A look at football players in the Atlantic Coast Conference this spring who are poised to break out this fall:
ELIJAH ROBINSON, WR, Sr. — Robinson had two long catches during the spring game — including a 44-yard touchdown. After being converted from quarterback, the 6-foot-2, 200-pounder had problems with drops as a freshman but could find a spot in the receiving corps this year.
TREVOR LAWRENCE, QB, Fr. — Lawrence should seemingly wait his time on the bench behind returning starter in senior to be Kelly Bryant. Instead, Clemson fans have swooned over the long-haired, strong-armed newcomer who broke Deshaun Watson’s Georgia state prep records for yards and touchdowns.
TAMORRION TERRY, WR, Fr. — Redshirted last season, Terry has made an impression on new coach Willie Taggart. At 6-foot-4 and 197 pounds, he has shown quickness and had the advantage in many one-on-one matchups during practices. He should vie with Nyqwan Murray and Auden Tate to see who emerges as the top receiver.
JON GREENARD, LB, Jr. — Greenard more than doubled his tackle total with 48 last season, including a team-best 15½ for losses and seven sacks that tied for the team lead. He’ll be expected to lead a unit breaking in its third defensive coordinator in as many seasons in Brian VanGorder.
NORTH CAROLINA STATE
NAKIA ROBINSON JR., RB, Fr. — Coach Dave Doeren’s team needs some depth at running back with Nyheim Hines leaving early for the NFL. Robinson offers some upside; Doeren singled him out after the team’s rain-soaked spring game when he ran for 87 yards and a TD.
TOMMY DEVITO, QB, Fr. — The well-regarded redshirt freshman has a rifle arm and got the majority of the reps with the first unit in spring ball. He will enter summer camp as the backup to senior Eric Dungey, who was recovering from a leg injury and didn’t have his normal spring workload.
KENDALL HINTON, QB, Soph. — Hinton will enter camp as the presumptive starter for the second straight year. He lost the starting job to John Wolford last year, then suffered a season-ending knee injury in Week 3 — and now that he’s fully healthy, is looking to prove himself all over again.
AJ REED, K, Jr. — It’s been a multiyear struggle for the Blue Devils in the kicking game, and last year’s starter, Austin Parker, was kicked off the team before the Quick Lane Bowl. That might mean another opportunity for Reed, who was just 3 for 10 on field goals in 2016 but kicked a 46-yarder during the final scrimmage.
JALEN CAMP, WR, Jr. — The Yellow Jackets must replace top receiver Ricky Jeune, and Camp might be the best option. The 6-foot-2 wideout has good size and speed — he caught three passes of at least 20 yards in a spring scrimmage — but is still developing the blocking skills needed in Georgia Tech’s option offense.
ANTHONY RATLIFF-WILLIAMS, WR, Jr. — The converted quarterback and trick-play artist saw his first major action for the Tar Heels last year. He led the team with 630 yards receiving and is poised to become the top target in UNC’s high-speed offense.
MALIK ROSIER, QB, Sr. — He led the Hurricanes to the ACC title game last season. But it’s unclear if he’ll even have the starting job this season.
KENNY PICKETT, QB, Soph. — Pickett vaulted out of obscurity as a freshman by leading the Panthers to an upset of No. 2 Miami in the final game of a losing season and claiming the starting job going forward. Now his challenge is to prove he’s more than a one-game wonder.
BRYCE PERKINS, QB, Jr. — The dual-threat quarterback who began his career at Arizona State and played last season at Arizona Western Community College has the skills to play coach Bronco Mendenhall’s system. Mendenhall hopes Perkins’ escapability makes the Cavaliers’ offense less predictable and more difficult to defend,
RICKY WALKER, DT, Sr. — Walker opted to return for his senior season after he had 41 tackles last season. One of coordinator Bud Foster’s main jobs is to develop some players around him.
By The Associated Press
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