QB: Deshaun Watson – Clemson: The best Quarterback in the nation for 2016. Last year, he threw for over 4,000 yards and ran for over 1,000. Watson should be All American in 2016 and one of the favorites to win the Heisman Trophy. Clemson took a lot of losses on Defense, but their Offense
should be incredible again.
QB: Brad Kaaya – Miami: Kaaya will be the best Quarterback that Mark Richt has had to work with in the past few years, or since Aaron Murray. Personally, I am expecting a huge season out of Kaaya and a big improvement out of the Hurricanes over all with the hiring of Richt. Kaaya threw for over 3,200 yards a year ago and those numbers could improve.
RB: Dalvin Cook – Florida State: One of the more explosive and exciting players in the country. Last season, Cook fought through injuries to run for 1,691 yards and 19 Touchdowns. If Cook can stay healthy all season in 2016, look for him to pile up huge numbers and maybe contend for the Heisman.
RB: Wayne Gallman – Clemson: Gallman is a dangerous weapon for the Tigers having run for 1,527 yards in 2015 and 13 Touchdowns. Gallman could have left for the NFL after last year, but decided to return to Clemson and the Tiger’s offense should be deadly next year. Gallman is 6-1, 215 with good speed and power.
RB: Joseph Yearby – Miami: Yearby played behind outstanding Duke Johnson as a true freshman and then this past season he started, but the Canes brought in excellent freshman Mark Walton. Yearby shared his high school backfield with Dalvin Cook. In spite of everything, Yearby ran for 509 yards and then this past season he ran for 1,002 yards while Walton ran for 461 yards. Mark Richt always got good production out of Running Backs at Georgia and the Hurricanes return a solid
RB: Elijah Hood – North Carolina: Hood had a breakout season in 2015 with 1,463 yards rushing and 17 Touchdowns. Hood is 6-0, 220 and another member of the 2014 recruiting class which may have been the best ever, but Hood got off to a slower start. If the Tar Heels can adequately replace their Quarterback, look for another big season out of Hood.
WR: Artavius Scott – Clemson: Scott is amazing and caught 93 passes a season ago for 901 yards and 6 Touchdowns. That was after catching 76 passes as a true freshman in 2014. Scott is not the biggest or fastest Wide Receiver but he is tough and has great hands.
WR: Travis Rudolph – Florida State: The formerly highly recruited Rudolph has turned into one of the Seminoles better weapons over the past two seasons. In 2015, Rudolph caught 59 passes for 916 yards and 7 Touchdowns.
WR: Isaiah Ford – Virginia Tech: Ford is a big time, big play receiver for the Hokies. He hauled in 75 receptions for 1,164 yards and 11 Touchdowns last season as a sophomore. That was coming off a freshman season that saw him catch 56 passes.
WR: Stacy Coley – Miami: Last year, Coley caught 47 passes for 689 yards and 4 Touchdowns.
Coley is a 6-1, 190 speedster with good hands. It will be interesting to follow the Hurricanes this season under new coach Mark Richt. Hopefully, Richt will have better luck at Miami than he did in recent seasons at Georgia.
TE: Bucky Hodges – Virginia Tech: Hodges came in to Virginia Tech as a Quarterback, but they converted him to Tight End and he has been quite a find there. Hodges is 6-7, 245 and he caught 40 passes last season.
TE: Jaylen Samuels – North Carolina State: At only 5-11, Samuels is not the traditional Tight End, but he’s still a good receiver from the position. It’s rare for a Tight End to lead his team in tackles but Samuels did this past season.
OT: Mitch Hyatt – Clemson: The very highly recruited Hyatt certainly lived up to the hype as a true freshman winning the starting Left Tackle position from day one.
OT: Roderick Johnson – Florida State: Johnson will be in his third season as a starter at Left Tackle for the Seminoles. Johnson is 6-7, 325 but moves extremely well.
OT: Trevor Darling – Miami: The Miami Hurricanes sit right dab in the middle of some of the
greatest high school talent in the country, and Darling is another home town guy. Darling is a 6-5, 315 Tackle who was recruited, supposedly as a Guard but slid over to Tackle and looks like he could be a good one.
OT: Jon Heck – North Carolina: I might have Andy Heck’s son rated a tad too highly, but I still have hope for him. Heck has been the starter at Right Tackle for North Carolina and the 6-7, 300 can be a dominating athlete.
OT: Adam Bisnowaty – Pittsburgh: In my opinion Bisnowaty is one of the better Offensive Tackles in the country. He has started at Left Tackle for the past 3 seasons and he is dominating at times. Bisnowaty is 6-6, 300.
OG: KC McDermott – Miami: Another highly recruited player from a nearby city, the Hurricanes are not going to be without talent this next season which makes the past few years somewhat puzzling. McDermott is a 6-6, 310 Guard that has some huge potential and should fulfill that this next season and beyond with good coaching.
OG: Tanner Stone – Duke: Stone replaced outstanding Offensive Guard Laken Tomlinson last year and he held up pretty well. The 6-6, 300 senior from Dallas Highland Park should come into his own this season.
