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Spring breakout players: Louisville

Let's get back to looking at some players on each Big East team who announced themselves as potential breakout players this spring.

Once again, here's how I'm defining "breakout" status: players who haven't seen the field yet but showed they could be major contributors in 2011; players who have gotten some time but could move into much bigger roles this season; and players who have started but could blossom into stars.

We're going alphabetically, and today it's Louisville's turn. The Cardinals had more players break down than break out in an injury-ravaged spring. But there were still a few eye-openers.

Marcus Smith, DE, Soph: A high school quarterback, Smith started off at Louisville as a linebacker and mostly saw time on special teams as a freshman. He put on nearly 30 pounds to bulk up to 251 and was moved to defensive end this spring, where he showed off his athleticism and natural instincts. The Cardinals think he can become a disruptive pass-rusher.

Dexter Heyman, LB, Sr: Heyman has played ever since his freshman year, moving from linebacker to defensive end and back. He's never quite lived up to expectations. But now as a senior leader at middle linebacker, he had a big spring and could close his career with a flourish.

Will Stein, QB, Jr: Stein held off a challenge from freshman Teddy Bridgewater to emerge from the spring as the starting quarterback. The former walk-on makes up for his lack of size with smarts and an accurate arm. He could have a solid season managing the offense as Adam Froman and Justin Burke did a year ago.