The ACC figures to be a wide-open race this fall with the departure of Jameis Winston and several key Florida State players, opening the door for someone else to win the conference. Winston has been the face of the conference for two years, and but here are the top candidates to replace him as the best player in the conference.
Watson started five games a true freshman, throwing for 1,466 yards and 14 touchdown passes with just two interceptions and completed 68% of this passes. He broke his hand against Louisville, and later sat out because of ACL surgery. All signs point to him being totally healthy in 2015, which is a scary proposition for opponents.
Thomas was named second-team All-ACC, starting all 14 games and leading the Jackets to an Orange Bowl win over Mississippi State. He mastered Paul Johnson's option attack and led the team in rushing with 1,086 yards and eight touchdowns while passing for 1,719 yards and 18 touchdowns. Georgia Tech finished the season 11-3, and many have them as a team to watch in the conference next season.
Many thought Conner would go pro after he finished seventh in the nation with 1,765 rushing yards and was third with 26 rushing touchdowns, but he decided to return. It's rare for the reigning ACC Player of the Year to not be favored to win it again, but he'll have to carry Pitt to a winning record to do it again.
Cook had one of the best seasons of any freshman in the country, rushing for 1,008 yards and eight touchdowns in 2014, while catching 22 passes for 203 yards out of the backfield. He shared carries with senior Karlos Williams, but will be the lone featured back in 2015 and will be the focal point of the offense.
Fuller received All-American honors and was named a first-team All-ACC performer. He was the shutdown corner for Virginia Tech's good defense, breaking up 15 passes, had two sacks, two interceptions and recovered a fumble.Back to the NCAA Newsfeed