My colleague Bruce Feldman ranked the 10 most exciting young players (freshmen or sophomores) in college football this season, and the ACC came up empty.
Virginia Tech running back Ryan Williams, Boston College linebacker Luke Kuechly, Duke quarterback Sean Renfree, Florida State cornerback Greg Reid, UNC receiver Jheranie Boyd and Miami running back Lamar Miller all missed the cut.
There are two names on that list that stand out to me:
1. Ryan Williams. It's inconceivable that Williams hasn't had a 100-yard rushing performance yet. I tried to ask Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer about his offensive line on today's ACC teleconference, but didn't exactly get the explanation I was looking for.
HD: "Please correct me if I'm wrong on this, but it seems like there has consistently been struggles on the offensive line. I'm wondering if that's recruiting, if it's guys leaving? You know you have guys who can run. If they have the blocks, they're gone. Is that still a problem, and if so, why?"
Beamer: "When there's youth, there's sometimes a bit of an adjustment period. We're seeing that on our defense. The more reps you get, the more consistent you get. That's what we're trying to do right now, is become more consistent."
My take: They are consistent -- consistently struggling to block. It feels like it's been that way for five years now.
2. Sean Renfree. Eventually, he's going to be a special quarterback in the ACC. As long as the has the receivers (which he does), and the protection up front, Duke can put up points on anyone in the country (yes, even Alabama). Duke coach David Cutcliffe doesn't sugarcoat things, and he doesn't give credit where it's not deserved. He's already giving Renfree a lot of credit.
Cutcliffe: "With our quarterback, we're going to win a bunch of football games with our sophomore quarterback."
My take: Agreed. It's only a matter of time until the defense catches up.