2010 College Football Preseason Rankings: Top-Five ACC Quarterbacks
With college football season a week away, only a few practices remain before the unpredictable Atlantic Coast Conference standings begin to shift.
One of the most talented positions throughout the conference is at quarterback.
Whether the player returns from an injury or a breakthrough season, each of them has something to prove to college football. Some are dual threats that can both run and pass the ball among the nation's best.
A few have a legitimate shot at reaching the Heisman Trophy ceremony in New York City this winter if everything falls into place.
As a preview for the upcoming season, here are the top-five ACC quarterbacks.
No. 5 Tyrod Taylor
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Second on the team in rushing (370 yards) last season, senior Tyrod Taylor proved that he could also pass the ball with the maturation of his game.
He threw for 2,311 yards with 13 touchdowns and just five interceptions, while leading the ACC in passing efficiency.
Prior to last fall, his career numbers were seven touchdowns and 10 interceptions.
With the return of redshirt junior running back Darren Evans, Taylor won't keep the ball as often with Evans and redshirt sophomore Ryan Williams in the backfield.
No. 4 Joshua Nesbitt
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How will Georgia Tech senior Joshua Nesbitt perform this season without running back Jonathan Dwyer and wide receiver Demaryius Thomas?
Both playmakers decided to leave school after their junior years and enter the NFL Draft.
Nesbitt could be a Heisman Trophy candidate.
Last season, he rushed for more than 1,000 yards and passed for more than 1,000 yards to become just the 48th player in NCAA history to accomplish the feat. The All-ACC quarterback led the Yellow Jackets to their first ACC championship since 1990.
Aided by head coach Paul Johnson's spread option offense, Nesbitt gets to showcase his abilities and pad his statistics.
No. 3 Jacory Harris
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Junior Jacory Harris became the first University of Miami quarterback since Ken Dorsey in 2002 to pass for more than 3,000 yards.
It was Harris' first full season as a starter and marked the arrival of offensive coordinator Mark Whipple. Their success brings much optimism to Coral Gables.
With one of the deepest receiving corps in the nation, it's not too difficult for the rail-like quarterback to find an open man. Senior Leonard Hankerson (45 catches, 801 yards, six TDs) returns as well as a solid ground game.
The key will be the protection in front of him with two new starters on the offensive line.
Fully healed following thumb surgery over the spring, Harris must learn from his mistakes and limit the interceptions (17), which were second-most in college football.
No. 2 Kyle Parker
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One might find it difficult to name a more athletic ACC football player than Clemson sophomore Kyle Parker.
Parker threw for 2,526 yards, 20 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions last season as the Tigers won the Atlantic Division.
On the baseball diamond, he was chosen in the first round of the MLB Draft by the Colorado Rockies, but will play this upcoming football season.
Parker was the only player to throw 20 touchdowns and hit 20 homers in a single year.
But things will be challenging this time around without ACC Player of the Year C.J. Spiller and the team's top-three wide receivers.
Jacoby Ford grabbed 56 passes, six for touchdowns, as one of the fastest players in college football. No receiver returns with as many as 15 receptions.
No. 1 Christian Ponder
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Florida State quarterback Christian Ponder could win the Heisman Trophy this season.
Before he went down with a shoulder injury that sidelined him for the remaining four games of 2009, the redshirt senior was among college football's leaders in almost every statistical category.
He finished with 2,717 yards passing (301.9 yards per game) with 14 touchdowns and seven interceptions. Ponder can also run the ball.
All but one starter returns to the offense. The entire offensive line is experienced and will help protect Ponder in his return.
Redshirt junior Bert Reed will be his top target after catching a career-high 60 passes for 710 yards last year. What will hurt is the dismissal of junior wideout Jarmon Fortson for violating team rules.
With the Seminoles selected to win the Atlantic Division, Ponder could follow through and win ACC Player of the Year after being named the clear preseason favorite.