There is no height requirement for breakout players, named by correspondents for The Sports Xchange, who need only to witness proven playmaking ability and potential to make a greater impact.
So keep Florida State do-everything mighty mite Kermit Whitfield on the list.
The 5-foot-7, 183-pound diminutive sophomore from Orlando is already a star in the hearts of Florida State fans far and wide after his go-ahead 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in the BCS National Championship game against Auburn. But before that run, Whitfield had only had a few opportunities -- mostly in FSU blowouts -- to get in the game and flash his ability. He also brought back a kick 97 yards for a score against Wake Forest.
Whitfield is the Seminoles' fastest player -- offense and defense -- and head coach Fisher has said numerous times he will get the ball into Whitfield's hands more this season. Expect to see Whitfield, who led the nation in kickoff-return average (36.4 yards per return), to not only return every kick this year but also be used in multiple different sets out of the backfield, in motion or split out wide.
While ACC defensive coordinators chew on that prospect, here are more conference candidates to join Whitfield as breakout players this season:
DT Corey Marshall, Virginia Tech: Undersized for the interior at 6-1 and 257 pounds, Marshall has shown the ability to rush the passer and stop the run in reserve roles at defensive end and defensive tackle. The junior was one of the team's top performers in the spring after coming back from a forgettable 2013 season, during which he took a leave of absence for personal reasons and eventually redshirted.
QB Chad Voytik, Pittsburgh: Voytik played in only four games as a freshman backing up Tom Savage and had only 11 pass attempts, completing six. But his play in the second half of the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl win over Bowling Green when Savage was hurt is evidence of his potential. He led the Panthers to two late scores (touchdown, field goal) in the 30-27 victory.
WR Mike Williams, Clemson: At 6-foot-3, 210 pounds, Williams possesses the size and the savvy to be the next big-time receiver in what is fast becoming an impressive lineage at Clemson. Williams had 20 catches for 316 yards and three touchdowns last year as a freshman and showed a knack for high-pointing the ball and using his body to out-man smaller defensive backs. Heading into his sophomore campaign he's drawing comparisons to former star DeAndre Hopkins, who is now with the Houston Texans. "He's got the skill set of a Hopkins," coach Dabo Swinney said. "But he still hasn't gotten that killer instinct quite yet."
Once he gets it, watch out.
DE Ron Thompson, Syracuse: Thompson came to Syracuse as a much-heralded tight end, but it looks like he'll get a bigger chance to make an impact on the defensive side of the ball. After having 4.5 tackles behind the line of scrimmage a year ago, he looks to be in position to take over for the departed Jay Bromley as the biggest pass-rushing threat on the defensive line.
S Ryan Javion, Wake Forest: He started 12 games as a redshirt freshman last season and he could be in position for a rise in prominence. He plays between a pair of veteran cornerbacks, so that should help his cause. As the Demon Deacons look to nurture leadership, Javion appears to be a logical candidate.
NT Adam Gotsis, Georgia Tech: The junior from Australia has emerged as a leader on the defense and is expected to be one of the ACC's future stars. He's strong and quick, which makes him a handful for the opposition to block in the middle. He's played 35 games and started 13 last year, getting 14.5 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks.
WR Stacy Coley, Miami (Fla.): Coley began his collegiate career by dropping a sure touchdown pass in the opener, but he ended up with an outstanding year as a freshman. He was the only player at the FBS level to score a touchdown four different ways (rushing, receiving, punt return and kickoff return) and ended up with 33 receptions for 591 yards.
S Josh Jones, North Carolina State -- He hasn't played in a game, but the redshirt freshman tends to make plays in workouts. The Wolfpack is in desperate need of play-makers on defense, so he could fit the bill. He has something else going for him in that at 210 pounds he can be used as a safety and move up to linebacker. He has filled those roles in practice.