Wednesday, May 18, 2022

In ACC, picking top quarterback won’t be an easy task

Somebody is being cheated.

Virginia has Brennan Armstrong, who ranks third in the nation with 3,557 passing yards. Pittsburgh has Kenny Pickett, who has involved himself in Heisman Trophy talks this season with 32 touchdown passes. There’s Sam Hartman in the Wake Forest, who could lead Damon Deacon to the Atlantic Coast Conference title game. NC State has Devin Leary, who has thrown for 29 touchdowns.

When the All-ACC team comes out, at least one of those quarterbacks will be missing.

The All-ACC selections, which are expected to be announced early next month, include first team, second team and third team. That means there are three slots each, which means there’s no shortage of ACC quarterbacks who are going to see their name on the honorable-mention list — or not at all — and probably aren’t overly thrilled about that development. .

“I don’t think there’s another quarterback in the country for his team more than Brennan is doing for us,” Virginia coach Bronco Mendenhall said.

Interestingly, Armstrong’s Price may have been at his most prominent this past weekend – when he could not play due to a rib injury. Virginia’s offense has averaged 39 points in Armstrong’s nine games this season; The Cavaliers went on to score three points without him in a one-sided loss to Notre Dame.

It’s unclear what Armstrong can go through this week when Virginia faces Pitt in a game that could decide the ACC Coastal title. If he plays, the game could simply turn into an Armstrong vs. Pickett shootout.

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Pickett’s numbers make it easy to conclude that he had a great season. But arguably the biggest contributor to Pitt’s success came when he called a team meeting after a disappointing opening loss to Western Michigan.

“It comes down to senior leadership, Kenny Pickett leadership,” said Pitt’s coach Pat Narduzzi. “You’re only as good as your team. If you’re a player-led team, you have a chance with Kenny. I hope all of our young people learn from Kenny Pickett.”

In Wake Forest, they say the same thing about Hartmann.

He is now the Demon Deacons’ record holder for career (63) and single-season (30) touchdown passes, a catalyst for the highest-ranked team in the conference and this weekend marks Wake’s first ACC title game run since 2006. may end the journey. With a win over Clemson.

It was on 22 July when Wake Forest coach Dave Clausen had this to say: “We would love to get to that second-to-last game against Clemson in November, which means a lot to both football teams.”

Hartmann made sure the scenario would be exactly as Clausen had envisioned, although gives much credit to his receiving core.

“It’s been kind of a message throughout the year that we have two-deep guys who know what they’re doing, get the ball and play and play after you’ve caught the ball,” Hartmann said. “It’s an honor to be in my position.”

No matter how the All-ACC race progresses, it will serve as a reminder that pre-season polls and prize lists often fall short in their quest to accurately pick the future. .

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The ACC’s Precision Player of the Year – by a huge margin in the voting – was North Carolina quarterback Sam Howell, who started the season as a Heisman front-runner, but a slow start by the Tar Heels ruined those plans. Miami quarterback D’Eric King, Clemson quarterback DJ Uigalelli and Boston College quarterback Phil Jurkovec also received Precision ACC Player of the Year votes.

The Kings’ season ended early with injuries. Jurkovec was injured and missed almost two months. Uiagalelei and the Tigers needed time to understand themselves.

“It’s been a challenging year for him, but it’s a part of growing up,” said Clemson’s coach Dabo Swinney. “It’s just part of being a young quarterback and learning how to handle disappointment and things like that. At the start of the year, he definitely wasn’t playing well, and we weren’t playing well around him. And We’re getting better. We’re more consistent around that.”

Uiagalelei is 2,000 to 248 yards away this season; If he gets there, it means the ACC will have at least nine quarterbacks at that number in 2021. Armstrong, Pickett, Hartman, Leary and Howell are already there, as are Malik Cunningham of Louisville, Tyler Van Dyke of Miami and Gunnar Holmberg of Duke.

And all those numbers will give award voters a lot to consider when it’s time to get those All-ACC quarterback picks.

“You need to be exceptional in that situation,” Mendenhall said.


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