There is a difference between good and great. Eight wins are good. Eleven wins are great. A road win at Cincinnati is good. A home win against Oklahoma is great. Miami quarterback Jacory Harris is good.
Can he be great?
Here’s a look at three players in the ACC who could make the transition from good to great this fall:
1. Jacory Harris, QB, Miami: Harris is good enough to win games. He’s good enough that at one point in his career, his name was in the conversation for the Heisman Trophy. But that talk quickly faded, and Harris, now a senior, has one more chance to join college football’s elite and take the Hurricanes to an ACC title in the process. He’s been given a clean slate by first-year offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch, but only Harris can correct the mistakes and make better decisions on the field. He’s got to win the starting job back and drastically cut down on his turnovers.
2. Brandon Thompson, DT, Clemson: This could be a breakout season for Thompson, who earned the nickname “Yams” because of his big thighs -- and also because he reportedly doesn’t like them. Regardless, he plugs up the middle. Thompson had 56 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss, a sack, 15 quarterback pressures and three pass breakups over 13 games (11 starts) last season. He was at his best in the second half of the season and had 43 of his 56 tackles in the final seven games of the season. He excels as a run-stopper and will present problems up front for most teams this fall. He hasn’t quite reached his potential yet, but if he does, it could turn into a great season.
3. Josh Harris, RB, Wake Forest: Harris showed he was capable of greatness as a redshirt freshman last season, when he racked up 241 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries against the Hokies. He is under-the-radar because he’s playing for the Deacs, a 3-9 team a year ago, but if he gets the blocks from his offensive linemen this fall and is more consistent, he should be an all-ACC back. He has the potential to be more productive than the likes of Andre Ellington and Lamar Miller, and should at least be mentioned in the same company.