ACC breakout players: Virginia Tech

June, 3, 2011
6/03/11
10:30
AM ET
The series continues today with Virginia Tech ...

A reminder of how we're defining breakout players: players who haven't seen the field yet but showed they could be major contributors this fall; players who have seen limited time but could earn significantly bigger roles this season; and players who have started but could blossom into stars. The top candidates at Virginia Tech:

David Wilson, RB: Rookie quarterback Logan Thomas is just getting his feet wet. Wilson? He's ready to make a huge splash. The track star led the ACC in kickoff return average (26.5) and touchdowns (two) last season with scoring returns of 92 yards against NC State and 90 against Georgia Tech. He's an explosive runner and ACC fans will finally get to see that burst full-time as he takes over as the Hokies' No. 1 running back this fall. Last season he was Virginia Tech's third leading rusher with 619 yards and 5.5 yards per carry.

Derrick Hopkins, DT: He was in the two-deep as a true freshman last season, but defensive line coach Charlie Wiles said Hopkins “kind of leveled off a little bit” at the end of the season. Here's what Wiles told me this spring about Hopkins' progress: “Derrick came out and really has had a superb spring. He’s a playmaker. He has all those things I saw in camp that have been elevated through a year of growth and a year of maturity not only in the weight room, but he’s mentally grown up a little bit. He’s made a lot of plays -- a lot of plays this spring.” Expect him to make a lot more this fall.

More in this series:

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