13. Julie Taylor aka Aimee Teegarden: Little Julie Taylor is trying her damnedest to separate herself from the blonde bangs but I’m not sure it’s working to her advantage. Teegarden doesn’t have much of anything going on these days.
12. Matty Saracen aka Zach Gilford: The nicest thing we can say about Matty is that he had a gorgeous wedding to Nikki from Lost this summer and the less said about The Mob Doctor and Off The Map, the better.
11. Jess Merriweather aka Jurnee Smollett-Bell: Officially my favorite young female from the FNLcast, Jurnee his still hitting below her weight class. Jason Katims has given her something fun to do on Parenthood and she was perfectly delightful on True Blood, but she needs her own show.
10. Jason Street aka Scott Porter: I think it’s worth noting that Scott Porter wears Crocs and has a dog who wears a bow tie. If you’ve learned nothing else from this post, you’ve learned that.
9. Smash aka Gaius Charles: He’s making good Grey’s Anatomy money and while I would prefer to see him on Shonda Rhimes other ABC drama, I can’t blame him for getting paid on the regular.
8. Tyra Collette aka Adrianne Palicki: I mean, she was the female lead in a surprisingly fun franchise rejuvenator and goes on vacations to Mexico with Connie Britton. How did YOU spend your summer vacation?
7. Tim Riggins aka Taylor Kitsch: Why yes I did pick the most hobo Jimmy Buffet photo of Tim Riggins but I feel it accurately reflects his tumble from fame. He’s still doing well comparatively and has a really interesting Ryan Murphy-helmed TV movie in the works about HIV/AIDS activists in the 80s where he sort of looks like a Wall Street Malfoy. But it’s a far cry from the Next Big Thing status he enjoyed a few years ago.
6. Luke Cafferty aka Matt Lauria: As far as I can tell Matt Lauria’s gets paid to look adorable and make-out with Mae Whitman on a weekly basis on Parenthood. That’s my personal definition of #winning.
5. Lyla Garrity aka Minka Kelly : Though her Charlie’s Angels reboot may have failed, good old Lyla is back November 4th with a flashy sci-fi show on FOX, Almost Human. I know, I know, FOX has a rich tradition of mishandling sci-fi, but this show has Karl Urban in the lead so I’m a little less concerned. Added bonus for Minka personally? 24/7 access to the Cap-Ass.
4. Mrs. Coach aka Connie Britton: I’d like to rank Mrs. Coach higher but I just can’t get behind Nashville and I definitely can’t get behind those pants. What is even happening, y’all?
3. Coach aka Kyle Chandler: Kyle Chandler has always topped these post-FNL lists, but there are a few young pups outpacing him these days. Chandler was brilliant as the opposite of Coach in this summers Spectacular Now and he’s filming Vatican for Showtime so odds are those pups won’t be ahead for long.
2. Lance aka Landry aka Jesse Plemons: Before this summer I never expected to rank Jesse Plemons this high. He was always my personal favorite, but I never really expected him to break through. But then came Todd. Delightful, creepy Todd and before you can say “Meth Damon” everyone’s talking about Jesse Plemons. (I’ll take a quick sec to give a nod to Herc aka Kevin Rankin who was also great on Breaking Bad this year and in seasons past on Justified.) Plemons seems content, for now, to keep it low key. He’s also a musician (Crucifictorious uber alles) and eyeglasses aficionado. You can see him soon in a high-profile Lance Armstrong biopic opposite Ben Foster.
1. Vince Howard aka Michael B. Jordan: We’re huge massive Michael B. Jordan fans around these parts and though Fruitvale wasn’t the smash hit most people were expecting it to be, Jordan has gotten enough notice to get the official Marvel superhero nod and has been cast as Johnny Storm aka The Human Torch in the Fantastic Four reboot. He’s also in the running for a juicy role in the Star Wars films. So, yeah, he’s more than a rising star. He has risen.