Chalk it up to DeAndre McDaniel. Midway through the year, the All-American safety lauded Breeland for his high IQ and impressive play on the scout team defense.
"I just wanted to compete," Breeland said of his play last fall. "I wanted to show the coaches that I can play. That's all I wanted to do. And I learned the defense, asked questions -- anything I could do to learn it."
Head coach Dabo Swinney and defensive coordinator Kevin Steele have since dished out similar praise.
"It means a lot. I still have to work hard each and every day," Breeland said. "It really is irrelevant that they're telling me I can be good or not.
"I really want to work hard enough. I want to know for myself."
What was hard was last season. All week, he practiced. On Saturdays, he watched from the sidelines.
"It was tough. I think that was the best decision for me," Breeland said. "I don't think I was ready. It helped me to where I can become, later on, in the future."
The now 6-foot, 190-pound redshirt freshman from Allendale said he needed to develop physically.
"When I came in, I was small. I had to get used to the game, the fast-pace."
Now, he's getting several snaps with the first-team defense at cornerback.
"I love cornerback. It just brings out the beast in you," Breeland said. "You've got to man up. If you don't man up, then you lose. You've got to try to win every play."
Play No. 1 is scheduled for Sept. 3 when Troy visits Tigertown.
"It's very exciting. I can't wait for the season to come. I just want to see what I can do on a big stage."
His time to shine
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