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Wednesday, June 11, 2014
Poll: ACC offensive rookie of the year

By Matt Fortuna

It's never too early to make predictions, and with the season less than three months away, we are seeking your input on who you think will take home some of the ACC's top honors at season's end.

We continue today with offensive rookie of the year.

QB Kevin Olsen, Miami: Yes, Olsen is a redshirt freshman, but that's fair game after we saw Jameis Winston take home the award last season. Olsen may have the best opportunity among the ACC's first-year players to make the biggest impact in 2014, as he is the favorite to start under center for the Hurricanes in Week 1 following Ryan Williams' spring ACL tear. ESPN's No. 5 pocket-passer from the Class of 2013 will be under heavy pressure, but with the ball in his hands so often, he will at least have the chance to seize this opportunity.

QB Mitch Trubisky, North Carolina: Another redshirt freshman, this one with tougher chances to win the starting quarterback job. Nevertheless, the Tar Heels' coaching staff has faith in Trubisky, which is why they opened Marquise Williams' starting spot (and every other starting spot) this spring. Trubisky was ESPN's No. 7 dual-threat quarterback from 2013, and with plenty of skill players around him -- and with UNC looking like a threat to win the Coastal -- big things could be on the horizon for Trubisky, if he can beat out Williams.

QB Deshaun Watson, Clemson: Another quarterback, you say? Well, let's face it: No one gets the opportunities to impact games the way signal-callers do. Watson, unlike the previous two quarterbacks mentioned, is an actual true freshman, having enrolled this spring. Chad Kelly's dismissal from the team made Cole Stoudt the starter for Week 1, but it's clear Watson -- ESPN's No. 1 dual-threat quarterback in the 2014 class -- is the future of the program. How soon that future comes could determine his contention for rookie of the year honors.

RB Elijah Hood, North Carolina: ESPN's No. 9 running back in 2014, Hood enrolled at UNC early after decommitting from Notre Dame. The 6-foot, 220-pound Charlotte Catholic product is as ready-made as they come, having won Associated Press state player of the year honors. If Hood's offensive line holds up, more hardware could be coming his way this fall.

Others: No Seminoles, you say? Receivers Ermon Lane and Travis Rudolph were among FSU's biggest offensive recruits, but it will be tough for them to make early impacts given the talent already on that roster. The same goes for early enrollee running back Dalvin Cook, whose shoulder injury forced him out of spring ball. Clemson four-star receiver Artavis Scott enrolled early, too, but watch out for more under-the-radar prospects like Pitt redshirt freshman receivers Zach Challingsworth and Jester Weah, a pair of three-star players who could take advantage of a receiving corps that is largely unknown behind Tyler Boyd.