Duke Football: Sean Renfree Quietly Becoming ACC's Potential Breakout Star

Mike KlineAnalyst ISeptember 9, 2010

Renfree had a big first week throwing two touchdowns in Duke's 41-27 victory over Elon.
Renfree had a big first week throwing two touchdowns in Duke's 41-27 victory over Elon.Jamie Squire/Getty Images

The ACC had an up and down first week of the season, but it generated plenty of positive headlines to go with the bad.

North Carolina held its own against all odds in Atlanta but lost. Virginia Tech fought back after a wretched start against Boise State but lost.

Everyone else won, and several players highlighted their teams' wins such as NC State's Russell Wilson, Florida State's Christian Ponder, and Boston College's Mark Herzlich.

Lost in the shuffle and helmet stickers given out by the likes of ESPN was the performance of Duke's Sean Renfree. Granted Duke played an FCS school that it was expected to beat, but Renfree's performance got scarcely a mention outside the local media in North Carolina.

The fact is that the Blue Devils won 41-27 over Elon, then No. 7 in the FCS, which made the 2009 playoffs and boast a pretty good quarterback in Scott Riddle.

Renfree posted 350 passing yards and two touchdowns, completing nearly 80 percent of his passes. That is good at any level.

Still, in most mainstream media outlets, Renfree was absent from any of the accolades given out for the week, which is to be expected with anything regarding Duke football.

Having to replace the school's all-time leading passer in Thaddeus Lewis is one challenge facing Renfree, but doing so while recovering both physically and mentally from a torn ACL is quite another.

While no one is saying that his comeback is even in the same ballpark as Herzlich's, it is still quite an accomplishment to put up quality numbers in your first ever start while wondering if your knee is going to hold up.

Duke has a long way to go to prove it belongs as a potential ACC contender and that probably won't even come in the next year, but they are competing and a player that puts up the numbers is worthy of a mention.

Renfree has the potential to be one the breakout stars you are least likely to hear of mainly because he plays at Duke. If he plays well this week at Wake Forest, he will get his shot playing on national television the following week against Alabama.

While Duke beating Alabama is about as likely as Marvin Alston forsaking his cell phone and Twitter, if Renfree puts up respectable numbers he might get the same attention UNC's T.J. Yates is getting right now after one great performance against LSU.

It remains to be seen after one game how Renfree will stack up, but he looks like the real deal. The only question is how long before anyone takes notice.