In honor of the first Tuesday Top 7 of 2014, Drew Forrester and Luke Jones of The D&L Window Tinting Morning Reaction selected their top seven local sports figures to watch in 2014.
Some of the names are predictable while others may just be establishing themselves on the local sports scene, but each is worth following closely in 2014 for different reasons.
Luke Jones’ Top 7 Local Sports Figures to Watch in 2014 …
7. Towson running back and NFL Draft prospect Terrance West
Skinny: Not only will the FCS record-breaking back be drafted, but it will be fun to watch his progress and to see how his skills translate to the next level.
6. Maryland wide receiver Stefon Diggs
Skinny: Questions will linger about the Terps’ ability to compete in the Big Ten, but a breakout 2014 campaign would likely have the offensive playmaker thinking carefully about the NFL.
5. Orioles pitcher Kevin Gausman
Skinny: Assuming the Orioles’ offseason continues at its current pace, the 23-year-old right-hander’s development will be critical in determining whether the club remains in contention.
4. Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs
Skinny: The 2011 Defensive Player of the Year may have already played his final game in Baltimore if he’s not willing to adjust his $12.4 million salary cap number for the 2014 season.
3. Orioles third baseman Manny Machado
Skinny: Coming off knee surgery and entering just his second full season in the majors, the 21-year-old will be counted on to not only be healthy but to take his already-impressive game to the next level.
2. Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco
Skinny: The spotlight on the Super Bowl XLVII Most Valuable Player will be brighter than ever after a disappointing 2013 season and considering his cap number balloons to $14.8 million in 2014.
1. Orioles manager Buck Showalter
Skinny: After two poor offseasons in a row, does the Baltimore skipper reach his breaking point with an organization lacking the commitment to build on its recent success?