We are about two months away from the start of the college football season. The ACC has underachieved on the national stage in recent years, but in 2012 anything could happen. The ACC is coming off a season in which quarterbacks ruled the league. The best news for the league is that all of those quarterbacks are returning. With all of these great players returning it is conceivable that one or more of these quarterbacks will be in the Heisman Trophy discussion this fall. The ACC’s three preseason Heisman hopefuls are Logan Thomas, Tajh Boyd and Mike Glennon.
Thomas had one of the best statistical seasons a Virginia Tech quarterback has ever had. He passed for over 3,000 yards, he completed 59.8% of his passes, threw 19 touchdowns and added another 11 on the ground. These stats are even more impressive considering it was Thomas’s first year as the Hokies’ starter.
His size and arm strength are his biggest assets but a completely new supporting cast could hold him back. Virginia Tech is replacing four of five starters on the offensive line, his two starting wide receivers and his All-American running back. If Thomas can progress this season then he will be firmly in the Heisman discussion.
Boyd took the nation by storm early last season. He almost immediately became a legitimate Heisman contender in September and October but he slowly left the national spotlight down the stretch of 2011 (the Orange Bowl embarrassment certainly didn’t help). If you examine his season with Clemson from a win-loss standpoint it was a success, but if you look at it statistically it was a spectacular one.
He passed for 3,828 yards, completed 59.7% of his passes and threw 33 touchdown passes to only 12 interceptions. Boyd doesn’t have the same upheaval around him as Logan Thomas. However, he is losing one of his big weapons in Tight End Dwayne Allen who left school early for the draft. The best possible news for Boyd is that Sammy Watkins is returning as his top threat at the receiver position.
Glennon might be the best pure passer on this list. He was a highly touted recruit coming out of high school and he showed why during his first season as a starter for the Wolfpack. Glennon had the best completion percentage of anyone on this list at 62.5%. He also passed for 3054 yards and 31 touchdowns to just 12 interceptions.
He may very well be the best quarterback NC State has had since Philip Rivers in the early 2000’s (Russell Wilson who?). If Glennon continues to grow as a quarterback he could easily force his way into the Heisman discussion in 2012.
Other players to watch: FSU QB E.J. Manuel, Clemson WR Sammy Watkins