This is one of the most difficult positions to rank, and it’s a good, veteran group in the ACC this year. The strength and experience at quarterback is a main reason why expectations are higher for the conference as a whole this year. Only three programs will introduce new quarterbacks this fall, and because of their inexperience, they rank last by default. The competition is still open at several schools. Here’s how the ACC quarterbacks stack up heading into the fall:
1. Christian Ponder, Florida State: He averaged 321.8 yards of total offense in nine starts last year, a number that would have been the sixth best total in ACC history had he played one more game in order to have reached the NCAA minimum standard for games played.
2. Russell Wilson, NC State: He ranks fifth in school history in career passing yards (4,982), second in passing efficiency (141.94), and third in touchdowns (48). His 31 touchdown passes last year ranked fourth nationally and led the ACC.
3. Joshua Nesbitt, Georgia Tech: His 2,079 rushing yards are the most by a quarterback in school history and he needs just 692 more to become the top rushing quarterback in ACC history. He had over 1,000 yards rushing and passing last year.
4. Jacory Harris, Miami: He is the ACC’s leading returner in passing average per game with 257.8 yards, and he completed 59.6 percent of his passes. He became the first quarterback since Ken Dorsey in 2002 to throw for 3,000 yards.
5. Tyrod Taylor, Virginia Tech: This should be his best season, as he made huge strides last year, leading the ACC with a 149.4 passing efficiency. He threw 13 touchdowns and five interceptions for 2,311 yards.
6. Kyle Parker, Clemson: He set freshman school records for touchdown passes (20), completions (205) and passing yards (2,526). He was also a first-round draft pick for the Colorado Rockies.
7. T.J. Yates, North Carolina: He ranked ninth in the ACC in both passing average per game and pass efficiency. He threw 14 touchdowns and 15 interceptions, but that should improve this fall as the players around him have improved.
8. Marc Verica, Virginia: He took over the starting job in 2008 and finished the year with 2,037 passing yards and completed 63.8 percent, but he threw eight touchdowns and 16 interceptions. He was much more accurate and made better decisions this past spring.
9. Dave Shinskie, Boston College: At 25, Shinskie was a freshman last year and he made freshman mistakes, throwing 14 interceptions along the way. Still, he set BC freshman passing records with 2,049 yards and 15 touchdowns.
10. Sean Renfree, Duke: He’s tasked with replacing four-year starter Thaddeus Lewis, and has minimal experience. As Lewis’ backup last year, Renfree completed 34-of-50 passes for 330 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions before suffering a season-ending knee injury against Georgia Tech on Nov. 14.
11. Jamarr Robinson, Maryland: He takes over for Chris Turner, and should provide more options in the playbook because of his athleticism. Robinson ran for 129 yards against Virginia Tech, and in the two games he started last year threw for 459 yards and ran for 229 more.
12. Skylar Jones, Wake Forest: This competition is still ongoing, as it’s the first time since 1957 that the Wake Forest has had zero passing attempts among its returning quarterbacks, but Jones entered fall camp atop the depth chart after spending some time at wide receiver last year.