Here's a look at six ACC sophomores that will make a national splash this season. We are not including sophomores that made waves nationally as freshmen last season, which means Maryland's Stefon Diggs and Miami's Duke Johnson are out.
North Carolina WR Quinshad Davis: Davis (6-foot-4, 205 pounds) was the Tar Heels' leading receiver as a true freshman last season (61 catches, 776 yards, five touchdowns) but didn't receive all that much acclaim. That will change this season, as coach Larry Fedora has talked about Davis having 100-catch potential in the Tar Heels' wide-open offense. Davis doesn't have blazing speed, but he is a long strider who does a good job using his big body to his advantage. He could stand to add some bulk, though.
Florida State DE Mario Edwards Jr.: Edwards (6-3, 282) was a top-five prospect nationally out of high school in the Dallas area and played in 11 games, including two starts, last season as a true freshman. He will start this season and should be a pass-rush force. Edwards is an excellent athlete with a quick first step, and he held up surprisingly well against the run last season. Unlike many young defensive ends, he has more than one pass-rush move. He has lost about 30 pounds since arriving in Tallahassee and keeping his weight down is important, as coaches think he is most effective at around 280 pounds. His dad played cornerback at FSU (in the 1990s) and in the NFL (2000-04), and now is FSU's director of player development.
Virginia DE Eli Harold: Harold (6-4, 230) was a consensus national top-100 prospect out of high school in Virginia Beach, Va., and played in all 12 games last season as a true freshman. He made 36 tackles, with seven tackles for loss and two sacks. Harold is a good athlete who is far more advanced as a pass rusher than he is against the run. While he needs to gain weight and add bulk, he could become a big-play terror in new defensive coordinator Jon Tenuta's scheme. Tenuta usually oversees one of the most aggressive defenses in the nation, and in Harold, he has an athletic end who likely will be turned loose as frequently as possible.
Georgia Tech LB Jabari Hunt-Days: Hunt-Days (6-3, 247) should thrive in Tech's new 4-3 scheme, as he is a prototypical middle linebacker. Tech used a 3-4 last season and too often let the opposing offense dictate things. Hunt-Days started all 14 games as a redshirt freshman last season and finished third on the team with 84 tackles. While he is best against the run, where he can put his physical nature and lateral speed to good use, he also showed decent coverage skills and had a pick and four pass breakups.
Boston College CB Al Louis-Jean: Louis-Jean (6-2, 195), a third-year sophomore, missed last season with a broken foot. Louis-Jean has excellent size, decent speed and is a physical player. He has both the quickness and strength to be successful in press-man coverage. Louis-Jean was a consensus national top-20 cornerback recruit out of the Boston area in the 2011 recruiting class -- he initially committed to Miami before changing his mind when Randy Shannon was fired as coach.
Pittsburgh CB Lafayette Pitts: Pitts (5-11, 195) redshirted as a true freshman in 2011, then started all 13 games last fall, when he had 35 tackles, an interception and a team-high nine pass breakups. Pitts, a Pittsburgh native who was recruited by many schools as a running back out of high school, has good speed and a high level of athleticism. He also was an effective kick returner last season.
Mike Huguenin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.