Some of the ACC’s biggest names and best players from the 2014 season are playing on Sundays this fall, but the league still has a strong core of talent for 2015. The ACC boasts a solid overall group of quarterbacks and talent on defense with the return of Florida State defensive back Jalen Ramsey and Virginia Tech cornerback Kendall Fuller.
With the season right around the corner, Athlon Sports sought to answer this question: Who is the best player in the ACC this year?
In order to rank the top 15 players in the ACC for 2015, Athlon Sports sought the insight of several experts from the conference. The voting process was simple. Using criteria such as career performance so far, 2015 potential/projection, pro outlook, recruiting ranking, value to team or overall talent, each voter was asked to rank their top 15 players for 2015.
A point system was assigned, giving 15 points for a player with a No. 1 vote, 14 points for a No. 2 vote, 13 points for a No. 3 vote and so on.
Podcast: Complete 2015 ACC Preview and Predictions
Ranking the ACC's Best Players for 2015 (Experts Poll)
Jalen Ramsey, DB, Florida State (7 first-place votes)
Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson (6)
James Conner, RB, Pittsburgh (7)
Kendall Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech
Tyler Boyd, WR, Pittsburgh (1)
Justin Thomas, QB, Georgia Tech
Jeremy Cash, S, Duke
Quin Blanding, S, Virginia
Dadi Nicolas, DE, Virginia Tech
Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State
Brad Kaaya, QB, Miami
Marquise Williams, QB, North Carolina
Mike Williams, WR, Clemson
Mackensie Alexander, CB, Clemson
Roderick Johnson, OT, Florida State
Artavis Scott, WR, Clemson
Jacoby Brissett, QB, NC State
Roberto Aguayo, K, Florida State
Landon Turner, OG, North Carolina
Everett Golson, QB, Florida State
Terrance Smith, LB, Florida State
Luther Maddy, DT, Virginia Tech
Devonte Fields, DE/LB, Louisville
Sheldon Rankins, DL, Louisville
James Burgess, LB, Louisville
Keith Kelsey, LB, Louisville
Nate Andrews, DB, Florida State
Jon Hilliman, RB, Boston College
Adam Bisnowaty, OT, Pittsburgh
Ryan Switzer, WR, North Carolina
Mario Pender, RB, Florida State
Ken Ekanem, DE, Virginia Tech
Matt Skura, C, Duke
Adam Gotsis, DT, Georgia Tech
Bucky Hodges, TE, Virginia Tech
Brandon Chubb, LB, Wake Forest
Shaq Lawson, DE, Clemson
Reggie Northrup, LB, Florida State
Wayne Gallman, RB, Clemson
Matt Dayes, RB, NC State
* Four players received first-place votes. Florida State’s Jalen Ramsey and Pittsburgh running back James Conner received the most first-place votes (seven). Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson received six, while Pittsburgh receiver Tyler Boyd received one.
* Four of the top 12 players in this poll were quarterbacks. According to the voting panel, Watson is No. 1, followed by Georgia Tech’s Justin Thomas, Miami’s Brad Kaaya and North Carolina’s Marquise Williams.
* Seven different teams were represented in the top 10.
* Despite the uncertainty surrounding his status for 2015, Florida State running back Dalvin Cook ranked No. 10 in this expert poll.
* Florida State (nine) had the most players voted for in this expert poll. Clemson was second with six, followed by Virginia Tech (five) and Louisville (four).