Countdown to kickoff: No. 16

August, 10, 2012
8/10/12
2:00
PM ET
There are 16 more weekdays until NC State kicks off against Tennessee in Atlanta on Friday, Aug. 31. We’re counting down with 25 reasons to be excited about ACC football this year. This list features coaches, players, games, themes, position groups -- 25 things for you to look forward to.

The countdown to kickoff continues with …

No. 16: Talented true freshmen. Miami running back Duke Johnson. Maryland receiver Stefon Diggs. Mario Edwards Jr., Ronald Darby and Eddie Goldman -- and that’s just at Florida State. The ACC had arguably the most talented true freshman in the country last year in Clemson receiver Sammy Watkins. Will another one of the nation’s top recruits have a breakout season? Both Clemson and Florida State lured in top 10 recruiting classes, but schools like Virginia and Maryland will also likely turn to a true freshman for immediate contributions. At Florida State, the dismissal of cornerback Greg Reid has opened a door for a rookie like Darby. The Terps need all the help they can get, and Diggs is already shouldering high expectations. At Miami, seven offensive starters have to be replaced, so there will be plenty of opportunities for young players to see meaningful snaps.

No. 17: Unpredictability
No. 18: ACC vs. Notre Dame
No. 19 Clemson's offensive playmakers
No. 20 The ACC's record chasers
No. 21 Larry Fedora
No. 22 One of the nation's top rushing offenses
No. 23 The last season before expansion
No. 24 Brent Venables
No. 25 A fresh start at Maryland

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