football Edit

Past, Present and Future: The ACC at each position

Mekhi Becton
Mekhi Becton (AP Images)

Each Power Five conference lost stars to the NFL Draft last month, but plenty of talent returns and is on the horizon. We call this Past, Present and Future - and it’s self explanatory. We continue with the ACC today.

Mark Pszonak contributed to this report.

MORE: The past, present and future of the Big Ten at each position | SEC

CLASS OF 2021 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | Position | Team | State

CLASS OF 2022: Top 100

MORE: Rivals Transfer Tracker




The past: Bryce Perkins, Virginia — Perkins was undrafted, but the ACC didn’t have any quarterbacks drafted and he was the best of the departing lot. He’ll be hard to replace for Virginia.

The present: Trevor Lawrence, Clemson — Not much needs to be said here, huh? I won’t bore you with wasted words. D’Eriq King (Miami) and Kenny Pickett (Pitt) are a few who could have good years to boost their draft stock, and Sam Howell (UNC) is already one of the best in the nation.

The future: DJ Uiagalelei, Clemson — Lawrence will be replaced by another five-star quarterback, this one from the West Coast.



The past: Cam Akers, Florida State — Akers would have been even better with an offensive line, but as it was he showed signs of dominance.

The present: Travis Etienne, Clemson — The league is loaded with quality backs but none better than the Clemson star who could be a first-rounder next year. Javian Hawkins (Louisville), Michael Carter (UNC), Abdul Adams (Syracuse) and others could also have big years, especially Hawkins, who is dynamic.

The future: Demarckus Bowman, Clemson — Wait, Clemson has another difference-maker coming in? Yep. The future for many of these positions is going to be headed to Clemson. Bowman has a chance to be special.



Tee Higgins
Tee Higgins (AP Images)

The past: Tee Higgins, Clemson — Higgins is a big receiver with excellent body control. He was a major weapon for Clemson and will be hard to replace as top dog.

The present: TuTu Atwell, Louisville — The ACC is loaded at wide receiver and Atwell could be the best now that Justyn Ross (Clemson) is out for the year. Sage Surratt (Wake Forest), Tamorrion Terry (Florida State) and Dynami Brown and Dazz Newsome (UNC) could all have big years as well.

The future: EJ Williams, Clemson — I love this kid's upside and his ability to adjust to the football. He’ll be the next great receiver down the line at Clemson.



Brevin Jordan
Brevin Jordan (AP Images)

The past: Dalton Keene, Virginia Tech — Keene was a third-rounder and wasn’t a prolific pass-catcher for the Hokies, but he did the dirty work.

The present: Brevin Jordan, Miami — Jordan is easily the class of the ACC at tight end and should benefit from better quarterback play this season. Lucas Krull (Pitt) and Hunter Long (Boston College) should also have very good years.

The future: Dominic Mammarelli, Miami — The ‘Canes will continue an excellent tradition at tight end as Mammarelli takes over for Jordan down the line.



Walker Parks
Walker Parks (Nick Lucero/

The past: Mekhi Becton, Louisville — Becton will be hard for Louisville to replace as he was a rarity. A massive tackle with light feet.

The present: Jackson Carman, Clemson — Carman is a former five-star who is ready to emerge as the conference's best lineman and has shown flashes of brilliance. Jimmy Morrissey (Pitt) is the best center in the ACC, while Tyler Vrabel (Boston College), Navaughn Donaldson (Miami), Dontae Lucas (Florida State) and others deserve mention.

The future: Walker Parks, Clemson — He has a great frame to fill out and could be the next Mitch Hyatt at Clemson.



Gregory Rousseau
Gregory Rousseau (AP Images)

The past: Alton Robinson, Syracuse — It wasn’t an amazing year at DE in the ACC last season, but Robinson was steady and didn’t get enough attention at Syracuse.

The present: Gregory Rousseau, Miami — Many have Rousseau as a top 10 pick in the NFL Draft next year, and rightly so. He’s already become an elite pass rusher in two seasons. Carlos Basham (Wake Forest), Quincy Roche (Miami) and Patrick Jones II (Pitt) are all elite, and Xavier Thomas (Clemson) has amazing upside.

The future: Myles Murphy, Clemson — The rich get richer, as Murphy is a top five national talent and could be the best end in Dabo’s tenure.



The past: Larrell Murchison, NC State — Like Robinson, he didn’t get as much attention he deserved, but he was a baller for the Wolfpack.

The present: Marvin Wilson, Florida State — Some feel that Wilson will be a top 15 pick in the NFL Draft next year and would have been a first-rounder had he come out. He can dominate this season. Jaylen Twyman (Pitt) is right up there with Wilson for talent, and Jordan Williams, Nyles Pinckney and Tyler Davis (Clemson) are all excellent, and Davis could be as dominant as anyone this season.

The future: Bryan Bresee, Clemson — The nation's No. 1 player can be a defensive end or tackle at the next level, and that allows for the line to be versatile right away despite the depth.



The past: Isaiah Simmons, Clemson — Simmons was a freak athlete for Clemson who could play many roles and obviously was coveted by the NFL as a top 10 pick.

The present: Chris Rumph, Duke —A case can be made for Chazz Surratt (UNC) as well, but Rumph can play end or linebacker. Surratt is a great athlete, while Charles Snowden (Virginia) and Isaiah Moore (NC State) are a few others who are elite.

The future: Trenton Simpson, Clemson — Simpson closes on the ball as well as anyone in the class of 2020 and will be a part of a monster Clemson defense in a year or so.



A.J. Terrell
A.J. Terrell (AP Images)

The past: A.J. Terrell, Clemson — Terrell had size and speed and was a lockdown with a ceiling high enough for a first-round selection.

The presentCaleb Farley, Virginia Tech — Farley is a big and aggressive corner who the NFL loves, while guys like Derion Kendrick (Clemson), Asante Samuel Jr. (Florida State) and others should step up as well.

The future: Demorie Tate, Florida State — I love the way Tate plays as an aggressive comer with size who attacks the football.



The past: K’Von Wallace, Clemson — Wallace was a ball hawk at safety with closing speed and the ability to read a quarterbacks eyes. He will be tough to replace even for a loaded Clemson team.

The present: Hamsah Nasirildeen, Florida State — Nasirildeen is a hitter and also excels in tracking the ball. Andre Cisco (Syracuse), Paris Ford and Damar Hamlin (Pitt) and Gurvan Hall (Miami) are all elite as well. The position is loaded in the conference.

The future: Avantae Williams, Miami — Williams is the top safety in the 2020 class and should impact at Miami early as he learns under Hall.