May 24, 2013

ACC Coastal Offensive Names To Know

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Each year, players emerge on teams to become household names. For Virginia Tech last year, it was cornerback Antone Exum. Who will it be for other teams in the ACC in 2013? Let's try and figure that out.

Virginia - Quarterback David Watford

Watford has played sparingly over the last two seasons in Charlottesville, thanks to a glut of quarterbacks that created a revolving door at the position. However, this spring the dual-threat redshirt sophomore from Hampton was elevated to the top spot on the depth chart for most of the spring and enters the fall as the likely starter. He redshirted last year after completing 30 of 74 passes as a true freshman in 2011, but look for him to put up some decent numbers as the starter for Mike London and Bill Lazor.

Georgia Tech - Quarterback Vad Lee

Because of the uniqueness of the Georgia Tech offense, whoever is playing quarterback is usually a widely known name despite how little they actually throw the ball around. Lee takes over this fall for Tevin Washington and will be counted on to lead Paul Johnson's offense in what could be a decisive year for Johnson in Atlanta. Georgia Tech went a very mediocre 7-7 in 2012, which means the pressure will be on in 2013 to contend for an ACC Championship.

Duke - Wide Receiver Jamison Crowder

Conner Vernon, one of the most accomplished wideouts in ACC history, finally graduated after last season, meaning the Blue Devils need to fill a large void at receiver. One of the candidates to fill Vernon's shoes is Crowder, a junior who increased his production from 11 catches for 163 yards and a touchdown in 2011 to 76 catches for 1074 yards and eight touchdowns. Crowder had five games in which he hauled in over 100 receiving yards in 2012, including an eight-catch 203-yard performance against Miami. Based on his numbers last year, he should already be a household name.

North Carolina - Running Back Romar Morris

Morris, a sophomore, is currently slated to split duties with A.J. Blue in Chapel Hill next season. However, Blue isn't a natural running back and hasn't proven that he can be an effective every down back yet. Meanwhile, Morris is a natural running back who impressed during spring practice. With Giovanni Bernard leaving plenty of carries to be had, look for Morris to get more and more reps and the season progresses and eventually establish himself as the workhorse for the Heels.

Miami - Wide Receiver Herb Waters

Waters played sparingly last season as a freshman, hauling in 10 receptions for 227 yards and two touchdowns. This spring, he established himself as a starter at receiver for the 'Canes and could see a jump in production much like Crowder saw last year at Duke. Quarterback Stephen Morris returns under center, so the 'Canes should have a pretty successful air attack next season.

Pittsburgh - Quarterback Tom Savage

In Pittsburgh's first season in the ACC, fans will have to get to know virtually the entire roster. Savage, a former heralded recruit who transferred from Rutgers and Arizona already, is a 6 foot 5 inch gunslinger that, if he gains confidence, could lead the Panthers to a surprise first season in the ACC. The Panthers don't have the punishing ground game they used to crush the Hokies last year, so they will have to rely on Savage to move the chains offensively.

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