August has begun and fall camp is starting all around the country. Talking season is coming to an end as practices ramp up. As the 2021 season approaches there are players just waiting to break out and show their skills on the field. Its a good time to take a look at the best ACC football players heading into this campaign. There are plenty off stars on both sides of the ball. Offensively the highlights should be plentiful from the young men listed below.
ACC Football; Top Offensive Players for 2021
Mike Harley – Wide Receiver – Miami Hurricanes
Miami’s offense has a chance to be very explosive this fall. They added Charleston Rambo as a transfer and he will definitely strengthen the receiving corps. Harley has already shown what he can do, leading the Hurricanes in catches, yards and touchdowns a season ago. Rambo will provide a legitimate down field threat, and that should open things up underneath for Harley. He can catch the ball in space and have the opportunities to make guys miss.
Sam Hartman – Quarterback – Wake Forest Demon Deacons
The fourth year junior brings plenty of experience and production table. He has started over 20 games and thrown for more than 5000 since arriving in Winston Salem. His consistency and ball security are his strengths. Hartman had a streak of 258 passes without an interception in 2020, the fifth longest such streak in ACC football history. He ranks in the program’s top ten in four different categories. He will need to have a big year if Wake Forest is to reach its fifth bowl game in the past six seasons.
Mataeo Durant – Tailback – Duke Blue Devils
Duke did not have the type of season they were hoping for in 2020. While the team struggled, Durant showed what he could do individually. He led the team in yards and touchdowns, despite having 40 less carries than his backfield partner Deon Jackson. The offense will revolve around him this season, and his numbers should increase with the extra opportunities. Durant has good size and strength, but its his speed that makes him dangerous. He averaged nearly seven yards a carry last year.
Phil Jurkovec – Quarterback – Boston College Eagles
The transfer from Notre Dame had a big first year as the Eagles starter. He wanted the opportunity to lead a team, and he flourished once he found it. The 6-5 signal caller made a statement early with four 300 yard games in his first five starts. His top three receivers all return in 2021. Jurkovec has a big arm and loves attacking down field. If the Eagles’ run game improves, that will make him even more dangerous in the play action game.
Zonovan Knight – Tailback – N.C. State Wolfpack
The man they call Bam is poised to have a big year for the Wolfpack. He already has over 1,500 yards and 15 touchdowns after two seasons in Raleigh. Knight has a good burst through the line and solid vision as well. However, it’s the physicality that he runs with that earned him his nickname. He seeks out defenders to hit when he has the ball, and often delivers more punishment than he receives. His 20 catches out the backfield in 2020 also showed the improvement in his overall game from freshman to sophomore. He and Ricky Person Jr. form one of the better tailback tandems in ACC football.
Jaquarii Roberson – Wide Receiver – Wake Forest Demon Deacons
The junior burst on to the scene last year leading the conference with over 100 yards per game. This year, people are already taking notice, as the Murfreesboro native garnered multiple preseason All-American accolades. He is equally adept at making tough catches down field as he is at finding open spaces underneath the coverage. His physicality and route running are what allow him to be so versatile. Roberson is a complete receiver and threat all over the field. He enters the 2021 campaign on a streak of four consecutive 100 yard games.
Zay Flowers – Wide Receiver – Boston College Eagles
The 5-11 playmaker was electric as a sophomore. He had 10 total touchdowns and 933 yards of offense. He is the Eagles big play threat. Seven of his touchdowns went for 20 yards or more, including a 22 run against Georgia Tech. Flowers has the ability to take the top off the defense on any play. He averaged over 20 yards per catch in four different contests in 2020. The junior had career highs with eight grabs for 180 yards in the season finale versus Virginia. Expect Jurkovec to look for him often this fall, with the results being big chunks of yards.
D.J. Uiagalelei – Quarterback – Clemson Tigers
It is surprising to go this deep into a list of the best players in ACC football before checking in on the defending conference champions. The Tigers lost most of their top skill players from 2020. Their quarterback play won’t be a concern. Uiagalelei showed what he could do by stepping in to start two conference games late last season. He led a second half comeback over Boston College in his first career start. The next week he took his talents on the road and accounted for 441 yards and four touchdowns versus Notre Dame. He will also have Justyn Ross back from injury to throw the ball too. If fully healthy, Ross could be at the top of a list like this come season’s end. The signal caller from Hawaii is primed for a big 2021. Reports from Clemson’s spring and fall practices have marveled over the 6-4 250 pounder’s abilities.
D’Eriq King – Quarterback – Miami Hurricanes
Entering his sixth season of college football, the Texas native may be the most experienced player in the nation. He is also one of the most exciting to watch. In the two seasons he was the primary starter under center, he has over 5600 yards passing and 59 touchdown throws. The transfer from Houston can also beat you with his legs, with over 1900 career rushing yards. King’s unpredictability is what makes him must watch TV. He can evade the rush and scramble just as easily as he can fling the ball downfield for a big play. He will have a showcase opportunity in week one as the Hurricanes face off with Alabama. A big game and a victory in that one, and he may have a Heisman campaign in the works.
Sam Howell – Quarterback – North Carolina Tar Heels
The prized recruit in Mack Brown’s first class upon returning to Chapel Hill has not disappointed. He led consecutive fourth quarter comebacks in his first two starts as a true freshman and hasn’t looked back since. Last year he was named Walter Camp National Player of the Week after a 550 yard and seven touchdown performance in a win over Wake Forest. Howell will have a lot on his shoulders this fall, as the Tar Heels have to replace their top two tailbacks and receivers. The good news for North Carolina is that their quarterback thrives in under pressure. Howell has high level arm strength and accuracy. He also has that knack for coming through when the stakes are high. He has built a reputation for fourth quarter heroics. If the Tar Heels are to contend for an ACC title, it’ll be Howell that leads the way.