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2014: Top five players to look for in the ACC

                                     Top five players to look for in the ACC in 2014

It was quiet a year for the Atlantic Coast Conference in 2013. There was a Heisman Trophy winner, a national championship to the conference’s credit, as well as other individual honors. But as good as last season was for the league and its players, we are already starting to look ahead to what 2014 has in store. Here are the top five players that could make an impact on next season.

1)      Everett Golson Quarterback of Notre Dame

Golson was re-admitted to school on December 13, 2013 after being suspended for what the university called “poor academic judgment”. In 2012, Golson started eleven games for the Irish, helped them to an undefeated regular season and a berth in the National Championship game vs. Alabama. In those eleven games, Golson completed over 58% of his passes, good for 2,405 yards with 12 touchdowns and 6 interceptions. He was also effective using his legs, running for 298 yards and 6 more touchdowns. During his time away from school, Golson has been working on his quarterbacking skills so he can be ready for spring practice. With the Irish set to begin conference play in 2014, Golson will be counted on heavily to lead Notre Dame into the top half of the league standings.

2)      Jamison Crowder Wide Receiver of Duke

The senior to be was an important part of what many are calling the “feel good story of 2013 in college football”. Helping Duke to a school record 10 wins and a division championship, Crowder was the go to man in the Blue Devils passing game. His 1,360 receiving yards on 108 catches gives Crowder back to back 1,000 yards seasons. The first team All-ACC WR will once again be asked to deliver for a Blue Devils team that will be trying to prove that last season accomplishments were no fluke. Having both Anthony Boone and Brandon Connette back at QB to run the Duke offense should be a big help to Crowder, who’s pass catching and route running is as good as any one in the conference or in the country.

3)      Duke Johnson Running Back of Miami

If there was a comeback player of the year award, Johnson would be an early nomine. His season was cut short in the fall because of a horrific broken ankle injury suffer in the Hurricanes loss to Florida State. At the time of the injury, Johnson has carried the football 145 times good for 920 yards and 6 touchdowns. The loss of Johnson for the rest of the season had a terrible impact on the second half of Miami season. Johnson has not been cleared to take part in spring practice, although both the university and Johnson are pleased with how rehab is going. It is quite possible that Johnson return will be delayed until the fall. With uncertainty at the QB position due to the graduating of Sammy Morris, a healthy Duke Johnson could very well be a key to whatever success Miami has next season.

4)      Grady Jarrett Defense Tackle of Clemson

Let’s not make this all about offense, after all the game is play on both side of the ball. So the last two players in this article are from the defense. First up is Jarrett, the soon to be senior started all 13 games for the Tigers defense last fall. The Honorable Mention All-ACC selection by both the coaches and the media, Jarrett registered 83 tackles (46 solo, 37 assist) had 2 sacks, 14 quarterback pressures, 11 tackles for loss (15 yards in losses) and 2 recovered fumbles in 539 snaps played in those 13 starts. Jarrett and the rest of his defensive mates may be called upon even more next fall. With graduation hitting the offensive side of the ball hard, especially at the skill positions, Jarrett’s numbers may need to go up to give the offense time to figures things out.

5)      Jalen Ramsey Defense Back of Florida State

The Seminoles defense was the best in the nation during the 2013 season, giving up only 11 points per game. So why pick Ramsey, as a freshman he played in all 14 games in the ‘Noles championship run.  In those games, Ramsey demonstrated he belong on the field despite his lack of college experience. He would finished the season with 41 tackles (30 soles, 11 assists), also had 1 interception and 1 sack. His best regular season game was vs. Boston College in late September when he totaled 7 solo tackles for the game. In the national championship game vs. Auburn, Ramsey recorded 5 tackles in the win over the Tigers. With players leaving early for the NFL, not to mention players graduating, Ramsey becomes important because he helps with the easing of new players into the system. Of course it helps when you have a QB named Winston.

These are just five of many good players that will be playing in the ACC next year, the conference is loaded with good teams and players. Whether you agree with this list or you don’t, the one thing for sure is it good to be a fan of the Atlantic Coast Conference.  

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