2014 ACC Quarterback Breakdown: Atlantic Division

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

In the Atlantic Division Famous Jameis and his Seminoles have shown they are king. Who poses the biggest threat to his throne? Chad Kelly seemed to be coming hard after the starting spot at Clemson until he was dismissed from the team. Will Cole Stoudt be able to keep the Tigers competitive? How much of a threat is freshman sensation Deshaun Watson? All these questionsl and more will be answered.

Atlantic

he Atlantic loses Chase Rettig, Tajh Boyd, and Tanner Price who had what felt like a combined 36 years playing in the ACC (No doubt a record) as well as never-actually-an-ACC-QB Theodore Bridgewater and who-exactly-are-they Brandon Mitchell and Pete Thomas. One QB you may have never heard of, Jameis Winston, returns as FSU's starter much to the dismay of any team they have to play, while it appears Terrel Hunt should return as starter at Syracuse after a strong second half of the season (by Syracuse standards)

Let's take a little peek into how these teams are faring.

Boston College

No longer are the days of Chase Rettig as a Boston College Eagle. Rettig started the past 3 seasons for the Eagles after beating out Dave Shinskie his freshman year. While his future in the NFL is indeed questionable, the consistency at the Quarterback position will surely be missed in Chestnut Hill

Now on to the future. The first name that you will hear when it comes to who will be slinging the ball in Boston next season is Tyler Murphy. Yep, that Tyler Murphy, former Florida Gator Tyler Murphy.

Murphy, a Florida transfer, is immediately available to play as he has already graduated from Florida and will be spending his fifth and final year of eligibility with Addazio's Eagles. It also just so happens that Murphy was recruited to Florida by none other than. Yep. Steve Addazio.

While the Eagles do have a number of options at Quarterback, this ‘competition' seems pretty cut and dry and barring a disastrous offseason for Murphy or an awe-inspiring offseason by one of the Eagles other QB options I would expect Murphy to be the week 1 starter when the Eagles take on UMass.

Where do the Eagles rank?

The Eagles sure lose a lot of big names from the 2013 team. They lose Chase Rettig, of course.  Andre "Andre2k" Williams, best known for putting BC in the headlines this season with his near Heisman-worthy season racking up 2,177 yards on the ground for the eagles, is headed to the Draft. Then, the Eagles' all-time receiving leader Alex Amidon, who appeared poised and ready for the NFL, is reportedly giving up football to pursue becoming a US Navy Seal.

Tyler Murphy sure has an upside to him but it seems that losing two of the Eagles biggest weapons in the past decade that he will have his work cut out for him. Murphy is not much more than a stopgap for the Eagles as they prepare some of their younger talent for the 2015 season. For this reason, his dual threat abilities are an advantage to help him mask some of the issues that arise with a QB new to a system and a lack of other offensive weapons. It's hard to really know what to expect from a Boston College team. They seem to give us a tough game no matter what the talent gap is but then lose to bottom feeder teams

Clemson

REJOICE! Tajh Boyd is gone! The Hokies never seemed figured out a way to stop Ol' Boyd and now we don't have to. The question is, who will step in to fill some rather large orange and white shoes in 2014. There were three names that Hokie fans needed to know. That is, until Chad "Swag" Kelly (nephew of the great Jim Kelly) was dismissed from the team on Monday. Now, in the midst all of this hullabaloo, Dabo has announced that Cole Stoudt the starter. The third name to know, of course, is hot shot freshman Quarterback Deshaun Watson who has recently suffered a collarbone injury that knocked him out of the Tigers' April 12th Spring Game.

Where does Cole Stoudt rank?

Cole Stoudt, a senior, came to Clemson as a 3 star Pro-style Quarterback, by 247Sports, in the 2011 class. Stoudt checks in at 6' 5", 210 lbs and has drawn great praise from Dabo for his leadership and deceptive athleticism.

Stoudt posted the best Quarterback performance in Clemson's spring game, going 15/23 for 158 yards and 2 first half touchdowns. While not posting any special or staggering stats, Stoudt posted a 65% completion percentage and showed great poise throughout the game. He especially showed poise in his two touchdown drives. The first touchdown came on a simple quick touch pass over a blitzing corner. A short, simple pass, what was most impressive in how he stood tall in the pocket, recognized the defense and went exactly where he needed to right away. Stoudt's second touchdown was more difficult, hitting Jordan Leggett in the far side of the end zone with a perfectly thrown ball. Equally impressive was the decision he made on the previous play, throwing the ball away as he rolled to his left and was quickly greeted by the Clemson defense. Outside of these highlights, Stoudt's spring game was rather workmanlike. He showed above average accuracy and demonstrated great poise in the pocket as you would expect from a Senior QB. Unfortunately, there was limited contact so it was hard to get a feel for his athleticism when he would pull it down and take off but Stoudt seemed to move fluidly when he needed to

From what I've seen of Stoudt and the advantage of playing behind Tajh Boyd for all of these years, I expect Stoudt to be one of the better ‘new' quarterbacks this season. Of course, Tigers fans should expect a drop off from Boyd but you would have to be delusional not to expect that and while I do expect Stoudt to be the day one starter I would not be terribly surprised to continue to hear noise about Deshaun Watson leading up to the fall..

