Jameis Winston had a great freshman season which resulted in a Heisman trophy and national championship. So yes, he’s the top dog. It's Jameis and everyone else right now in the ACC, and it’s not even close.
But with that being said, there is plenty of starting quarterback jobs still up for grabs in the ACC.
Could someone else emerge as a star quarterback in 2014?
1. Jameis Winston, Florida State
No surprise here, of course Winston is sitting at number one. He may be the best quarterback in the country. Winston threw for 4,057 yards and 40 touchdowns last season, not to mention only tossing 10 interceptions in 384 attempts. Defensive coordinators around the ACC must find a way to slow Winston down if the race for the conference championship will be competitive at all.
2. Anthony Boone, Duke
Boone led the Blue Devils to the ACC Championship Game. He threw several interceptions early in the season (including eight in a three-game span), but certainly hit his stride down the stretch. I expect Boone to build off last season’s success and be even more productive in 2014. He’ll have high expectations from his head coach David Cutcliffe, so we’ll see how he’ll respond.
3. Marquise Williams, North Carolina
Williams is just as deadly running the ball as he is throwing it. He threw for 1,527 yards and 14 touchdowns, while rushing for 490 yards and six more scores. He transformed North Carolina’s offense and was a big reason why the Tar Heels were considered one of the hottest teams in the country during the latter half of the 2013 season.
4. Will Gardner, Louisville*
I may be a prisoner of the moment, but I’m a big believer in Gardner for this season. Regardless of his lack of experience, he’ll benefit greatly from Bobby Petrino’s offense. Gardner completed 32-of-37 passes in the Cardinals’ spring game and I expect that efficiency to continue throughout the season.
5. Cole Stoudt, Clemson
Stoudt has been serving as a backup for Tajh Boyd the past three seasons; this is his time to shine. Stoudt has thrown for 742 yards and eight touchdowns during his career, so he doesn’t have a ton of experience. But despite his lack of experience, I believe he’ll benefit from the playmakers around him.
6. Terrel Hunt, Syracuse
Hunt ended the year on a positive note in 2013, as Syracuse defeated Minnesota in the Texas Bowl. He’s a dual-threat guy who benefitted greatly from his experiences last season. Despite only throwing three touchdowns in ACC play last year, I have a feeling Hunt will turn some heads in 2014.
7. Jacoby Brissett, N.C. State*
The Florida Gators transfer is going to shine in Dave Doeren’s system. Doeren will try to emulate his success at Northern Illinois with Brissett under center. He has similar characteristics to Jordan Lynch and can be mobile in the pocket. I’m expecting Brissett to thrive in this offense.
8. Brad Kaaya, Miami (FL)*
I’m going to be bold and say Kaaya will beat out Kevin Olsen this summer to win the starting job for the Hurricanes. Quarterback guru George Whitfield is a big believer in Kaaya, which definitely holds weight. Kaaya won a state championship in California his senior year and was the Hurricanes’ most prized recruit on offense.
9. Justin Thomas, Georgia Tech*
With Vad Lee out of the picture, Thomas has to be the man now. He played in 10 games last season and rushed for 234 yards with two touchdowns. As long as he can move, he should be okay in Paul Johnson’s offense.
10. Chad Voytik, Pittsburgh*
Voytik backed up Tom Savage last season and has only attempted 11 passes in his career thus far. But he was a highly-rated recruit out of high school. If he gets some confidence and throws to star receiver Tyler Boyd often, he should be okay in 2014.
11. Michael Brewer, Virginia Tech*
12. Tyler Murphy, Boston College*
Steve Addazio is hoping that the Florida transfer will be able to rescue this offense in 2014. The Eagles lost almost every playmaker on offense and need Murphy to pull through. Murphy threw for 1,216 yards and three touchdowns while he was at Florida. But unfortunately for Murphy, he won’t have a lot to work with at Boston College.
13. Greyson Lambert, Virginia*
Lambert played in seven games last season, throwing for 340 yards and one score. He’ll need to mature and become the leader of the offense this season. He certainly has the frame, standing at 6-foot-5 and weighing 225 pounds, but will have to put it all together for Virginia to have success.
14. Tyler Cameron, Wake Forest*
Cameron and Kevin Sousa are still battling for the starting role, but I’m giving Cameron the nod for now. He doesn’t have a ton of game experience and I expect this season to be a year of growing pains. But the experience should serve him well in the future.