, Mitchell has become a reliable threat in the Ducks’ passing attack this fall. He enjoyed his most productive game of his collegiate career on Saturday night against Oregon State, when he reeled in six receptions for 119 yards and two touchdowns during the victory. With a solid sophomore season, big things will be expected out of Mitchell in 2018.

Farrell’s take: A Rivals100 receiver, we loved Mitchell’s suddenness, route running and ability after the catch. Despite a lack of great size, he was still sneaky strong and solidly built. We expected a freshman impact from Mitchell, but a year later he’s ready to break out and should have a huge season next year. He was amazing at finding the end zone in high school (43 touchdowns) and was one of my picks as a guy who could take a massive leap from high school to college.

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