Around this time every year, sports fans can’t help but think about what lies ahead and what players are going to shine. After all, wild speculation is at the heart of pretty much every fan debate. Often in these sorts of conversations, fans take the safe route when projecting how the next year is going to go. While it’s easy to say that LeBron James or Kevin Durant are going to win the NBA MVP, or that Aaron Rodgers, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady will be among the NFL’s elite quarterbacks, there’s also not a whole lot of skill in that argument.
The truly informed fan doesn’t just look at the present—he or she can look at a player and see into the future, envisioning the growth and development that can take that player to the next level. Whether it’s an unknown bursting onto the scene, a young player realizing his potential, or a very good player becoming a star, a small number of athletes step their games up every year and announce their presence to the entire sports-watching world.
With the new year underway, it’s time to think about who we’re going to be talking about 365 days from now. Here are 15 Players Who Could Break Out in 2015.