ACC: Demontevious Smith

Georgia Tech freshmen QBs must catch up

June, 27, 2011
Georgia Tech's freshman class arrived on campus last week, and if quarterback Vad Lee is going to have any realistic shot at dethroning Tevin Washington or Synjyn Days from the top of the depth chart, he's going to have to have a spectacular summer, starting now.

Because he didn't enroll early, Lee already has some catching up to do, but coach Paul Johnson said the decision to enroll early remains entirely up to the recruits.

"Clearly if you go through spring practice it puts you ahead of the curve, there’s no question about that,” Johnson said. “They also miss out on a lot, too, they miss out on the last half of their senior year. That’s something the individual kids have to decided. I wouldn’t try to talk them into that."

Lee isn't the only quarterback Johnson will be watching this summer. Demontevious Smith ran a similar offense in high school, and Johnson said "it will be interesting to see how he does."

"We’re excited about the whole class," Johnson said, when asked about Lee. "I try not to single guys out. He’s a confident kid who I think has ability and we’ll see how it unfolds. Certainly he loves to play the game and he loves to study it, so we’ll see where that leads him."
We’ve already taken a look at the ACC’s Dream Team, which was comprised of the top position groups across the league. Now it’s time to go a little bit deeper and rank every position group for each team. We’ll start with the most difficult position -- the quarterbacks. More than half of the teams in the conference will usher in quarterbacks who are in their first season as a full-time starter, and many of the teams in the ACC are struggling with depth and experience at the position. This is not solely a ranking of the best quarterbacks in the ACC (stay tuned for that, it will look different), so backups are an important part of the equation.

Bottom line: Who's got the depth and talent to make it through a full season -- and win -- if more than one quarterback is needed?

Here’s a look at who’s stocked and who’s not at quarterback this year:

1. Miami: The Hurricanes have a proven albeit embattled option in Jacory Harris, and Stephen Morris also has significant starting experience. Whoever doesn’t win the job will be a more than capable backup. The Canes still need to add depth to the position, but they landed transfer Ryan Williams from Memphis.

2. Boston College: Starter Chase Rettig should be better in his second season as starter, but he’s not the only one on the roster with playing experience. Dave Shinskie has started 13 games, and Mike Marscovetra should be a familiar name to BC fans by now.

3. Duke: It’s possible coach David Cutcliffe could use three quarterbacks this year. He’s got one of the best in the league in starter Sean Renfree, backup Brandon Connette has seen significant playing time, and the emergence of redshirt freshman Anthony Boone this offseason could give the offense yet another option.

4. Wake Forest: Tanner Price is the undisputed starter, but Ted Stachitas had a better spring than coach Jim Grobe had anticipated, and Brendan Cross has always been in the mix to earn some playing time.

5. Florida State: The Seminoles haven’t settled yet on a backup to EJ Manuel, but depth isn’t a problem with both Clint Trickett and Will Secord competing for the No. 2 spot. It’s not like it was last year, though, when there was a Gator Bowl MVP sitting on the bench.

6. North Carolina: Not only is Bryn Renner unproven, so are his backups. Renner clearly distanced himself from the rest of the competition this spring. True freshman Marquise Williams will continue to compete with Braden Hanson and A.J. Blue, who was injured two years ago and redshirted last season, for the No. 2 spot.

7. Virginia Tech: Logan Thomas had an impressive spring and drew rave reviews from those within the program, but the backup situation remains a question. Redshirt freshman Mark Leal really pushed Ju-Ju Clayton for the No. 2 job and that competition will continue this summer.

8. Georgia Tech: It’s Tevin Washington’s job to lose, but Synjyn Days had the better spring game and made the competition a bit more interesting heading into fall camp. True freshmen Vad Lee and Demontevious Smith would have to have stellar performances in camp to make a move, but there’s definitely talent in the wings.