Florida State

Heisman Winner Jameis Winston

Ranking

On a scale of 1 - Jameis, he is a Jameis.

Jameis_medium

Louisville

ACC newcomer Louisville will make their transition to the new conference without their star QB Theodore Bridgewater and Head Coach Charles Strong, who left the program to become Texas's new Head Coach. Robert Petrino (Yes, I'm sticking with the full name thing) takes back over the program, the same program that he left stunned when he bolted for the NFL 5 months after signing a contract extension and making a statement that he was there to stay. Petrino, known for his high flying offenses, will have his work cut out for him replacing Mr. Bridgewater

The current name at the top of the list? Will Gardner.

I don't think I'm making a big leap to say that Gardner is the name that most people should think of for the starting spot for the Cardinals. Why? Well he completed 32 of 37 for 542 yards and four touchdowns in Louisville's spring game. That is pretty much exactly what I would expect from a Petrino QB in a spring game and it seems that Petrino agrees. On top of that, you have to root for the guy, he suffered a nasty ACL tear his senior season causing him to miss almost his entire senior year, then reinjuring the same knee when he got to Louisville. Senior Brett Nelson and redshirt freshman Kyle Bolin have also taken part in the competition this spring, but listen to Papa Drunken Gobbler when he tells you, barring another ACL tear or some other catastrophic event, Gardner will be the starter for the Cards moving forward.

So...

Yes, now that it seems obvious who the Cardinals will be starting under center, it's time to evaluate where they stand. Since the start of spring ball it has seemed that Gardner has been consistently showing he deserves the job. With a new coach and a new system there will be some adjustment but Petrino's system is one in which a Quarterback can put up very big numbers very easily. As tough as a task as it is to replace a player like Theodore Bridgewater, it seems that Gardner is up to the task. I would expect Gardner to be one of the better new ACC QBs this season.

NC State

NC State may be one of the clearest QB Situations in the Atlantic. The name to know is Jacoby Brissett, another transfer from the Florida Gators program. After Pete Thomas graduated and Brandon Mitchell transferred from the program the Wolfpack turn to Brissett to take the helm. The Wolfpack were in the rare occasion where they knew their starter at the beginning of spring ball allowing him to get as many reps with the 1st teamers as possible. He had a heck of a spring game going 24/37 for 365, a pair of TDs and an INT.

Where does Brissett put the Wolfpack in the Atlantic?

It sure seems that NC State will be one of the few teams that will be upgrading their Quarterback situation this offseason. Brissett shows a lot of promise and a good control of the offense. He also neither fits the mold of a pure drop back passer or one that is looking to run whenever possible. Brissett will drop back and pass for 66% as he did in the spring game but if the need arises he has the feet to escape a rush and make something happen with his feet. I like Brissett and while I don't expect much out of the Wolfpack I do know that it won't be Brissett that is the limiting factor for this team.

Syracuse

Syracuse is one of the few teams that has an established starter in the enter ACC. Terrel Hunt, a redshirt Junior, won the starting QB battle last spring but didn't become the true starter until week 4 and started the remainder of the season. He finished the 2013 season with 1638 yards while completing 61.2%. He threw for 10 TDs through the air with 8 INTs, while adding 500 yards and 7 TDs on the ground. If Hokies fans want an easy Coastal comparison, he is similar to a Marquise Williams of UNC but with less weapons in the passing game.

Ranking

I am not high on this Syracuse team, their 7-6 record last season was a testament to the schedule that they played, losing to any decent team they played and securing their best win the final week of the season against BC. I expect Hunt to improve slightly in his second year but he simply does not have the weapons around him needed to be a big time ACC QB. If he can develop into a more prolific pocket passer then all the more power to him but I simply do not see it happening. His athletic ability will be able to mask some of the deficiencies in the Orange offense. Their 2014 schedule is daunting and if they don't pick up wins against their first 3 opponents (Villanova, Central Michigan, and Maryland) then there aren't many wins left on the schedule. Godspeed Syracuse.

Wake Forest

Tanner Price is gone and longtime Head Coach Jim Grobe resigned. In comes Dave Clawson to take over the team and he is without a Quarterback. Honestly, he is without many options at Quarterback as well. The two main competitors for the job are Tyler Cameron and Kevin Sousa, along with Travis Smith who will be arriving in the summer. The Demon Deacons are thin at QB, to say the very least. This spot is completely up for grabs as of right now and I'm going to let Coach Clawson make this decision, trying to pick the lesser of two evils. Long story short, Wake Forest does not have any good options at Quarterback this season and I would not expect much from this Demon Deacons team in 2014.

So how good will Wake Forest be in 2014?

Not good, not good at all.

Thank you all for reading. You can check me out on Twitter @DrunkenGobbler or checking out my site www.DrunkenGobbler.com. Make it out to the Spring Game on April 26th and see who you think should be the Hokies QB in 2014.

Enjoy.

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