ACC breakout players: Virginia

The series continues today with Virginia ...

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:

Kevin Parks, TB: With 2010 leading rusher Keith Payne gone, Parks will have an opportunity to live up to the hype he created as a prep star. He redshirted last year, but came to Virginia as a highly touted, record-setter from North Carolina. He ran for 10,895 yards in high school -- a North Carolina state record. He was also rated the No. 56 running back in the nation in his class by ESPN Recruiting. He set a national high school record of 55 games with at least 100 yards rushing.

Tim Smith, WR: The redshirt sophomore could be a major contributor when he's healthy, but his season was cut short last year by a foot injury. He only played in two games last year and caught three passes for 28 yards. He showed promise in 2009, when he started three of the 11 games he played in. He caught 15 passes for 204 yards and two touchdowns.

Daquan Romero, OLB: He enrolled in January and finished the spring listed as No. 2 at outside linebacker heading into fall. He was rated the No. 98 defensive end in his class by ESPN Recruiting. He had 19 sacks in 15 games to help Phoebus High win its third-straight AAA Div. 5 state championship in 2010. He was also named to the ESPN RISE All-Junior team after recording 30 sacks, including 11 in the playoffs, his junior season.

More in this series:

  • Boston College

  • Clemson

  • Duke

  • Florida State

  • Georgia Tech

  • Maryland

  • Miami

  • North Carolina

  • NC State