Preview 2010 - ACC
Ten Best Quarterbacks
- ACC Skill Position Rankings
Quarterbacks | Running Backs | Receivers | Tight Ends | Kickers
1. Russell Wilson, Jr. NC State
The Wolfpack didn't have the services of junior Wilson in the spring, but all the program cares about is whether or not he's available in the fall. One of the ACC's premier quarterbacks, he's also a talented second baseman, which has some concerned he might make baseball a full-time gig. That would hurt since he's spent the last two seasons shredding defenses with his arm and legs. While only 5-11 and 201 pounds, he's already in the top five in most school passing records. An accurate passer and overall terrific athlete, he carried the offense on his back, rushing for 260 yards and four touchdowns, going 224-of-378 for 3,027 yards, 31 touchdowns, and 11 picks through the air. He is the franchise in Raleigh.
2. Christian Ponder, Jr. Florida State
Ponder was enjoying a tremendous second season as a starter when an injury to his throwing shoulder sidelined him in the ninth game. Now he enters 2010 looking to pick up where he left off. The 6-3, 217-pound future NFL Draft choice wound up completing 227-of-330 passes for 2,717 yards, 14 touchdowns, and seven interceptions, adding 179 yards and two scores on the ground. He looked fantastic in the spring, showing up in great shape, throwing with extra zip on his passes, and moving very well outside the pocket. Best of all, he's a terrific leader for this offense and a player on the verge of introducing himself to the entire nation.
3. Josh Nesbitt, Sr. Georgia Tech
After two seasons of running the spread option, 6-1, 218-pound Nesbitt is set to contend for honors beyond just the ACC. The league's first-team sll-star quarterback, he ran for 1,037 yards and 18 touchdowns on 279 carries, while going 75-of-162 for 1,701 yards, 10 touchdowns and five picks through the air. A tough and physical runner, he has a knack for bouncing off tacklers and is constantly getting better with his pitches and decision-making. More of a big-play passer than an accurate one, he might not be the same threat through the air now that WR Demaryius Thomas has left school.
4. Tyrod Taylor, Sr. Virginia Tech
A veteran of 28 career starts, the 6-1, 217-pound Taylor is back for one final season and an opportunity to win a third ACC championship. He made his biggest strides toward becoming a complete quarterback last season, going 136-of-243 for 2,311 yards, 13 touchdowns, and five interceptions to lead the league and rank No. 13 nationally in passing efficiency. Consistent with his exceptional athletic ability, he also added 370 yards and five scores on the ground. More than ever before, he has a total grasp of the offense and has emerged as a dangerous deep-ball thrower, sliding in the pocket rather than bolting from it and averaging 17 yards a completion.
5. Jacory Harris, Jr. Miami
Harris is more than just important. He might be the most pivotal Hurricane player in a decade. Yes, he showed flashes of excellence in his first full year as a starter, but he was also maddeningly inconsistent, which has to change if Miami is going to win the ACC. He wound up going 242-of-406 for 3,352 yards, 24 touchdown passes, and a league-high 17 picks. A slender 6-4, 190-pounder, he has a great feel for the pocket and is one of the most poised players at the position late in games. However, if he can't stop forcing passes into tight spaces and bird-dogging many throws, it's going to have a negative impact on the entire program
6. Kyle Parker, Soph. Clemson
No one seems to mind that the 6-1, 200-pound sophomore is the most heralded two-sport star in school history...as long as football remains one of those pursuits. Also a gifted slugger for the Tiger baseball team, there are concerns that he could take up the sport on a full-time basis if the money is right. Time will tell, but for now, he's the program's best option under center, blending a cannon for an arm with excellent athleticism and feel for the pocket. Sure, he struggled at times with his reads and progressions, but also went 205-of-369 for 2,526 yards, 20 touchdowns, and 12 picks. Beyond the obvious physical gifts, he has certain special qualities inherent to all winning quarterbacks.
7. T.J. Yates, Sr. North Carolina
There isn't a player or a position that's more critical to Carolina's 2010 fate than Yates … and it's not even close. The program that hasn't produced an All-ACC hurler since Chris Keldorf in 1996 is pinning its hopes on an inconsistent fourth-year starter, who's thrown nearly as many career picks as touchdowns. The 6-3, 220-pounder regressed as a junior, going 214-of-355 for 2,136 yds, 14 touchdowns, and 15 interceptions. However, it wasn't all his fault. The receiving corps was brand new and the line play was spotty. He has the physical tools to finish strong, but needs to make sizable strides with his reads and overall decision-making.
8. Sean Renfree, Soph. Duke
David Cutcliffe's highest priority in the offseason will be to replace Thaddeus Lewis, a two-time All-ACC selection and one of the best to ever play in Durham. It won't happen overnight. It does, however, help immensely that the school has recruited the position so well recently. The early favorite is 6-3, 210-pound Renfree, who sat out the spring to recover from ACL surgery. As the backup a year ago, he saw action in five games, going 34-of-50 for 330 yards, four scores, and two picks. He throws a great ball and has the football IQ to become Cutcliffe's next star pupil once he gets more reps.
9. Dave Shinskie, Soph. Boston College
For the first time in three years, Boston College begins a season with a returning starter behind center. That does not, however, mean everything is hunky-dory at the position. Shinskie played to predictably mixed results in his first season back in football after spending six years playing minor league baseball. He took a while to shake off the rust, finishing 149-of-288 for 2,049 yards, 15 touchdowns, and 14 interceptions. The 6-4, 216-pounder has the edge in experience and the job for now, but the kids in the rear view mirror are determined to make sure that this is a tight competition throughout the summer.
10. Jamarr Robinson, Jr. Maryland
Now that long-time starter Chris Turner has exhausted his eligibility, the Terps are facing a battle at quarterback. Robinson is the favorite to come out on top. The backup a year ago, he made seven appearances and two starts, going 46-of-85 for 459 yard and two touchdowns, adding 229 yards on 53 carries. Easily the most athletic Maryland hurler in years, he can make plays with his feet, escape pressure, and give the offense more flexibility. While just 6-0 and 195 pounds, he also has enough arm strength to stretch the defense and connect downfield with his receivers.
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