College football roundtable: Breakout player in each Power 5 conference

We'll spend the next few months trying to predict what will happen in college football -- but there are always unknowns that are impossible to project, especially when it comes to players who have the potential to become major difference-makers.

Today, we look at the future breakout stars in the Power 5 in 2016:

ACC: North Carolina quarterback Mitch Trubisky

Trubisky has big shoes to fill. His predecessor, Marquise Williams, had more than 4,00o total yards a year ago and took the Tar Heels to their first ACC championship game. But Trubisky has been waiting on this moment since he arrived at North Carolina as one of Larry Fedora's first quarterback recruits. He has a firm grasp of the offense; he has the ability to stretch the field with his arm; and he has the luxury of playing with a deep and talented group of running backs and receivers. Talented 1,000-yard rusher Elijah Hood returns, as do Ryan Switzer, Mack Hollins and Bug Howard. The offensive line should be strong once again, setting the stage for Trubisky to just step right into the starting lineup and keep the Tar Heels' offense rolling along. -- Andrea Adelson

Big 12: West Virginia WR Shelton Gibson

In a league that featured several breathtaking wide receivers last season, West Virginia’s Gibson delivered several big moments himself as a sophomore. Though this production came and went at times, he finished with four 100-yard games, including a 143-yard receiving performance in the Mountaineers’ shootout bowl victory over Arizona State. With All-Americans Corey Coleman, Josh Doctson and Sterling Shepard all now in the NFL, Gibson will have the opportunity to be the center of attention at the position in the Big 12. And if the acrobatic grabs he made this spring are any indication, Gibson could be on his way to becoming the next big thing at wideout in the conference. — Jake Trotter

Big Ten: Ohio State DE Sam Hubbard

The redshirt sophomore has already made the most of a couple of chances to fill in temporarily for Joey Bosa and flash his off-the-charts athleticism rushing the passer, but now that job belongs to him permanently. Hubbard actually finished last season with more sacks (6.5) than the No. 3 pick in the NFL draft (5), which has only ramped up the expectations for what he can do for the Buckeyes in a full-time role. The sky appears to be the limit for the versatile Hubbard, who arrived on campus as a safety, dabbled at linebacker and tight end and eventually found his calling as the heir apparent at defensive end. The Buckeyes would have loved to have Bosa back for another year, but they know another star is poised to take his place. -- Austin Ward

Pac-12: Washington running back Myles Gaskin

It might seem odd to call a 1,000-yard rusher from the year before a “breakout” player. But as a true freshman last year, Gaskin was often an afterthought to the likes of Christian McCaffrey and Royce Freeman. 2016 is already being dubbed the year of the running back, and Gaskin just might be able to carve out his own niche among the big national names. The Huskies are in great shape on the offensive line with a good mix of depth and experience. They also have a returning starter at quarterback in Jake Browning (like Gaskin, a true sophomore). And they have Chris Petersen as head coach going into his third year running the show. They won’t face an elite defense until the end of September, so the opportunity is there for Gaskin to put up big numbers early. Washington is definitely a program on the rise. And that preseason hype should have as much to do with Gaskin’s legs as it does with Browning’s arm. -- Kevin Gemmell

SEC: Georgia DT Trenton Thompson

A few guys in the SEC come to mind, but I’m going to go with Georgia’s big man in the middle, Thompson. The sophomore defensive tackle didn’t come close to living up to his superstar billing in 2015, but then came the 2016 offseason. Thompson attacked it with Georgia’s new coaching staff, and Kirby Smart was very impressed. Thompson looks similar to those behemoths he coached at Alabama, and Smart would love to have a few more Thompsons. He’s an incredibly critical part to this defense, especially with so few proven players along the defensive line. After a great offseason and spring, Thompson will come alive in 2016, and that menacing 6-foot-4, 307-pound frame will haunt opposing backfields. -- Edward Aschoff