Skip to main content

ACC Wild Card Players in 2017

Qadree Ollison

Qadree Ollison

It is true that Clemson won the national title in large part because of their stars. Deshaun Watson and Mike Williams and Ben Boulware were big producers as well as being leaders for the Tigers.

Image placeholder title

But it is very rare for a player to arrive at a school as a star and live up to the hype immediately. More often there is a development period before these players become household names.

Here are two wild card players from each ACC program that could blossom in 2017 and play a large part in determining their team's success.

ACC Atlantic

Boston College Eagles

Offense: Darius Wade, Quarterback

Image placeholder title

It is the position where Boston College has struggled the most over the past few years. Wade will be challenged by redshirt freshman Anthony Brown, but the junior will probably start and be the key to improving the Eagles’ offense.

Defense: Lukas Dennis, Defensive Back

A junior from Everett, Mass., Dennis is capable of playing multiple positions in the secondary. That alone makes him a valuable commodity, but a strong spring put him in position to be a starter at safety when the season opens.

Clemson Tigers

Offense: Hunter Johnson, Quarterback

College Football Top 25 Rankings: Clemson

The true freshman will not enter camp as the starter, but he will get an opportunity to win the job. The highest rated prep quarterback on the Clemson roster, Johnson better make hay right away with Trevor Lawrence – a quarterback with even more high school hype – coming in next year.

Defense: Trayvon Mullen, Cornerback

Mullen is long and athletic, possessing the physical attributes needed at his position. With Cordrea Tankersley at the next level, Mullen has a chance to be the next great Clemson cornerback.

Florida State Seminoles

Offense: George Campbell, Wide Receiver

College Football Top 25 Rankings: FSU

Campbell came to Florida State as a five-star recruit but has done little so far, mostly due to injuries. He’s an athletic, big-bodied receiver that can change the complexion of the Seminoles’ offense if he can stay on the field.

Defense: Brian Burns, Defensive End

The Noles need to replace DeMarcus Walker at defensive end and the sophomore from Fort Lauderdale could be that guy. He needs to add some size and strength in order to hold up against the run, but he has sensational pass-rushing skills.

Louisville Cardinals

Offense: Seth Dawkins, Wide Receiver

College Football Top 25: Louisville

Much of the talent that surrounded quarterback Lamar Jackson in 2016 is no longer around and the Heisman winner needs some playmakers to emerge. One of those guys is Dawkins, a sophomore that had a big spring.

Defense: Trevon Young, Linebacker

Young had 8.5 sacks as a junior but missed all of 2016 following a hip injury in the 2015 Music City Bowl. If Young returns to form, he is a difference-maker for the Cardinals’ defense.

NC State Wolfpack

Offense: Nyheim Hines, Running Back

Image placeholder title

Hines is an established player as both a receiver and a returner. But he’s moving to running back this year and is the most electric of the options the Wolfpack have at that position.

Defense: Nick McCloud, Cornerback

NC State is strong in the front seven but there are questions about the back end. Sophomore McCloud will be given the first chance to lock down an open corner spot.

Syracuse Orange

Offense: Airon Servais, Offensive Lineman

Image placeholder title

The first order of business for the Cuse this year is to keep quarterback Eric Dungey healthy. The Green Bay native that redshirted last year can play all along the front though he will probably line up at guard.

Defense: McKinley Williams, Defensive Tackle

The sophomore has put on the weight he needed to compete in the middle of the Orange defensive line. Williams had 14 tackles and a sack last season, numbers that should spike this fall.

Wake Forest Demon Deacons

Offense: Cortez Lewis, Wide Receiver

Image placeholder title

The Demon Deacons hope that the junior wide receiver can provide a big-play threat for their combo of quarterbacks. If Lewis can take a step forward, he will form a nice receiving trio with slot man Tabari Hines and tight end Cam Serigne.

Defense: Jaboree Williams, Linebacker

It is unlikely that any one player will step up and completely fill the void left by Marquel Lee. But Williams has the most ability on the second level and will be asked to improve on his 36-tackle, two-sack performance of 2016.

ACC Coastal

Duke Blue Devils

Offense: Evan Lisle, Offensive Tackle

Image placeholder title

Lisle played sparingly during his time at Ohio State. Now at Duke, the 6-foot-7, 308-pounder will probably be the starting right guard. Duke has some interesting skill weapons back, including quarterback Daniel Jones. If Lisle helps shore up the offensive line, head coach David Cutcliffe could have a pretty good offense.

Defense: Dylan Singleton, Safety

The sophomore came in as a consensus four-star prospect, choosing the Blue Devils over schools like Georgia, Ohio State, Auburn and Nebraska. With vacancies in the secondary, Singleton’s playing time should increase substantially.

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

Offense: Clinton Lynch, Running Back

Image placeholder title