You know you’ve been waiting for it. Our yearly rankings of the top 5 ACC players at each position. We are starting with quarterbacks, and I’d put up the ACC’s collection of QB’s against any conference in the country. That’s not exaggeration either. The quarterback play in the ACC this year will be outstanding.
Previous and Upcoming Rankings
1) Deshaun Watson, Clemson
The sky is the limit for Clemson QB Deshaun Watson. Last season Watson made some throws and runs that made him look like a future Heisman Trophy candidate. His legend only grew when he beat arch-rival South Carolina on a torn ACL while throwing for 269 yards.
In 2014 he threw for nearly 1500 yards, with 14 TDs and just 2 interceptions. Right now the only knock on Watson is he has appeared to be prone to injury, bad luck or both. He’s only sophomore, but already in his time at Clemson, he’s suffered a cracked collarbone, a broken finger, and torn ACL. If he can remain healthy, he’s a superstar in the making.
2) Justin Thomas, Georgia Tech
Justin Thomas is the kind of quarterback Paul Johnson has dreamed of having running his option offense. As last year progressed, Thomas went from nice quarterback with some quickness to the best option quarterback since Nebraska’s Tommie Frazier. Thomas is fast, smart, and confident.
He’s an excellent runner, with an underrated arm. Under Thomas, the Yellow Jackets won 11 games last year including wins over Clemson, Georgia, and Mississippi State in the Orange Bowl. He totaled over 1000 yards running and passing.
3) Brad Kaaya, Miami
As a freshman, Brady Kaaya showed a wealth of potential. He was named the ACC’s rookie of the year, while leading the league in touchdown passes, and passer rating. He set a Miami freshman record throwing for 3,198 yards. Kaaya has a strong arm, and good size at 6’4″. With another step in his development could become one of the better quarterbacks in the country.
4) Jacoby Brissett, North Carolina State
There were times last season, that Jacoby Brissett looked like the best football player on the field. He suffered a bit from inconsistency, but when he was on he could be spectacular. In 2014 he had 2,606 yards passing with 23 TD passes. He also added over 500 yards on the ground. The Wolfpack finished last year with 8 wins and a bowl win, and a lot of that had to do with Brisett who will cause headaches all year for defensive coordinators.
5) Everett Golson, Florida State
There were 2 or 3 other quarterbacks I considered for this 5th position in these ACC quarterback rankings. I decided to go with a QB, that hasn’t even been named the starter yet at FSU. At some point, I believe Everett Golson will be starting at Florida State. This was a QB who led Notre Dame to a BCS Title game in 2012, and just last year had 3,445 yards passing with 29 TD passes for the Irish.
He’s mobile and has talent, but you have to remember that Golson lost his starting job at Notre Dame. He became a turnover machine during the 2nd half of 2014. With Jimbo Fisher’s success of producing quarterbacks, I expect that he’ll renew Golson’s confidence and get him to play at a very high level.