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ACC Backfield Rankings

By Southern Pigskin Staff
SouthernPigskin.com
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Southern Pigskin's ranking of the top five ACC backfields for 2018.

1. Florida State: The Seminoles may have the best running back tandem in all of college football in Cam Akers and Jacquez Patrick. Akers set a program record with 1,025 rushing yards as a true freshman, while Patrick has 16 career rushing touchdowns. Also, former five-star Khalan Laborn had 140 yards in the FSU spring game. Willie Taggart has two talented quarterbacks with a full year's worth of starting experience on their respective resumes in Deondre Francois and James Blackman. Francois threw for 20 scores in 2017, while Blackman threw for 19 in Francois' stead last fall. Competition for the number one spot under center will continue into fall camp and, perhaps, the season.

2. Clemson: There are notable options at quarterback where the Tigers have proven veteran Kelly Bryant and heralded true freshman Trevor Lawrence. All Bryant did a season ago was set a program mark for wins by a first-year starter, a run which included victories over six nationally-ranked teams, while Lawrence broke Deshaun Watson's Georgia prep passing records. The dynamic running back duo of Travis Etienne, 7.16 yards per carry, and Tavien Feaster, 6.25 yards per carry, combined for 20 rushing touchdowns in 2017. Etienne was the only power five underclassman running back in the country with a minimum of 700 rushing yards at seven yards per carry with double-digit rushing scores.

3. Georgia Tech: Quarterback TaQuon Marshall and B-back KirVonte Benson both rushed for over 1,000 yards this past year in the Yellow Jackets' vaunted triple-option attack. Marshall, in his first season under center, ran for 17 touchdowns and threw for ten more. He sprinted for 249 yards and five scores, adding 120 yards through the air, in his first-ever start. The versatile Clinton Lynch has remarkable career averages of 9.6 yards per rush and 26.7 yards per catch. In all, Georgia Tech returns its top six ground producers to an offense that paced the ACC with 307.4 yards per game last fall.

4. Miami: Running back Travis Homer had six games with at least 95 yards rushing in 2017, paving the way in key wins over the likes of Georgia Tech and Notre Dame. He leads a playmaking running back rotation that includes the multi-faceted Deejay Dallas and incoming track speedster Lorenzo Lingard. Veteran quarterback Malik Rosier is the ACC's returning leader with 26 passing touchdowns. After some efficiency and turnover struggles late in the year, he will look for a return to his September and October form. Hopes are high for freshman passer N'Kosi Perry.

5. NC State: Senior signal caller Ryan Finley is one of the best in college football. The former Boise State-transfer opened 2017 with eleven passing touchdowns and zero interceptions. Among other performances, Finley threw for 415 yards against South Carolina, 367 yards versus Louisville and 338 yards against Clemson. His last outing, a 52-31 Sun Bowl triumph over Arizona State, saw Finley complete 24-of-29 passes for 318 yards and a score. Running back Reggie Gallaspy has 13 rushing touchdowns on his resume and moves to the top of the depth chart.