9. Clemson: Tajh Boyd was the only scholarship quarterback even on the roster until the early enrollees, Cole Stoudt and Tony McNeal, joined the team. The good news for Clemson fans is that Cole Stoudt, the son of former NFL quarterback Cliff Stoudt, had a productive spring and earned the No. 2 job.

10. Virginia: If there’s one problem the Hoos don’t have, it’s depth at the quarterback position. Mike London has yet to name a starter, and all of them lack significant game experience. Ross Metheny, Michael Rocco, Michael Strauss and David Watford all have a shot. Since they’re all preparing as starters now, they should all have a good grasp of the offense if needed.

11. Maryland: First-year coach Randy Edsall had five quarterbacks to work with when he was hired, and now he’s down to two. He’s got one of the best quarterbacks in the league to work with in Danny O'Brien, but he’s got to keep him healthy. C.J. Brown and walk-on Troy Jones are the only other quarterbacks on the roster.

12. NC State: If Mike Glennon gets hurt, the Wolfpack is in trouble. Redshirt freshman Tyler Brosius has a strong arm but no experience, and he’s not ready for prime time yet. The departure of Russell Wilson might not affect the win-loss record, but it definitely hurt the depth.

Scouting the backup QBs

April, 20, 2011
With so much attention on the quarterbacks this year, their backups tend to get lost in the shuffle. But, as the coachspeak goes, they’re just one play away. (See: Tevin Washington, Stephen Morris circa 2010). Here’s a look at who’s in good shape at No. 2, and who has reasons for concern:


Boston College -- It’s Mike Marscovetra's turn. Dave Shinskie was the starter before he was benched in the Notre Dame game last year in favor of Chase Rettig, but he’s since been demoted another spot. Marscovetra has played in 10 games in his career.

Duke -- Brandon Connette is the unquestioned backup, and he’s performed well enough that David Cutcliffe has used Connette’s running abilities to add a different dimension to the offense. Connette played in all 12 games last season and ran for 321 yards and a team-high eight rushing touchdowns.

Miami -- The Canes might not know who their starter is, but whichever one doesn’t win the job will be a more than capable backup. Morris was already thrown into the fire when he had to replace injured starter Jacory Harris last season in the Virginia game.

Wake Forest -- Ted Stachitas had a good spring and threw better than coach Jim Grobe had expected. Stachitas has played before, and his ability to run could help the Deacs in the option offense if they need a spark. Stachitas started three games last season.


Maryland -- The Terps are set on C.J. Brown, who has played well enough this spring to push starter Danny O'Brien, according to coach Randy Edsall. Brown only has one collegiate pass attempt in one game, though.

North Carolina -- Braden Hanson is the undisputed backup to Bryn Renner, but he hasn’t seen the field since 2009, when he played in three games and completed 2 of 6 passes with two interceptions.

Virginia Tech -- Ju-Ju Clayton was outplayed by Logan Thomas for the No. 2 job last spring, but now he’s the unquestioned backup. He hasn’t seen the field since 2009 when he was 1-for-5 passing.

Clemson -- Cole Stoudt, the son of former NFL quarterback Cliff Stoudt, won a battle of January freshman enrollees. At 6-foot-5 and because of his pedigree, Clemson fans wonder if he can be the next Charlie Whitehurst.


Virginia -- Like Miami, the Hoos have yet to name a starter, but unlike the Canes, all of the quarterbacks lack meaningful experience.

Florida State -- Clint Trickett and Will Secord are still competing for the No. 2 spot. Trickett had better numbers in the spring game, so he may go into the fall with a slight edge, but keep in mind that the offensive lines they played with weren’t full strength.

Georgia Tech -- Entering summer camp, Synjyn Days is expected to be listed as the backup to Tevin Washington. True freshmen Vad Lee and Demontevious Smith would have to be especially impressive to move up, but there could be some good competition between now and the season opener.

NC State -- Technically, NC State might have one of the best backups in the country if former starter Russell Wilson decides to return. Let’s take the Wolfpack’s approach, though, and assume he doesn’t. It’s up to redshirt freshman Tyler Brosius, who has a strong arm but no experience.