As the ACC looks to continue last years rise as a conference, so does its young talent. Here are five players capable of breaking out in 2009.
1. Da’Quan Bowers, DE Clemson: Last year’s top ranked recruit nationally, Da’Quan Bowers looks primed for stardom in 2009.
Bowers has all the physical tools you look for in a pass rushing defensive end and now has a new defensive coordinator in Kevin Steele whose aggressive defensive mentality should fit Da’Quan’s skill set nicely.
2. Tyrod Taylor, QB Virginia Tech: Many Hokie fans thought Tyrod Taylor might be the second coming of Michael Vick when he arrived in Blacksburg as a freshman.
Clearly that has not been the case, but Taylor has a chance to break out this year now that there is no question who the starting quarterback is.
He has a familiar group of receivers returning, and Virginia Tech’s stable of talented running backs should help open up opportunities in the passing game.
3. Montel Harris, RB Boston College: Last year Harris rushed for 900 yards and five touchdowns as a freshman. He should be the center piece of the Eagles offense in 2009.
Boston College’s uncertainty at quarterback will mean more of a focus on the ground game, which could lead to a huge year for Harris running behind a solid offensive line.
4. Demaryius Thomas, WR Georgia Tech: While Georgia Tech isn’t planning on getting away from their triple-option attack any time soon, they do figure to throw the ball a bit more in quarterback Josh Nesbitt’s second season as the starter.
Thomas isn’t just the best receiver for the Yellow Jackets; he’s one of the most talented in the ACC and could break out in a big way this year.
5. Jacory Harris, QB Miami: As a freshman Jacory Harris threw for 1,195 yards and 12 touchdowns while only getting significant reps in six games last season because of Miami’s decision to use two quarterbacks.
With Robert Marve now gone, Harris is the undisputed starting quarterback and has new offensive coordinator Mark Whipple’s creative offense as well as possibly the best receiving core in the ACC to help him flourish.