This week Carolina Blitz participated in the annual ACC football media day held in Charlotte, North Carolina. The two day event featured some of the best players in all of college football, regardless of conference. Players and head coaches gave us a glimpse of what’s ahead this upcoming season that will also feature fans back in the stands. Many teams return veterans, leaders, and impact players on both sides of the ball who will indeed contribute to the success of their squad.
The players listed below have shown their willingness and ability to take over a ball game at moments notice. This season, unlike others, will reveal how much depth there is in the ACC at the quarterback position- which makes up 3 of the 5 spots on my ACC Preseason Player of the Year prediction list.
5. Mataeo Durant – Duke
As the feature back this season for the Blue Devils, who won just a single ACC game last season, Durant is expected to carry a heavy load. But what is Duke’s true identity? Inconsistency at the quarterback position and at times having more turnovers than points, Cutliffe was forced to change the game plan due to situational football. In eight games last season Mataeo rushed for 817 yards with 6 touchdowns.
4. Phil Jurkovec – Boston College
Eagles’ quarterback Phil Jurkovec not only has a chance to win the conference’s most valuable player, but also has a chance to solidify himself as a first round pick in next year’s NFL draft. In 10 games during the 2020 season, Jurkovec threw for over 2500 yards, 17 touchdowns to just 5 interceptions.
3. Sam Howell – UNC
Losing two 1000-yard rushers and his top two receivers to the NFL draft would make some think twice about putting Sam on this list, but the Tar Heels still have viable weapons and are ranked in the AP Top 25 for a reason. Mack Brown has continued to light up the recruiting trail and doesn’t look to be losing steam any time soon. The Monroe native threw for over 3,500 yards a season ago, which included 30 touchdowns and just 7 interceptions.
2. D’Eriq King – Miami
To have your coach state at ACC Media day that “I have never been around a guy like D’eriq King” is as transparent as it gets. The dual threat quarterback is coming off an ACL injury where some he may carry over lingering effects into the season, but King will be a full participant when camp opens, stating he’s 100 percent healthy. When healthy the ACC POY hopeful went over 2,000 yards in the air and 538 yards on the ground. With dynamic playmakers deciding to return for the Canes in Mike Harley, Amari Carter, and Bubba Bolden, expect King to come out “guns blazing” for ACC Player of the Year.
1. D.J. Uiagalelei – Clemson
“Big Cinco” may have the biggest burden to overcome. Replacing a generational talent and number 1 overall pick Trevor Lawrence may seem like a tall task, but DJ Uiagalelei stated during media day that he has been prepped for this position by the Clemson coaching staff and is ready to fill the void. The high expectations, needless to say, are extremely warranted. When you throw for more yards against Notre Dame than anyone has ever done, you set the tone in an unmatched way. D.J., who can escape the pocket or stand in the trenches and launch the ball 50 yards down field on a dime, will give fans a treat starting at Bank of America stadium against Georgia September 4th at 7:30 P.M. on ABC.