ACC Quarterback Rankings Through Week 3: Russell Wilson Rises To The Top
It's now three weeks into the season and unlike the team rankings I can honestly say there is a clear leader at quarterback in my mind.
This conference has a plethora of talented quarterbacks and most of them will be battling throughout the season for the right to call themselves the best in the ACC.
With the non-conference schedule nearly over and the conference games beginning, it should start to heat up for both the quarterback and team rankings. There will be a few upsets within the conference and there may even be a quarterback who is a dark-horse to be a Heisman finalist.
Of course that is a long shot with the way the conference has taken a head first dive down the conference rankings, but anything can happen once conference play begins.
We may see a revolving door at the top spot of the quarterback rankings for the remainder of the season and I am all for it because it'll make for an interesting ending.
12. Tanner Price- Wake Forest
Ted Stachitas was slated as the starting quarterback at the beginning of the season. Since his early departure in the Duke game, Tanner Price has taken over.
In that game against Duke, Price completed 63 percent of his passes and tallied four total touchdowns (3 pass, 1 run). After his solid performance coming off the bench, he struggled against a much tougher opponent in Stanford.
They would lose that game 68-24, while he finished 8 for 18, 76 yards and one interception. He did manage to rush for 65 yards and one touchdown, but he will need to step it up with his arm if this offense wants to compete in the ACC.
11. Marc Verica- Virginia
Verica and his Cavaliers are coming off of a tough loss at USC. He showed his inexperience throughout the game with some poor decisions with his feet and on a few passes.
There were a few times that he had receivers wide open but just couldn't connect. I hate to say it but he was the sole difference in them winning and losing the game against USC.
This week against VMI will give him another chance to get his feet back underneath him before conference play.
So far this season he has thrown for 473 yards with two touchdowns and one interception.
10. Jamarr Robinson- Maryland
This kid has some potential but has yet to put everything together. He is quick with his feet and has a solid arm. His decision making at times can be costly but that is a sign of an inexperienced quarterback.
He had a solid game in the loss to West Virginia last week, throwing for 227 yards and two touchdowns.
His Terps will be battling a stingy FIU team this week. If he can somehow find that second gear, then they shouldn't have much of a problem picking about the Panther's defense.
9. Dave Shinskie- Boston College
Here is the key to BC's success, Dave Shinskie. I know Montel Harris is a solid running back but this team will only as far as Shinskie takes them.
In the opener against Weber State he started out very sluggish, throwing some early interceptions. He was able to bounce back with a decent game but not the type of game they will need to compete in the ACC.
They had this past weekend off, but when they played a tougher team in Kent State, he performed much better. It wasn't an off the charts performance but it was a smart efficient game. He completed 67 percent of his passes and had two touchdowns.
This week will be his toughest competition yet. Virginia Tech is going to bring a more confident team into Alumni Stadium and will surely test the arm and decision making of Shinskie. Having a solid game should keep his Eagles in the game for the most part but if they want to win he will need to step it up a notch.
8. Sean Renfree- Duke
When you think of a gunslinger, the first name that pops in your head surely isn't Sean Renfree. Well let me just tell you, this kid can sling the rock.
Grant it the first two games were against abysmal defense's in Elon and Wake Forest, but either way, he can throw the ball with some authority.
Again he is another one that displayed his lack of experience against Alabama last week. Personally, I think everyone makes mistakes and shows their inexperience when they play Alabama. That is a very stout defense and they know how to pressure you into making mistakes.
He struggled against that Alabama defense, only throwing for 144 yards with one touchdown and one interception.
This week he will be facing an easier defense from Army, but still will be a tough task at hand. If Duke has any chance of making a bowl game this year, they will need Renfree to carry them on his back all season.
7. Joshua Nesbitt- Georgia Tech
I already know the kind of flack I will be receiving from placing Nesbitt in the 7th spot.
There is no question that he is a dynamic on the ground, but in the air, it's almost like watching a plane crash. Yes, he threw for a little over 1,700 yards last season but he only had five touchdowns to go with ten interceptions.
This year so far his touchdown to interception ratio is 2:1. That's because he has only thrown two touchdowns and one interception.
When the offense is clicking, and that's when they are putting up gaudy numbers on the ground, his arm isn't needed. But when they struggle like they did against Kansas, they need him to make some big passes and he went 5 for 15 in that game.
I just feel that there are more complete quarterbacks ahead of him in the ACC, of course it's just an opinion but the stats don't lie either.
6. T.J. Yates- North Carolina
Here is a guy that you never heard anything about last season unless it was questioning his ability as a quarterback. Well through two games this season I think he's proven his ability, not only as a quarterback but also as a leader.
This team is going to face nothing but adversity all season, and Yates has stepped up big time even though both outcomes were a loss.
