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ACC Top 25 player countdown: No. 1

No. 1. Robert Quinn, DE, North Carolina

2009 numbers: He ranked first in the ACC and 15th in the country in tackles for loss with 19 and was second in the league and 16th in the nation with 11 sacks. He ranked second in the ACC and fourth in the country with six forced fumbles. He had 52 tackles and three pass breakups.

Most recent ranking: Not ranked.

Making the case for Quinn: He finished second in last year’s ACC Defensive Player of the Year voting. If he continues to improve, there’s no reason he shouldn’t finish first this year. The staff will have to be creative with him this year, because opponents will know who he is and look for the most favorable matchups, getting backs to chip him and tight ends to help block him. It’s a similar situation to what Georgia Tech’s Derrick Morgan faced last year. The good news? Marvin Austin will help draw some of the attention.

No. 2 DeAndre McDaniel, S, Clemson

No. 3 Ryan Williams, RB, Virginia Tech

No. 4 Christian Ponder, QB, Florida State

No. 5 Marvin Austin, DT, North Carolina

No. 6 Quan Sturdivant, LB, UNC

No. 7 Russell Wilson, QB, NC State

No. 8 Joshua Nesbitt, QB, Georgia Tech

No. 9 Rodney Hudson, LG, Florida State

No. 10 Anthony Castonzo, OT, Boston College

No. 11 Allen Bailey, DE, Miami

No. 12 (tie) S Deunta Williams, CB Kendric Burney, UNC

No. 13 Bruce Carter, LB, North Carolina

No. 14 Luke Kuechly, LB, Boston College

No. 15 Brandon Harris, CB, Miami

No. 16 Jacory Harris, QB, Miami

No. 17 Tyrod Taylor, QB, Virginia Tech

No. 18 Donovan Varner, WR, Duke

No. 19 Alex Wujciak, LB, Maryland

No. 20 Montel Harris, RB, Boston College

No. 21 Torrey Smith, WR, Maryland

No. 22 Greg Reid, CB, Florida State

No. 23 Anthony Allen, RB, Georgia Tech

No. 24 Ras-I Dowling, CB, Virginia

No. 25 Mark Herzlich, LB, Boston College