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Thursday, December 16, 2010
Growing pains expected at QB in 2011

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com

Heading into 2010, the quarterback position was expected to be one of strength. With seven veterans -- Georgia Tech’s Joshua Nesbitt, FSU’s Christian Ponder, Miami’s Jacory Harris, NC State’s Russell Wilson, Virginia Tech’s Tyrod Taylor, Clemson’s Kyle Parker, and UNC’s T.J. Yates, there were seven reasons to believe the ACC would be stronger this year.

It didn’t quite work out that way.

Ponder, a Heisman hopeful, was inconsistent and injured. Nesbitt was injured. Harris was injured and turnover-prone. Parker didn’t have the receivers to throw to and also underperformed.

Brace yourself, ACC fans, because it’s going to be an even bumpier ride in 2011. At least half of the conference will usher in a new starting quarterback, if not more. There will an infusion of youth. Virginia’s quarterback position is wide open after the graduation of Marc Verica. Boston College and Wake Forest will rely on two true sophomores, and they’re practically the veterans of the group. If Wilson decides to return for his senior season instead of joining the Colorado Rockies next year, there’s no question he will be the best returning quarterback in the ACC. Nobody else will come close to his experience level. If not, it’s going to be a wide-open race. Here’s a look at who is expected to return, listed by experience:

DUKE – Sean Renfree: He played in all 12 games this year and started 11 of 17 career games.

FLORIDA STATE – E.J. Manuel: He’s played in 16 career games, including four starts in 2009, when he was the Gator Bowl MVP.

MARYLAND – Danny O'Brien: He’s the ACC’s rookie of the year, and he has played in 12 games.

WAKE FOREST – Tanner Price: He’s played in 11 career games and started nine this year.

BOSTON COLLEGE – Chase Rettig: He’s played in eight games, taking over as starter in 2010.

GEORGIA TECH – Tevin Washington. He’s played in eight career games, and while he’ll head into spring ball leading the depth chart, coach Paul Johnson told me in a recent interview that doesn’t guarantee he’ll be the starter next year.

MIAMI – Jacory Harris or Stephen Morris. Morris has played in five career games and started four. If Harris gets the nod, Miami moves to the top of the list obviously for experience, but Wilson is still the better quarterback.

NC STATE – Russell Wilson or Mike Glennon. If it’s Wilson, he’s obviously at the top of the list. If it’s Glennon, he has played in 10 career games, including three this year.

VIRGINIA TECH – Logan Thomas: He played in seven games this year.

CLEMSON – Tajh Boyd: He’s played in six games, no starts.

NORTH CAROLINA – Bryn Renner: He played in three games this year.

VIRGINIAMichael Rocco (six games) and Ross Metheny (five games) both saw time this year, and Michael Strauss and Miles Gooch are also options.