OG: Kareem Are – Florida State: Are was a Junior College transfer that sat out the 2014 season before starting at Left Guard in 2015. He struggled early but improved as the season progressed. The 6-6, 330 Are could be one of the better Offensive Guards in the ACC this season.
C: Jay Guillermo – Clemson: 6-3, 310 Guillermo had to fill in at Center last year for the injured Ryan Norton and he did very well. Guillermo was the top rated player at his position coming out of high school and he is living up to billing.
C: Freddie Burden – Georgia Tech: The Yellow Jackets struggled last year after doing so well in 2014. Burden is 6-3, 300 and a solid Center.
DE: Bradley Chubb – North Carolina State: From his Defensive End position, Chubb was the
Wolfpack’s second leading tackler last season which is amazing. Chubb also had 11 Tackles for loss and 5.5 Quarterback sacks. Chubb even had an Interception.
DE: Josh Sweat – Florida State: Sweat came on late last season in his true freshman season. He showed enormous potential and talent for coming off the edge as a pass rusher. Sweat was one of the more highly recruited Defensive End recruits a year ago and he looks to fill the role this season. He has all of the tools for greatness.
DE: DeMarcus Walker – Florida State: At 6-3, 280, Walker is one of the better Defensive Linemen for the Seminoles and he was one of the team leader in Tackles. Walker is definitely tough coming off the edge with 10.5 Quarterback sacks and 15.5 Tackles for loss.
DT: Christian Wilkins – Clemson: Wilkins was one of the top Defensive Tackle recruits in the country and then came in and proved it last season. Coming back for his sophomore season, Wilkins should be much improved with a season’s playing time under his belt. The 6-4, 315 Wilkins is a run stopper and a better pass rusher than expected.
DT: BJ Hill – North Carolina State: Hill was one of the more productive Defensive Tackles in the country with 50 Tackles, but he also had 11 Tackles for loss and 3.5 Quarterback sacks. He is definitely good against the run at 6-4, 300.
DT: Jeremiah Clarke – North Carolina: Clarke was a freshman last season and helped change the dynamics of the Tar Heel defense. Clarke is 6-5, 315 and a standout Tackle with a bright future in Chapel Hill.
LB: Ben Boulware – Clemson: Hard hitting inside Linebacker that was the team’s third leading tackler. Boulware is a fiery leader type of guy that comes up with the big play at the right time. 6-0, 240 and an excellent run stopper, Boulware will be one of the few returning starters on defense for
LB: DeVonte Fields – Louisville: Former TCU player, Fields transferred to a Junior College and then to Louisville where he was a good player for them last season. Fields had an amazing 22.5 tackles for loss and 11 Quarterback sacks. Not only did have 11 sacks, but he had another 12 Quarterback hurries.
LB: Micah Kiser – Virginia: Kiser is a 6-2, 240 run stuffing Inside Linebacker from Baltimore. He was used frequently a year ago to rush the Quarterback and he registered 7.5 sacks and 13 Tackles for loss.
LB: Keith Kelsey – Louisville: Kelsey is a 6-1, 235 beast from Gainesville, Florida who led the Cardinals in tackles a year ago. Kelsey also had 12 tackles for loss. He should be one of the top Linebackers in the nation in 2016.
CB: MJ Stewart – North Carolina: Stewart was a good Cornerback for the Tar Heels a season ago and he should be good again this season. He had 4 Interceptions last season. Stewart is a solidly built CB at 5-11, 200.
CB: Cordrea Tankersley – Clemson: Tankersley was overshadowed by Mackensie Alexander the past two seasons. But, he was a star in his own right with 5 Interceptions a year ago and returning 1 for a Touchdown. He was also among the leading tacklers on the Clemson defense. He will be the lone returning starter in the secondary in 2016.
CB: Trumaine Washington – Louisville: This Louisville team is pretty loaded and Washington is a standout Cornerback from Miami that picked off 4 passes a year ago.
DB: Derwin James – Florida State: One of the very best freshmen Defensive players in the nation a year ago and he should be one of the very best players over all at Safety. James was second on the
team in tackles behind Linebacker Reggie Northrup. James has Linebacker size, but Defensive Back speed and is all over the field.
DB: Donnie Miles – North Carolina: The leading tackler for the Tar Heels much improved defense a year ago. Miles is a tough 5-11, 210 Safety out of Miami.
DB: Jordan Whitehead – Pittsburgh: Whitehead was the freshman of the year in the ACC last season. Whitehead is a very impressive young player and the Panthers used him at Safety as well as Running Back and Wide Receiver. Expect him to get more action on both sides of the ball next season as well.
DB: Quin Blanding – Virginia: The Cavaliers fired their coach for lack of success, but he did bring in some talent. Blanding was one of the top prospects in the country and lived up to billing when he led the team in tackles as a true freshman. As a sophomore, he was second on the team in tackles with 115 total. Blanding is always all over the field. He could be a top Safety or a top Linebacker at Virginia or even in the NFL.
PR: Ryan Switzer – North Carolina: Switzer has taken 7 punts back for Touchdowns in 3 seasons.
KR: DeVon Edwards – Duke: The Ryan Switzer of Kick Returns has taken 6 back for scores.
Kicker: Nick Weiler – North Carolina:
Punter: Nicholas Conte – Virginia: