For Part I of this series, head here…
The next eight quarterbacks are the ones that have potential, but for one reason or another are unlikely to shine as brightly as the first seven. Keep in mind that this might be the Golden Era for QBs in the ACC, as there are some talented prospects. When you rate Chase Rettig in the second half of the rankings, you know the depth at QB is stacked. But most of the next eight are unproven commodities, who could either blow up or absolutely flounder. So without further ado…
8.) Chase Rettig, Boston College (Senior)
Rettig may have thrown for 3,055 yards last year and 17 TDs, but he only won two games. (one of them against Maryland). Any time your QB struggles against Army (or any two-win team for that matter) you have to take a step back and wonder if this is the guy you want leading you into the future.
That’s the sad part, because Rettig isn’t even really that bad; his team is terrible. Rettig gets sacked all the time, but he also holds onto the ball a little too much and can’t scramble well. His offensive coordinator, Doug Martin, got bounced in the offseason and they have decided to change the offense up. That means Rettig is going to be learning a new scheme (that isn’t stat-friendly, as it’s grounded in establishing the run) his senior year, which as I just explained in the case of Tanner Price, will hurt his production.
9.) Antony Boone, Duke (Junior)
I like Anthony Boone, a lot actually. Enough that I have a feeling after the first few weeks Boone will shoot up these lists. He has a big arm and played relatively well in the few games he saw a lot of action. One of those was last year against UVA, where he threw for four touchdowns and ran for 41 yards. David Cutlcliffe knows how to get the most out of quarterbacks, and that system will work just fine for Boone to come in seamlessly. That still doesn’t make Duke great, and it still doesn’t make Boone a top five passer — especially given that he loses one of the best receivers to ever play in the ACC (Conner Vernon).
10.) C.J. Brown, Maryland (Junior)
Amazingly, CJ Brown might be the tenth best quarterback in the ACC. I realize that’s not saying much, but of the rest of the candidates, Brown seems like the most viable option to round out the top ten. Brown hasn’t seen in-game action since 2011, and he’s suffered multiple injuries since then, but it appears he is completely healthy now.
If he is in fact ready to lead, the same guy who had 574 yards on the ground, showing off blazing speed with his legs and a big time arm, could be a good player. Could. Could. Could. Because with most of these next few candidates, it’s all hypothetical at this point. Brown was never a great passer, but if he has his legs back that might not matter as much.
I rank him in the top ten because he has Stefon Diggs, Deon Long, and Marcus Leak. Those three are going to make a mediocre quarterback look very, very good. They might have a same effect on Brown, who couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn the last time he played football.
11.) Tom Savage, Pittsburgh (Senior)
Savage is another one of those guys who you could either become a very good passer for Pittsburgh, or end up on the bench in favor of a young upstart the next snap. Savage transferred over from Rutgers (pre-implosion), so at least we know he’s smart. But he started as a freshman and was the team MVP by throwing 14 touchdowns to only seven INTs. His sophomore year be imploded though, so that’s not good.
Paul Chryst, the former offensive coordinator of Wisconsin, might be able to get some goodness out of Savage, who has the arm to make any throw. But he couldn’t get that out of Danny O’Brien, who was probably a better passer than Savage, and now he has more on his plate. I’m not sure what Savage has in store (but if his spring game told us anything, it’s that he isn’t great), but it’s bound to be interesting. If not, he’ll just find himself on the bench.
12.) Pete Thomas, NC State (Junior)
Pete Thomas could either be really good, or really bad. He’s a pro-style quarterback playing in a no-huddle spread offense that new head coach Dave Doeren installed. He hasn’t played in awhile, and looked rusty at the Wolfpack’s spring game. But he’s on Mel Kiper’s list of potential NFL quarterbacks, in part from his play as a two-year starter for the miserable CoLOLrado State Rams.
He could potentially be a whole lot better on this list, because the Wolfpack have a lot of good options, and their team can make a QB better than he really is. If that’s the case, he’ll fill Glennon’s departed shoes just fine.
13.) Drew Allen, Syracuse (Senior)
Drew Allen is probably going to produce stats because he plays in the Syracuse offense that wants to throw the ball more or less every play. It’s hard to say what you’re going to get out of Allen, who has never started a college game. If watching quality football counted for anything, he’d be an incredibly elite prospect after watching Landry Jones tear up the Big 12 his whole career at Oklahoma.
Unfortunately, career understudies in college tend to have middling results, and middling in the ACC usually means bad. So yes, Drew Allen will probably have some major issues if he gets the ball on day one.
14.) David Watford, Virginia (Sophomore)
Watford might end higher on the list as well. Watford is the next quarterback in line out of Hampton, Va., the area that produced Tyrod Taylor, Michael and Marcus Vick, and E.J. Manuel. Is he going to be like any of those guys? Maybe, but probably not. Watford might not even play if he can’t beat out the likes of Phillip Sims and Greyson Lambert, neither of which are very good.
And if you’re not playing well enough to beat those two out, then you’re probably not going to play well in the ACC. So you get last in my rankings.