The 2013 signing class has already made its mark on the ACC, from Tyler Boyd and Stacy Coley shining on offense to Jalen Ramsey and Kendall Fuller starring on defense to Ryan Switzer racking up All-America honors on special teams. But for most players, the transition from high school to college takes a little time, and it’s not until Year 2 that they truly shine. With that in mind, we’re taking a look at the best candidates for second-year stardom in the conference -- the players who didn’t quite hit the big time as true freshmen, but are poised for a breakthrough in 2014.
See our previous projections here.
Next up: Georgia Tech
Class recap: The Jackets signed a small class of 14 players that has already seen its ranks dwindle. Kevin Robbins Jr. and Justin Akins have announced their decisions to transfer, while No.3 quarterback Ty Griffin also reportedly wants to transfer as well. Two of the top prospects in the class were offensive linemen -- Shamire Devine and Chris Griffin. They are expected to see much bigger roles this upcoming season.
Second-year star: K Harrison Butker.
Recruiting stock: ESPN Recruiting had Butker ranked as the No. 3 kicker in the nation out of Decatur, Ga. He chose the Jackets over Auburn.
2013 in review: Butker came in last fall and won the starting job, leading the team with 83 points. He made 53 of 54 extra point attempts, tying for the second-most single-season PATs in school history. His only miss came on a bad snap against Miami. Butker also hit 10 of 14 field goal attempts, including nine of his final 11. Half of the field goals he made were 40 yards or longer.
2014 potential: Coach Paul Johnson truly believes Butker can be one of the best kickers in the nation. During the spring game, er monsoon, Butker made a 54-yard field goal. Something to note headed into the fall: Georgia Tech will have a new special teams coach after Dave Walkosky abruptly resigned last week.
Also watch for: The 6-foot-6, 294-pound Griffin ran with the first team in the spring at tackle and has a great chance to win the starting job. Devine, the biggest Jacket at 6-7, 340 pounds, enters the fall second on the depth chart, but coaches love his potential. Linebacker Paul Davis, who played as a true freshman last year, is also competing for a starting job.