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ACC's quarterbacks will give conference a boost

8/5/2009

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

There will be a noticeable difference in the ACC this fall, and it will come in the form of offense. That, of course, starts with the quarterback, and the ACC finally has a deep list of signal-callers who know how to win games.

There are at least nine quarterbacks returning who have significant starting experience from 2008. That's not including Miami's Jacory Harris, who split time at the position last year, and Virginia's Jameel Sewell, who was the starter in 2007 but missed last year for academic reasons. It's a complete turnaround from last year, when 10 of 12 teams started more than one quarterback because of either injury or inconsistency.

It will make a tremendous difference for schools like Miami and Virginia Tech, who now know who the leader on offense is. If there was one common thread between the nation's top teams a year ago, it was consistency at quarterback.

In all, the quarterbacks who combined for 63 percent of the ACC's passing yardage a year ago return. We should also see a new face at Virginia in Vic Hall, but even he earned a start last year against the Hokies. Only Boston College and Clemson will be breaking in rookies.

While nobody is expecting the ACC to morph into the Big 12, the offenses should come to life. Riley Skinner was my pick as the ACC's preseason all-conference quarterback, and that decision was based on what he has already accomplished, and the numerous school records he is in position to break this fall.

Here are some other preseason nominations:

MOST IMPROVED: Josh Nesbitt, Georgia Tech
MOST CONSISTENT: Riley Skinner, Wake Forest
MOST ACCURATE: Russell Wilson, NC State
BEST ARM: Kyle Parker, Clemson
BEST FEET: Tyrod Taylor, Virginia Tech
BEST FOOTBALL IQ: Thaddeus Lewis, Duke
MOST INJURY PRONE: (tie) Wilson, Taylor