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2021 ACC Coastal Predictions

By Southern Pigskin Staff
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Picks for 2021 in the ACC Coastal.

A summer look at the upcoming fall in the ACC Coastal.

1. North Carolina -- Quarterback Sam Howell, just now an upperclassman, is as good as it gets with 68 passing touchdowns through two years. Though key playmakers must be replaced, all five starters return along the offensive line. The Tar Heels also added former Tennessee running back Ty Chandler in the backfield. Linebacker Tomon Fox leads a veteran defense. There are playmakers in the secondary like safety Trey Morrison and cornerback Storm Duck.  

2. Miami -- There is a lot to like offensively with star quarterback D'Eriq King, running back Cam'Ron Harris, tight end Will Mallory, receivers Mike Harley and Charleston Rambo, in from Oklahoma, and tackle Zion Nelson giving the Hurricanes a very good group. Defensively, tackle Nesta Jade Silvera and safety Bubba Bolden lead the way. King's health, recovering from a torn ACL at the end of last season, will obviously be important. 

3. Pittsburgh -- The next game quarterback Kenny Pickett plays in will be his 40th, making him one of the most experienced signal callers in the country. Though plenty of production must be replaced from a defense that tied for the national lead in sacks and paced college football in tackles for loss a year ago, the unit still brings back linebackers SirVocea Dennis and Cam Bright and edge John Morgan III.  

4. Virginia Tech --Eight starters return defensively for the Hokies, most notably edge Amare Barno, who leads all returning defensive lineman nationally with 16 tackles for loss from last season. Braxton Burmeister takes over at quarterback and there are proven playmakers back on the perimeter in receivers Treyvion Robinson and Tre' Turner to go along with tight end James Mitchell. 

5. Georgia Tech -- The process continues for Geoff Collins. Running backs Jahmyr Gibbs, Jordan Mason and Jamious Griffin give the Yellow Jackets one of the top rotations in the game. After a promising true freshman season, talented quarterback Jeff Sims is ready for the next step. There is a lot to like in the secondary, where veteran safety Tariq Carpenter returns alongside Juanyeh Thomas.

6. Virginia -- Brennan Armstrong was a versatile quarterback this past season, throwing for 18 scores and running for five more, and brings some playmaking ability to the position. He, running back Wayne Taulapapa, receiver Bill Kemp IV and four returning starters up front give the Cavaliers potential balance offensively. Linebacker Nick Jackson, 105 total tackles in 2020, is one of the best in the ACC.

7. Duke -- Running back Mataeo Durant topped the 100-yard mark in four of his last seven games. Durant averaged over 6.8 yards per carry. With questions at quarterback, he will be the clear offensive focal point. There is a lot to replace along the defensive line, especially on the edge. Linebacker Shaka Heyward is an active defender. Charlie Ham had a standout freshman season at kicker.