Whole Nine Sports

Five ACC Players That I’m Most Excited to Watch This Year

Zach Szklenski
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Despite having a reputation for being a weaker conference than the B1G or SEC, the ACC is home to some highly intriguing players that are projected to be high picks in the 2021 NFL Draft. There are a lot of guys to easily get excited about when watching a weekend of ACC football; however, these five players are really intriguing, and I couldn’t be more excited to watch them play this upcoming season.

Clemson QB, Trevor Lawrence

It would be totally wrong and ignorant to not include Trevor Lawrence within this handful of guys, and I can’t say that I’m not still excited to watch Lawrence going into his junior campaign. Trevor Lawrence took the college football landscape by storm in his true freshman season in 2018 with Clemson while throwing for 3,280 yards, 30 touchdowns with only four picks, and a passer rating of 157.6, which culminated in a College Football Playoff National Championship win over Alabama; and he didn’t even have the full reigns of the team until week five after being named the full-time starter following an intense battle with former Clemson quarterback Kelly Bryant for the first third of the season. In 2019, while he did post a CFP National Championship berth with more passing yards, passing touchdowns, rushing yards, and rushing touchdowns with 3,655 yards passing with 36 touchdowns and 563 yards rushing with nine touchdowns, he also doubled the amount of interceptions thrown, with eight. Even though Lawrence’s number of picks thrown soared in 2019, through four CFP games he has, surprisingly, thrown zero interceptions to eight passing touchdowns, which is a testament to how well he performs when the lights are brightest. In 2019, Lawrence’s decision making did look a little off compared to his true freshman season. He looked unsure where to go with the ball at times and panicked when seeing a contrast between the pre and post-snap looks. Overall, despite his slightly worse 2019 film, I fully expect a complete bounce-back in 2020 in his junior season because I firmly believe this guy has it all to be an elite quarterback at the next level between his size, arm talent, leadership skills, and athleticism, among many other things, and I am very excited to see what other jaw-dropping plays he will make in 2020.

Clemson RB, Travis Etienne

Travis Etienne shocked everyone at the end of the 2019 season when he announced that he would return to Clemson for his senior season. He was rated very highly as a consensus late-1st to 2nd round draft pick by most scouts and GM’s, and he could’ve even been the first running back drafted in 2020. He elected to stay because things didn’t go as he’d hoped at the end of the season due to losing to LSU in the CFP National Championship game and his love for his Clemson and teammates and Clemson as a whole. Besides the matter, I can’t wait to watch him for yet another season. Etienne in both his sophomore and junior seasons rushed for a mind-boggling 1,600+ yards and at least 19 touchdowns! He has been one of the most prolific backs in all of college football throughout his entire college career with 4,605 yards from scrimmage, an 8.1 avg. yard/touch. Etienne is the best back, I believe, in college football currently, and I agree that he would’ve been the first back taken in the 2020 draft, and I’m sure he will be the first one taken in 2021. What he puts on tape is just as aweing as what he puts on the stat sheet, his pure superb running ability alone is astonishing, but add that with his blazing speed, elusiveness, explosiveness, vision, and proficient hands, he’s quite a special talent. Overall, I can’t wait to see what he does this year, especially because he is on a mission to help Clemson win another yet another national title.

Pittsburgh S, Paris Ford

Paris Ford is my favorite player to watch on the defensive side of the ball in the ACC, and he’s a guy that I can’t wait to watch more of in 2020. First off, let me start by saying that when I watch Paris Ford play the safety position, it’s like I am watching Jamal Adams in a Pitt Panthers’ uniform, except this Jamal Adams is 23 lbs. lighter and an inch shorter at 6ft. 190 lbs. Every Saturday, this guy brings the boom. Ford has great instincts and is as hard a hitter, absolute punisher as they come from the defensive back position. He is all over the place, and he consistently stuffs the run with ease. Additionally, he’s got great ball skills and excels in reading the quarterback’s eyes. In 2019, Ford had 60 solo tackles, 37 assist tackles, 3 forced fumbles, and 3 interceptions (one of them being a pick-six), and 11 passes defended. The Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania native is a very intriguing prospect overall, and I can’t wait to watch every snap he plays in 2020.

FSU WR, Tamorrion Terry

Tamorrion Terry is a big-bodied 6’4” 210 lbs., former 2017 class 3 star recruit out of Ashburn, Georgia. The junior going into his fourth year could’ve gone into the NFL draft this past spring, but he elected to come back to the Seminoles for one more year. Terry is a receiver that can, quite frankly, do it all. He is a major deep threat receiver that can use his big body and strong hands to make tough catches in traffic, as well. He consistently gets behind the defense. Even if you put a safety on his side of the field. And once he does, he can score easily with his speedy long strides. Tamorrion Terry had a breakout year in 2019, while nearly doubling his receptions with 60, having over 1,000 yards with 1,188, and nine touchdowns. To further demonstrate his deep threat ability, Terry averaged nearly 20 yards a catch at 19.8. Overall, Tamorrion Terry is as scary as they come, and we may have another “Scary Terry” roaming the NFL after the 2021 NFL Draft.

Louisville WR, Chatarius “Tutu” Atwell

Coming in at 5’9”, 165 lbs., Tutu Atwell is among the best home run hitters, most dynamic players in all of college football. You’ve got to be on your game at all times with this guy. Because if you’re not, he’ll go right by you in the blink of an eye. Atwell is a prospect that has drawn national attention after a stellar sophomore season that saw him catch 70 balls for 1,276 yards, for an average of 18.2 yards, and 12 touchdowns. Atwell is someone that you certainly don’t want to be in a foot race with, because he’s got absolutely blazing speed. His hips are so fluid, and he can change direction on a dime. Another thing that stands out about Atwell is that he can beat you vertically down the field, and he can also beat you on more of lateral plays such as jet sweeps and pop passes. Chatarius “Tutu” Atwell is a player that is going to have NFL General Managers pounding the table for him come the spring of 2021.