College Quarterbacks: ACC

College football kicked off with full fanfare on Aug. 24 with the Florida/Miami showoff on the East Coast and the Hawaii/Arizona match up on the West Coast.

The defending national champion Clemson Tigers will open their season Thursday, Aug. 29 at home against Georgia Tech. With the exception of Miami, who have a bye week, and Louisville, the rest of the Atlantic Coast Conference will open the season on Aug. 31.

Who will be in the coveted starting quarterback slots? The starting and backup quarterbacks for each team are explored in this edition of college quarterbacks.

Trevor Lawrence, the star quarterback who led Clemson to the National Championship last year, and the first freshman to do so since 1985, will take the lead again this year.  Lawrence, a frontrunner for this year’s Heisman Trophy, started the final 11 games of last season on the way to Clemson winning their second title in three years.

Chase Brice, a redshirt sophomore, will be Lawrence’s backup. Brice threw 32-for-51 for 442 yards and five touchdowns, in addition to 93 yards on the ground last season.  Freshman Taisun Phommachanh is third on the depth chart.

Georgia Tech will open their season visiting the defending national champions, and as of Monday, Lucas Johnson was in the lead for the starting quarterback spot, and James Graham and Tobias Oliver were in tight competition for the backup spot, but the college had not released a decision.

Redshirt sophomore James Blackman in his third year as a Florida State Seminole will start under center in Saturday’s game against Boise State. In Blackman’s first year he had 2330 yards and 19 touchdowns, third in the nation for freshmen. Alex Hornibrook, the redshirt junior from Wisconsin comes in at number two, and Jordan Travis the redshirt freshman is third.

Boston College will start Anthony Brown in the starting quarterback position for the third year in a row. Last season, Brown played 12 games and threw for 2121 yards and 20 touchdowns. Redshirt sophomore Dennis Grosel is slated to backup Brown, with Matt Valecce in the third spot.

Syracuse opens the season playing Liberty, and the team’s depth chart has Tommy DeVito in the starting position with Clayton Welch in the number two spot. Pittsburgh will start Kenny Pickett for the second straight year, and the depth chart lists Nick Patti or Jeff George Jr. in the backup position. Pittsburgh opens their season against Virginia, who has Bryce Perkins starting.

Perkins had 2680 yards and 25 touchdowns in addition to 923 rushing yards and nine scores in 2018.  Brennan Armstrong, the redshirt freshman is behind Perkins, and sophomore Lindell Stone is in the third slot.

The Virginia Tech Hokies are playing Boston College on Saturday, and senior Ryan Willis is the number one signal-caller with Hendon Hooker behind him. Willis recorded 2716 yards and 24 touchdowns, with 354 rushing yards and four scores last season, while Hooker played in four games last year. Quincey Patterson is slated the number three quarterback.

Next up in the conference are the North Carolina colleges.  The University of North Carolina will play the South Carolina Gamecocks in Charlotte on Saturday. Sam Howell, a true freshman is the starting quarterback and is the first true freshman to open a season. Redshirt freshman Jace Rudder will back up Howell, and true freshman walk-on Vincent Amendola is behind Rudder. Cade Fortin entered the transfer portal after Howell was named in the top spot.

Just down the road at Duke, Quentin Harris, who except for two games last year has spent his career as a backup quarterback, is in the top signal-caller spot for the Blue Devils. For the game against Alabama on Saturday, Chris Katrencick, a redshirt sophomore and redshirt freshman Gunnar Holmberg, are behind Harris.  Neither backup had really stood out.

North Carolina State will play East Carolina in their season opener, and sophomore Matt McKay has been named as the starting quarterback. Bailey Hockman, the redshirt sophomore is behind McKay, and Devin Leary rounds out the Wolfpack quarterback depth chart.

The final North Carolina college, Wake Forest, is playing Utah State on Aug. 31 and will start Jaime Newman as the number one quarterback.  Newman started the final four games of the last season after Sam Hartman, who is Newman’s backup quarterback this year, was injured.

Besides Clemson, the only ACC schools not playing on Aug. 31 are Miami and Louisville.  Miami opened the college football season against the University of Florida on Aug. 24.  Redshirt freshman Jerred Williams was at the lead signal-calling position all night, while Tate Martell, the transfer from Ohio State warmed up as backup and wide receiver on Saturday.

Louisville doesn’t open their season until Sept. 2 when they play Notre Dame. The Cardinals will start redshirt junior Jawon Pass who recoded 2198 yards and ten touchdowns in sixteen games last season. Malik Cunningham will be the backup quarterback behind Pass; Cunningham who missed some of the fall camp due to a knee injury and had 473 yards under his belt last season.

The No. 1-ranked defending champion Clemson Tigers are expected to make it all the way again this year with star quarterback Trevor Lawrence, but the rest of the Atlantic Coast Conference plan to give Clemson a run for their money this season.

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