The Atlantic Coast Conference lost top Quarterbacks Deshaun Watson, Mitchell Trubisky, Brad Kaaya, Justin Thomas, Nate Peterman and Jerod Evans which is a lot of talent gone. Trubisky and Watson were drafted in the 1st round and Kaaya and Peterman were drafted. But, all is not lost, the Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson returns and Deondre Francois was one of the top freshmen in the country last season.
So, here is my opinion of which ones are the best and I can even count backwards.
14. Darius Wade or Anthony Brown – Boston College:
The defense continues to be excellent, but Boston College’s offense has not held it’s end of the bargain. Their defense was ranked 9th last year overall, but the offense was nearly last and that was with Kentucky transfer Patrick Towles taking over at Quarterback. Darius Wade has started in the past, but was injured 2 years ago. Anthony Brown is a redshirt freshman with obviously no playing experience. They are still battling for the
starting job, but Brown may offer more upside.
13. Matthew Jordan – Georgia Tech: Justin Thomas is gone and Jordan was his backup last season. He can run the option, but his passing skills are questionable. He has very little experience, so we will have to wait and see how he performs as the starter.
12. Kendall Hinton or John Wolford – Wake Forest: They can’t seem to make up their mind who their starter is. Hinton is their runner and Wolford the passer, but either can start and maybe make the offense move. Hinton was listed as the starter on the last list I saw. Both have plenty of Quarterbacking experience at Wake Forest.
11. Josh Jackson – Virginia Tech: Jackson named the starter after battling in the Spring with Herndon Hooker and AJ Bush. He is a redshirt freshman from Michigan with a lot of potential. Probably, by the end of the year he is way down closer to number 1 on this list because of the coaching he is getting under Justin Fuente.
10. Max Browne – Pittsburgh: The last Panther Quarterback was a transfer from Tennessee and now they have USC transfer Max Browne who was beaten out by Sam Darnold. Browne is tall at 6-5 and thin at about 220, and he can throw the ball. After USC was bombed by Alabama and lost 2 out of their first 3 games, he was benched. Can he perform well at Pittsburgh is the question.
9. Malik Rosier – Miami:
Rosier has the ability and he held off the competition to win the job. He just hasn’t played enough to show what he can do. Last season, Rosier backed up 3 year starter Brad Kaaya and he was always really focused in with Kaaya and the coaches on the sidelines and very
involved with the offense, so he knows what’s what in Mark Richt’s offense which helped him win the job, of course.
8. Brandon Harris – North Carolina: LSU transfer Harris might just be the perfect fit for North Carolina coach Larry Fedora’s offense. He may have failed at LSU, but he still has a shot with the Tar Heels. However, they lost most of the talent they’ve had at Wide Receiver other than Austin Proehl. Harris has a strong arm and he can run, so watch and see how he performs in a different offense which gives him the chance to shine.
7. Kurt Benkert – Virginia: Benkert at least is a returning starter that passed for 2,500 yards a year ago and returns for his senior season. The team is still bad, but they do have experienced Quarterback. At 6-4, 230, Benkert is the prototype NFL Quarterback and he can’t be blamed for all the Cavalier woes.
6. Daniel Jones – Duke: As a freshman last year, Jones passed for over 2,800 yards and he ran for 486 yards and 7 Touchdowns. He was only 210 pounds on his 6-5 frame last year, but he will fill out and become a really good player. Duke coach David Cutcliffe knows a thing or two about Quarterbacks and he went with the freshman Jones last season.
5. Kelly Bryant – Clemson:
Bryant won the Quarterback battle to replace the immortal Deshaun Watson. It will be a tough job replacing a guy that lead the Tigers to a national title. In two years, Bryant has thrown 18 passes and he’s a good athlete. He’s just untested. He will have to play well early and often, or he could be replaced by talented freshmen Hunter Johnson or Zerrick Cooper. The Tigers also have a commitment from high school sensation Trevor Lawrence who is absolutely sensational.
4. Eric Dungey – Syracuse: If Dungey can stay healthy, he’s a good Quarterback. In 9 games, Dungey threw for over 2,600 yards and ran for nearly 300. He will be in the second year under head coach Dino Babers and Syracuse will have a good offense this season with Dungey. Babers is a long time assistant coach who finally got a shot at being a head coach at Eastern Illinois and then Bowling Green where he turned 2 programs around. He finished 4-8 his first season and will do the same at Syracuse, but it may take longer than the two years he spent at Eastern Illinois and at Bowling Green.
3. Ryan Finley – North Carolina State: Finley is a tall thin Quarterback at 6-4, 200 that threw for over 3,000 yards a year ago and he has some talent returning with him most notably Jaylen Samuels. The Wolfpack return some talent and could be pretty good this season. Finley started his career at Boise State, but followed his coach to North Carolina State where he has performed well, so far.
2. Deondre Francois – Florida State: Redshirt freshman Francois proved himself last season and he could be one of the better Quarterbacks in the country as a sophomore. Francois threw for 3,350 yards and 20 Touchdowns and he ran for 196 yards and another 5 Touchdowns. His running stats were not impressive, but that’s because he took a lot of sacks earlier in the year. He is a really good dual threat Quarterback. He also has a good arm and has a shot at being really good this season. At the end of the season, Francois ran more and he was impressive taking off with the ball.
1. Lamar Jackson – Louisville: Obviously the returning Heisman Trophy winner is going to be the top guy on this list. The sophomore Jackson really took the nation by storm last season and threw for 3,343 yards and 30 Touchdowns while running for a very impressive 1,571 yards and 21 Touchdowns. The only negative is he and the team broke down a bit late in the season. After a 9-1 start and looking like a playoff team, they lost 3 in a row and looking bad while doing it. Will Jackson come back with confidence and become the first guy since Archie Griffin to win back to back Heismans? I think not as the media schmedia has moved on to the West and USC’s Sam Darnold.