ACC Team-By-Team Quarterback Rankings
1) Clemson- Rob Spence will be counted upon to turnaround the fortunes of Charlie Whitehurst. Spence's has an impeccable track record that indicates he will do exactly that. Whitehurst has proven he can compete with top quarterbacks in the country. He was the second quarterback in ACC history to pass for over 5,000 yards in his first two seasons. Back-up Will Proctor showed during the spring that Clemson has found a capable #2 behind Whitehurst. Proctor possesses an accurate arm and good mobility, and he has really taken well to Spence's offense. Redshirt freshmen Cullen Harper and Tribble Reese have good upside, but they are at least one year away from being ready to compete. Still, they are good third and fourth options.
2) Virginia- Marques Hagans was one of the bigger surprises in the ACC last season. He will surprise no one this year. He was very effective last season for the Cavaliers with marginal talent at wide receivers. Hagans moves well in the pocket, while keeping his eyes down field. Christian Olsen is a solid backup, and some rumors came out of the Virginia camp that he could challenge Hagans for the starting spot. Olsen beat out Kevin McCabe for the #2 spot.
3) Virginia Tech- The day Marcus Vick signed his lette-of-intent to Virginia Tech, he started drawing comparisions to his older brother Michael. Michael was one of the greatest players we have seen in the college game, and he elevated the Hokie program to higher standards. The younger Vick did not adjust well to the pressure, and he was suspended all of last year. Vick has tremendous athletic ability, and he may have the biggest upside of any quarterback in the ACC. If Vick takes to form, the Hokies may be a sleeper candidate for the Rose Bowl. Sean Glennon will return as the backup. Glennon has only thrown 11 passes for the Hokies, but he has completed eight of the eleven. Highly touted true freshman Ike Whitaker will be the #3 quarterback. Whitaker has a big arm and great mobility, and he is the quarterback of the future for the Hokies.
4) Wake Forest- The argument can actually be made for Wake Forest to be at #1. The Demon Deacons are the only team in the league that have two legitimate starters in Ben Mauk and Cory Randolph. Mauk does not have the mobility of Randolph, but he does move well. Mauk has an excellent arm, and the Deacs could turn to the air more this year to take advantage of his arm. Randolph struggled with consistency last year, and he lost his job to Mauk by the end of the year. Randolph is capable of leading the Deacons to big wins as he posted three wins of Clemson (1) and Boston College (2) the last two years.
5) Boston College- Tom O’Brien allowed Paul Peterson and Quinton Porter to battle for the starting job last season with the notion the loser redshirted. Peterson won the starting job, and Porter was redshirted to ensure the Eagles had a veteran quarterback, when they entered the ACC. The offense will look slightly different under Porter, as he does not move around as well as Peterson. Porter will be more of a straight drop-back passer. Matt Ryan backed up Peterson last season, and he appeared overwhelmed as the Eagles were crushed by Syracuse. Third string Karim El Nokali has never attempted a pass in college.
6) Miami- Kyle Wright takes over the helm for Miami after Brock Berlin struggled to consistently produce for the Hurricanes the last two seasons. Many believe Wright has the arm to bring life back to the Miami vertical passing attack. Wright was pushed by Kirby Freeman in the spring. Freeman is the more mobile of the two, but he struggled with turnovers in the spring. Larry Coker believes if Wright struggles early, he has enough confidence in Freeman to put him in the game.
7) Florida State- Ah, the Seminoles are at it again. Every preseason with Chris Rix was headlined with talk that if the quarterback play was there the Seminoles were a national title contender. The same talk surrounded Wyatt Sexton this offseason, and apparently Sexton was not up to the challenge. It could be a blessing in disguise for the Seminoles. Xavier Lee is talented enough to return the FSU attack to the days of old. Lee has an incredible arm and is dangerous on the run. Lee is more comfortable working from the shotgun, but the FSU coaches had him working under center in the spring. Drew Weatherford will push Lee for the starting job. Weatherford has big time arm, but he does not possess the athletic ability of Lee. Weatherford would be the quarterback of the future at almost any other program in the nation.
8) Georgia Tech- Reggie Ball may have been the most frustrating quarterback to watch in the ACC last season. At times, he looked brilliant throwing exceptional fade routes to Calvin Johnson, but then there was moments where he looked horrible. Georgia Tech did not have a suitable backup to push Ball last season. Now, Taylor Bennett is ready to bounce on any opportunity he has. Some believe the left-handed Bennett is ready to challenge Ball for the starting job heading into fall camp.
9) NC State- There was no bigger drop off in quarterback play than NC State last season. Phillip Rivers carried virtually every ACC passing record with him to the NFL. Jay Davis could picked up where Rivers left off. The inconsistencies at quarterback was a big reason the Wolfpack did not make a bowl game. Davis looked like he was hitting his stride in midseason, but he collapsed the second half of the year. Marcus Stone was also used to provide a spark, but he was no threat throwing the football. Stone is a good runner, but he needs to improve throwing the ball.
10) North Carolina- Darian Durant almost single handedly kept UNC is games the last three years. The Tar Heels will experience a major drop off in quarterback play this season. Matt Baker will be the starter heading into fall camp. He has passed for 623 yards in three seasons as a backup and spot starter. Highly touted incoming freshman Cameron Sexton was on pace to be the backup and possibly compete for the starting position, but he suffered a broken ankle and will now redshirt. Roger Heinz, who is virtually unknown, will be the backup.
11) Maryland- My how the mighty have fallen. It was a season ago many believed, Ralph Friedgen could pick up a quarterback off of a message board and win games. Friedgen never found his quarterback last season. Jordan Steffy was poised to take the reigns, but he suffered a variety of injuries that limited him in the spring. Steffy has the talent to upgrade the Terps offense, but he is simply behind on picking up Friedgen’s complicated offense. Sam Hollenbach appears ready to open the season as the starter. He performed as the starter at the end of last year, but he does not have much room to grow. Joel Statham just never adjusted to playing in the ACC.
12) Duke- Mike Schneider performed well for Ted Roof and the Blue Devils last season. He finished third in the ACC in completion percentage. He moves around well, and can find open spots in the defense. Schneider has good poise considering he was pounded for 39 sacks last season. Curt Dukes is the backup, but he is a more option type quarterback. The Blue Devils feel good about true freshmen Gene Delle Donne and Zack Asack.