They have lost both games by the final score 30-24, but both opponents were pretty big favorites. LSU and Georgia Tech should have easily beaten UNC, considering all the distress this team have gone through. Instead, it was a battle all the way down to the wire in both games.
Even though they may not see many wins this season, you will never see Yates and his Tar Heels give up in any game.
5. Tryod Taylor- Virginia Tech
Tyrod Taylor or as I like to reefer to him, "Happy Feet Taylor," hasn't gotten off to the kind of start that most Hokie faithful had hoped for.
His team sits at 1-2, when most thought they could run the table this season and potentially be in the National Championship.
There is still hope for this team making it to a BCS Bowl game by winning the ACC title game. However, I have yet to see the type of play that will get them there. Taylor will be expected to step it up a notch entering conference play this weekend when they take on Boston College.
He will need to be smart with the ball whether he's putting it in the air or running with it. There is no doubting his athletic ability and the potential he has at the quarterback position, but with offensive line performing so poorly thus far, he hasn't been given a chance to step up to that next level. If his o-line can pick up their game, allowing them to run the ball more effectively, then it will give Taylor that extra boost of confidence he needs to turn this team around.
BC will be a tough challenge for the Hokies and Taylor will need to bring his "A" game if they want to win this ball game.
4. Kyle Parker- Clemson
What more can be said about the toughness of Kyle Parker. After taking a tough blow to the ribs against Auburn you could see him grimmest in pain. Nevertheless, he never came out and stuck right in there until the very end.
The outcome didn't come in his favor but he gained a lot of praise and respect by all college football fans after his gritty performance.
Clemson wasn't even sure if Parker would be coming back after he was selected by the Colorado Rockies with the 26th pick of the draft.
I can assure you one thing, these fans were ecstatic when he decided to come back and play his senior season.
He has good mechanics, a strong arm and is a leader on and off the field. If he continues with his consistent play, this Tigers team could very easily win the Atlantic division and even the ACC title.
Dabo Swinney even went the distance to say this about his quarterback. "Kyle is hands down the best quarterback I have ever worked with. His determination along with his leadership are remarkable and I wouldn't trade him for anyone."
Fortunately, he is getting an extra week to heel and prepare for a tough match-up against Miami on Oct. 2.
3. Jacory Harris- Miami
Oh boy, this is going to be a fun one. I know all those Miami fans are probably salivating at this, thinking there is no way Jacory Harris isn't the top quarterback in the ACC. They may be right, but I can't come to that conclusion with the way he's performed thus far.
I'm sure some people will even say that those four interceptions against Ohio State weren't his fault. They even may be correct there, but the fact of the matter is, he hasn't done anything to put himself at the top of this list.
He has a great arm, quick on his feet and has plenty of offensive weapons around him. So we know the potential of being a top-tier quarterback is there but we just haven't seen it yet this season.
It's hard to gauge just how good he will be this season with only playing two games, one was a flop while the other was against arguably the best team in the country.
There will be that golden opportunity again for him to showcase his talents on national television when his Hurricanes take on the Panthers of Pittsburgh Thursday night. If he lights up the Panthers defense then you can make his case as top dog in the ACC.
2. Christian Ponder- Florida State
Christian Ponder was an early Heisman hopeful but more than likely has no shot of becoming the winner after his poor performance against Oklahoma.
He still has what it takes to lead this team to the ACC Chamionship game and a potential BCS Bowl. The thing that this team has lacked all season has been consistency. That doesn't just fall on the shoulders of Ponder, but also the receivers and the defense.
He kind of got back to his old form against BYU last week, going 14 of 21 and tallying two total touchdowns (1 pass, 1 run). It took a while for the offense to start clicking but once the ground game took over, his arm wasn't needed as much.
His shoulder is still a concern to coaches even though he says it's 100 percent.
We will see just how good his shoulder is feeling when they take on Wake Forest this weekend. If he is healthy, then he should have no problem picking apart Wake Forest's god-awful defense.
1. Russell Wilson- N.C. State
I had a little bit of a disagreement when I was discussing with a friend of mine on who is the top quarterback in the ACC.
He was adamant about Christian Ponder being the best in the ACC, while I strongly feel Russell Wilson is the best right now and here is why.
Not only do his stats speak for themselves, but he has taken a middle of the pack team and turned them into contenders. He did struggle a bit on the road against UCF, but still managed to get the job done and help the Wolfpack pull off the win.
He has eight touchdown passes and no interceptions. Even though they have only played three games this season, Wilson just doesn't make mistakes. He has a canning ability to avoid the rush and a knack for finding the opening receiver in big play situations. Also, through his career he's molded into a tremendous leader and that has shown this season.
This weekend against Georgia Tech will give him a great chance to solidify himself as the top quarterback in the ACC. I'm expecting another big game out of Wilson, considering the Yellow Jackets defense has had their struggles this season.