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ACC Quarterback Rankings

By BJ Bennett
SouthernPigskin.com
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There is considerable turnover outside of Lamar Jackson, though a new crop of talented players appear ready for a big next step.

Looking at the ACC's quarterback situation for this fall, Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson is back as one of the game's absolute superstars. Many of his high-profile positional peers, however, have moved on. Gone are five conference signal callers who threw at least 27 touchdown passes last year: Deshaun Watson (41), Mitch Trubisky (30), Jerod Evans (29), Brad Kaaya (27) and Nathan Peterman (27), not to mention Justin Thomas and his 62 career scores. Watson leaves with a national championship ring, while Trubisky was just the number two overall pick in the NFL Draft.

There is considerable turnover league-wide under center, though a new crop of talented players appear ready for a big next step. 

ACC Quarterback Rankings
1. Lamar Jackson, Louisville -- The reigning winner of college football's most prestigious individual honor, Jackson did it all a season ago, becoming the first quarterback in FBS history to top 3,300 passing yards and 1,500 rushing yards, scoring 51 total touchdowns along the way. Remarkably, he scored eight times in the first half of the Cardinals' first game. Jackson was at his absolute best against the likes of division rivals Florida State and Clemson in 2016. This fall, he will look to become just second player ever to win the Heisman Trophy twice.

2. Deondre Francois, Florida State -- Francois showed tremendous poise as a freshman for the Seminoles, helping Florida State to comeback wins over the likes of Ole Miss, Miami and Michigan and, very nearly, North Carolina and Clemson. He finished with 20 touchdown passes compared to just seven interceptions, also adding five rushing scores. Even as a young player, Francois emerged as a key leader for the 'Noles. 

3. Eric Dungey, Syracuse -- Dino Babers' offensive scheme relies on having an accurate, active quarterback; that Dungey certainly is. In his first game of the year, Dungey was 34-of-40 for 355 yards and two touchdowns against Colgate. In his final full outing before being injured, he completed 32-of-38 passes for 434 yards and three scores versus Boston College. Expect big numbers for both Dungey and the Orange this fall.   

4. Daniel Jones, Duke -- After an injury to starter Thomas Sirk, Jones burst onto the scene with one of the most prolific freshman seasons in program history: 2,836 passing yards, 16 passing touchdowns, 486 rushing yards, seven rushing scores. He, perhaps most notably, led the Blue Devils to an upset win at Notre Dame in late September. Jones threw ten touchdowns and just one interception over the final seven games of the year.

5. Ryan Finley, North Carolina State -- Finley topped 3,000 yards and 60% passing for the Wolfpack in 2016. A Boise State-transfer, Finley set a new program mark for most attempts by a starter, with 139, before throwing an interception. He was excellent, recording 235 yards and three touchdowns, in a 41-17 Independence Bowl win over Vanderbilt. 

Rising Star: Matthew Jordan, Georgia Tech -- The presumptive next-in-line to Justin Thomas, Jordan played in nine games last season and scored in five of them. He started at nationally-ranked Virginia Tech, leading the Yellow Jackets to a 30-20 win with 121 yards rushing. A physical runner, Jordan is more similar, stylistically, to a player like Joshua Nesbitt. 

Newcomer to Watch: Max Browne, Pittsburgh -- Southern Cal's starting quarterback early last season, Browne comes east having played in 18 career games with the Trojans. A former five-star recruit at 6'5'', 230 pounds, Browne will step center stage into a reconfigured offense for the Panthers. His predecessor, Nate Peterman, had impressive post-transfer success.

BJ Bennett - B.J. Bennett is SouthernPigskin.com's founder and publisher. He is the co-host of "Three & Out" with Kevin Thomas and Ben Troupe on the "Southern Pigskin Radio Network". Email: bj@espncoastal.com / Twitter: @BJBennettSports