In the world of the internet, reporters are always trying to find the “next big thing," Needless to say it is hard to be surprised when someone lands on the sports landscape with a boom. We saw Wil Myers coming a mile ahead, just like we heard the stories of Eddie Lacy in advance. But, who came out of nowhere and shocked us all? Who was this year’s Jeremy Lin, Russell Wilson or Shaun White? Here is Crave Online’s 2013 Best New Faces in Sports:
Brian Reddoch is a CraveOnline reporter and rabid fan of all teams Seattle. You can follow him on Twitter @ReddReddoch or “like” CraveOnline Sports on
Additional help from Clayton Hollifield and Zachary Hutton.
Photo Credit: Getty
2013 Best New Faces Sports
10. Myles Jack, UCLA Bruins
He won the Pac-12’s freshman of the year…
TWICE. The true freshman played impressive on both sides of the ball. Yes… he played both linebacker and running back and won awards for both. Someday, he may have to make a tough decision, but in the meantime he is the newest football superstar in Los Angeles.
9. Keenan Allen, San Diego Chargers
After playing in obscurity for the lowly Cal Bears and seeing his stock drop due to drug charges, Allen was largely ignored on draft day in fantasy football. He went on to be the
17 best wide receiver on average this year, which isn’t bad considering his first month was a waste. His 4 TDs in the past two games are helping him to become a local legend in San Diego.
8. Jose Fernandez, Miami Marlins
There were speculation that someday, Fernandez was going to be an ace. People laughed when the Marlins declared they were having their future ace jump a couple levels and start
this year. Why kill a year of team control to have him pitch during a lost year, which will probably be detrimental to his development? We just chalked it up to a continuance of bad team management. Boy, were we wrong. When it was all said and done, the Rookie of the Year was known by all fans and his story of escape of Cuba is being repeated by even the most casual of fans.
7. Evan Gattis, Atlanta Braves
The Plumber. A great nickname that unfortunately is a little too literal for a happy background.
Gattis came out of nowhere to start the season. He hit 12 homers in his first two months. It was then we all started asking, “who the heck is this guy?” Then we started to hear the stories. Instead of going to Texas on a baseball scholarship, he went to a drug rehab program. Like Kane in “Kung Fu” he wandered the land picking up spiritual advice and working odd jobs. Ski lift operator, national park worker and… janitor. He finally went to an obscure college and was drafted in the 23 round by the Braves. His bat finally cooled down a bit, but by then we all knew his face -- and the Braves had a non-“Upton Here” shirt worth owning.
6. Alshon Jeffery, Chicago Bears
While it is hard to call him a new face since he was a finalist for the
Biletnikoff Award in college for best wide receiver, it usually takes a while for a wideout to breakout in the NFL (if they do at all). Jeffery has the 6 most points in fantasy football but that is only half the story. His spectacular catches have been wowing the Bears faithful and helping the team stay in the playoff hunt despite th QB Jay Cutler going down for a couple months.
5. Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers
Anytime your name is mentioned with
Isiah Thomas and Oscar Robertson, you know you’re doing something right. But that is exactly what happened to Lillard in his NBA debut, dropping 20 points and garnering 10 assists. He won every monthly Western Conference Rookie of the Month award en route to his unanimous Rookie of the Year award. Coming out of college, most expected good things but discounted Lillard for playing all four years (shock, horror, the shame!). Now, some consider him one of the best point guards in the league already -- this includes Team USA, which brought him to their summer camp.
4. Chris Weidman, UFC, Middleweight
Weidman had a modest 10-0 MMA record before taking a year off. He came back in 2013 in a major way, knocking out Anderson Silva to take the UFC Middleweight title -- that’s an understatement, he was the first man to ever knock out Silva and the first to beat him in over seven years.
3. Yasiel Puig, Los Angeles Dodgers
Love him. Hate him. Doesn’t matter. You knew his name. You knew his face. You knew his bat flip. No player has created such polarizing responses amongst fans since Tim
Tebow. Sure, he put up stratospheric numbers his first month, but it was the polarization that makes "Spark Puig" the best thing to happen to baseball since the steroid era. Baseball needs guys to root for and against. Puig may or may not deserve it but he -- and the rest of the Dodgers -- seem to love being every other team’s rival. Closer to home, his charming response and demeanor has solidified him in LA sports lore.
2. Matt Harvey, New York Mets
Puig is the man in the black hat most folks boo, then Harvey may be the man in the white hat. Instantly likeable and detested by none, Harvey casually walked into the spotlight with an ‘old-school’ manner. Who could forget the bloody nose game? While Harvey pitched for the Mets in 2012 and is known by many, he is on this list for two reasons: he eclipsed all expectations en route to a first half that ended with a starting nod in the All-Star Game and the “Jimmy Kimmel” skit where he went around his home city of New York (before the All-Star Game) and proved no one knew his face while he interviewed them about the "newest NYC sensation." Imagine A-Rod or Jeter pulling that off!
1. Jameis Winston, Florida State Seminoles
How good was
Jameis Winston? His only real competition for the Heisman was Jameis Squinton. [cue laughtrack]. The conversation in college football was more focused on how good Winston could be if he wore contacts while playing and never on who was a real threat to deserve the top college honor. The redshirt freshman was not even close to being discussed as a Heisman candidate at the beginning of the year and Florida State wasn't given much hope to go beyond a decent ACC season. Instead, Winston is doing a damn good Cam Newton impression, putting the offense on his back and leading the Seminoles to a national championship shot.