At least seven teams in the ACC will have first-year starting quarterbacks. It’s time to get to know them:
BEST ARM: Mike Glennon, NC State. Those within the program, including offensive coordinator Dana Bible, have expressed confidence in Glennon’s strength and accuracy. Said teammate and receiver T.J. Graham: “Run your route properly and the ball will be right where it’s supposed to be. Mike, he’s going to throw the ball deep.”
BIGGEST THREAT ON THE GROUND: Tevin Washington, Georgia Tech. It sort of comes with the territory in Paul Johnson’s spread option offense. Washington played in eight games last season and started four and rushed 116 times for 514 yards (4.4 yards per carry) and four touchdowns. He is the Jackets’ second-leading returning rusher behind Orwin Smith.
GROUND THREAT NO. 2: Tajh Boyd, Clemson. Don’t be fooled by the label “up-tempo, no-huddle spread offense.” Clemson will run the ball often and efficiently this fall, and first-year offensive coordinator Chad Morris said Boyd is tailor-made to lead his offense. Boyd had eight carries for 43 yards in the spring game.
MOST IMPROVED: Chase Rettig, Boston College. It’s not like he was bad last season, he just wasn’t ready. Throw into the fire as a true freshman against Notre Dame in the fourth game of the season, Rettig went on to complete 51.3 percent of his passes for 1,238 yards, six touchdowns and nine interceptions. The hire of Kevin Rogers as offensive coordinator should help elevate his game another level this fall.
NEWCOMER TO WATCH: Logan Thomas, Virginia Tech. Florida State’s EJ Manuel has garnered most of the preseason hype, but there are rave reviews coming out of Blacksburg. Thomas is tasked with replacing the winningest quarterback in school history, but he exceeded expectations this spring,
MOST UNDERRATED: Sean Renfree, Duke. There’s no question he could be one of the best -- if not the best -- quarterback in the ACC this season, but unless Duke goes bowling, he might not get the credit for it. His arm strength has improved along with his decision-making skills and accuracy. He completed 61.4 percent of his pass attempts last season for 3,131 yards, 14 touchdowns and 17 interceptions.
MOST ANTICIPATED: EJ Manuel, Florida State. He’s already won two bowl games and played in an ACC championship game, but this will be his first season as a full-time starter. If Florida State is going to live up to the hype this season, Manuel will have to live up to the expectations, too.
DON’T FORGET ABOUT: Danny O’Brien, Maryland. He was only the ACC’s 2010 Rookie of the Year. How quickly we forget. He’s got excellent knowledge of the game and should have no problem adapting to the first season under offensive coordinator Gary Crowton. He was 7-3 as a starter last season, and should only be better this fall.