We're counting down the top 25 players in the ACC this week -- five players per day -- ranking the league's elite based on a combination of what they've done already and what we expect to see from them in 2015.
It’s time to dive into the top 10.
6. Tyler Boyd, Pittsburgh (WR, Jr.)
The hyped local star from storied Clairton has been everything the Panthers hoped he would be when he finally inked with Pitt. His 1,261 yards ranked 11th nationally, and only seven Power 5 receivers with at least 50 receptions had a better yards per catch average than Boyd’s 16.2. He could easily surpass last season’s numbers, too, with an improving Chad Voytik. He is sidelined for the season opener following an offseason DUI charge, though.
7. Jeremy Cash, Duke (S, RSr.)
A transfer from Ohio State, Cash is talented enough to have started on the Buckeyes’ national championship team. Instead, he helped orchestrate a stunning turnaround at Duke and led a defense that was emotionally reeling after the loss of Kelby Brown. With 232 tackles, 20 for a loss, six passes intercepted and another 11 broken up in his career, Cash has proven himself against the run and pass.
8. Dadi Nicolas, Virginia Tech (DE, RSr.)
A top-three finish in the ACC in sacks is an impressive mark, but Nicolas should fault one of his teammates for not rising to the top of the conference ranks. Nicolas sacked the quarterback 8.5 times, but fellow Hokie Ken Ekanem tripped up quarterbacks twice more. Nicolas is a dominant force as an edge rusher and could be a coveted NFL prospect with a solid final season.
9. Brad Kaaya, Miami (QB, So.)
The ACC is loaded at quarterback, and the conference’s best could be the one often overlooked. Kaaya started every game as a true freshman and was brilliant for stretches of 2014, and now the sophomore is poised to make a run at the ACC's postseason awards. The California native has all the physical tools, but it is mentally where he separates himself from his peers. He leads the Canes’ locker room, too.
10. Everett Golson, Florida State (QB, Sr.)
Golson’s inclusion on the postseason edition of this list hinges on his grasp of FSU coach Jimbo Fisher’s playbook -- and of his own limitations. Golson was a Heisman Trophy candidate through October, but those thoughts derailed during a poor stretch for the Fighting Irish. Golson has turnover issues, and they were exposed as the Irish defense fell apart and pressure was thrust upon him. There’s a case for Golson to finish higher on this list -- or be completely dropped from it at the end of the season, which is why Golson is the conference’s 2015 wild card.