The best quarterback from the Class of 2010 is on his way to the ACC, yet the excitement has been relatively toned-down.
Phillip Sims, who saw action in eight games last season for the defending national champion, announced last week that he would be leaving Alabama for Virginia, where he will team up with a pair of former high school teammates who helped him win a state title at Oscar Frommel Smith (Chesapeake, Va.) four years ago.
The biggest question isn't whether Sims, who transferred to be closer to family, will be eligible to play in 2012. It's whether that will even matter in 2012. Or in the years after, for that matter. The Cavaliers return Michael Rocco, who threw for more than 2,500 yards and led the team to an 8-5 record last season after beating out three others for the starting job. He enters 2012 with two years of eligibility remaining, and Virginia will have three other eligible quarterbacks, excluding Sims, behind him.
It's not that Sims isn't capable of starting and excelling now that he's in the ACC. It's that Virginia, like almost all of its conference brethren, lacked a starting quarterback issue this spring.
Five 3,000-yard passers from 2011 are back this season, as is Duke's Sean Renfree, who was a 3,000-yard passer in 2010. Florida State's EJ Manuel returns for another year. So, too, do Georgia Tech's Tevin Washington and Boston College's Chase Rettig.
On a post-spring conference call with all 12 ACC coaches two weeks ago, 85 questions were asked. Only 14 centered on signal callers, and five of those were directed at Maryland's Randy Edsall, who returns his season-ending starter from 2011 in C.J. Brown. (Brown replaced the injured Danny O'Brien, who has since transferred to Wisconsin.)
Two more of those questions were directed at Duke's David Cutcliffe, and those were about the pro potential of Renfree. For perspective, the Blue Devils have not had a quarterback drafted since 1996.
Manuel and Virginia Tech's Logan Thomas have been projected as potential first-rounders in several early mock drafts. Only Manuel, Renfree, Washington and NC State's Mike Glennon will be seniors this season.
The closest thing to a controversy could be at Miami, as Stephen Morris sat out this spring while recovering from back surgery. Memphis transfer Ryan Williams impressed as the de facto No. 1 and should give Morris a challenge for the starting job come preseason camp.
Brown could eventually face competition at Maryland when its freshman class gets a little more seasoning.
As is the case with anything, marquee names sell. Marquee names come from marquee positions, and no position offers the spotlight more than the quarterback, a position that will offer the ACC more exposure than it's had in recent years. The old saying, when applied to individual teams, is that if you have two quarterbacks, you have none. The transitive property doesn't apply here for conferences, however, and the ACC should be just fine with that as it enters 2012.