Rating the 2019 ACC quarterbacks

(Photo: Bart Boatwright/Staff)

Once again, the National Champions reside in the ACC. And once again, Clemson will be one of the favorites to win it all. While it is well documented that Tiger QB Trevor Lawrence’s skills and potential are off the charts, there are other QBs in the ACC that deserve some of the spotlight as well.

The Elite

Trevor Lawrence – Clemson

As a true freshman, Lawrence led Clemson to a National Championship, while throwing for 3,280 yards & 30 TDs. He also added 177 rushing yds. This year, he will contend for the Heisman, and get Clemson back to the CFB Playoff. We fully expect Lawrence to be the #1 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.

Bryce Perkins – UVA

Perkins had a huge season in 2018, throwing for 2,680 yds and 25 TDs, while adding 923 yds and 9 TDs on the ground. He led the Hoos to 8 wins, and this season has a chance to lead UVA to the ACC Championship Game. Last season, what we loved about Perkins was he orchestrated long 15-18 play drives for scores while chewing up a lot of clock. That allowed the UVA defense to stay fresh & dominate opponents.

Quality Starters

Ryan Willis – Virginia Tech

Many of you might be thinking, Ryan Willis is a quality starter? Yes, Ryan Willis is. He averaged the most passing yards per game among returning ACC QBs. He also carried a VT team who struggled badly on defense. Willis threw for 226.3 ypg last season. He didn’t take over at QB until halfway through game 3. He has a great arm & is a “gunslinger”. Expect over 3,000 passing yds and 30 TDs in 2019.

Tommy Devito – Syracuse

Dino Babers is known for developing QBs and having high powered offenses. His next standout QB will be Devito. Devito was 44-87 for 525 yds & 4 TDs in limited action in 2018. You’re probably thinking, how can a player with little experience be ranked #4? This is projection based. We fully expect Devito to be a household name by season’s end. If healthy all season, you can expect over 3,000 passing yds and 25+ TDs.

Jamie Newman / Sam Hartman – Wake Forest

These two don’t get nearly enough credit as they should. Last season both impressed and put up good numbers. As a freshman in 2018, Sam Hartman threw for 1,984 yds and 16 TDs while adding 275 yds and 2 TDs on the ground. Newman had 9 passing TDs and 4 rushing TDs. No matter who wins this QB job, the Demon Deacons are in good hands.

Anthony Brown – Boston College

Brown was 158-285 (55.4%) for 2,121 passing yards and 20 TDs last season. He also added 85 yards and a TD on the ground. Brown loses WR Jeff Smith and TE Tommy Sweeney. However, he still has WR Kobay White and RB AJ Dillon around him. Brown did a great job with play action passes for big gains last season. Dillon really helps him there. We predict another 20+ TD season from Brown.

Serviceable Starters

James Blackman – Florida State

Blackman was 33-51 for 510 yards and 5 TDs in 2018. He has a good RB Unit around him and star WR Tamorrian Terry & TE Tre Mckitty to throw to. If the O-Line improves and gives Blackman time, expect him to throw for 24+ TDs. He has a good arm and is mobile enough to extend plays if need be.

Kenny Pickett – Pittsburgh

While Pickett is more of a game manager, he still has a chance this year to prove he can be more. Pitt leans on the run. So it’s not a knock on Pickett at all. He’s just not required to throw 30 times a game. Last season, he threw for 1,969 yds and 12 TDs and added 3 rushing TDs. New OC Mark Whipple can help him develop into a 20+ TD Passer.

N’Kosi Perry – Miami

Perry threw for 1,091 yards and 13 touchdowns last season as a freshman, and added 169 rushing yards 1 TD on the ground. He only completed 50.8% of his passes. However, under Dan Enos, he should improve quite a bit. The big catch is it’s not certain who wins the starting QB job for Miami. Perry will have to battle transfer Tate Martell and redshirt freshman Jarren Williams.

Quentin Harris – Duke

Harris threw 7 TDs compared to just 1 INT last season in limited action. He also ran for 5 TDs, so he was quite impressive for the Blue Devils. He had a higher QBR than first round pick Daniel Jones. Duke fans should feel confident in him. He is a dual threat QB, so QB guru David Cutcliffe will use Harris to his greatest abilities. Duke opens the season vs Alabama.

The Unknowns

(AP Photo)
Jawon Pass – Louisville

Pass struggled last season throwing just 8 TDs to 12 INTs. With Scott Satterfield now as his head coach, Pass can get on track and actually have a productive season. The Cards also have some impressive WRs who should help Pass out this year.

Matt McKay – NC State

McKay, a third year sophomore, looks to win the starting QB job for the Wolfpack from former 4-star Florida St transfer Bailey Hockman. McKay is a dual threat QB with a good arm who also has good escapability. He lacks experience, but has all the tools to be a really good QB in the ACC.

Cade Fortin / Jace Ruder / Sam Howell – UNC

The Tar Heel QB situation was a disaster last season. Fortin seemed to be the possible solution. However, he played sparingly before getting injured. He went 32-65 for 388 yards and a TD. Fortin showed a good arm and looked poised in the pocket for a true freshman. If he wins the job, he will have a big year statistically.

After Fortin seemed like the solution before getting injured, Ruder seemed like he might be the solution. Until he got injured, too. Ruder played well during the Carolina spring game, and might have the inside track to win the starting job. His size, accuracy, and athleticism are impressive.

Howell was a huge pickup for Mack Brown last season. The big time 4⭐ recruit is a dual threat QB who is the future of the Tar Heels program.

Georgia Tech QBs

Tobias Oliver rushed for 876 yards 12 TDs and threw for 2 TDs last season. He was recruited by Paul Johnson to run the option, so it’s unknown how he will translate to a traditional offense. But he is an excellent athlete.

Lucas Johnson & James Graham will push Oliver for the starting QB job. Neither have much experience.