Breakout guy: Mekhi Sargent
This was undoubtedly one of the toughest superlatives to nail down, but I ultimately went with current starting running back Mekhi Sargent.
After spending the entire offseason as the third-string running back, the junior college transfer took advantage of injuries and ineffective play to get a hold of the starting role by the end of the season, and the results were solid.
The interior offensive line wasn’t exactly good, but Sargent made do with what he had and still managed to rush for 745 yards on 159 carries for a 4.7 yard per carry average. He also added 9 touchdowns on the ground and another in the aerial attack. Unfortunately, Sargent had to do a lot of the work himself making people miss in the run game.
Gone are 2/3rds of the interior offensive line and there is hope that this year’s version of the interior offensive line will be much improved in addition to the two imposing tackles getting even better and stronger than they already were. Although Sargent is likely going to split time with other backs as the Iowa football team likes to do, I expect him to go over 1,000 yards this season and average over 5 yards per carry, which would be a big improvement.
For that reason, he is my breakout candidate heading into 2019.