ACC 2019 Pre-Spring Rankings, Depth Chart Projections, Biggest Issues

ACC 2019 Pre-Spring Rankings, Depth Chart Projections, Biggest Issues

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ACC 2019 Pre-Spring Rankings, Depth Chart Projections, Biggest Issues

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The 2019 early rankings, depth chart lookaheads, and projections for the ACC.


Contact @PeteFiutak

These can and will change after spring ball and going into the season, but for now, as a starting point, welcome to your pre-everything early ranking of all the ACC teams.

ACC ATLANTIC

7. Wake Forest Demon Deacons

The quarterback situation is terrific once Sam Hartman gets healthy again – Jamie Newman is a proven talent, too. The Demon Deacons need help on the offensive line blocking for leading rusher Cade Carney, and they have to find a new No. 1 receiver after losing top target Greg Dortch. That’s where former QB Kendall Hinton might fit in.

Losing three of the top six tacklers isn’t a plus, but getting Old Dominion’s Miles Fox for the line helps. The linebacking corps should be solid and the cornerbacks will be a plus.

Final 2018 Record: 7-6 (3-5)
2018 ACC Atlantic Finish: T5
2018 Prespring ACC Conference Ranking: 8
Biggest Issue To Fix: Pass Defense
Biggest Depth Chart Positive: Linebacker
Biggest Depth Chart Negative: Offensive Line
– Wake Forest Schedule Breakdown

6. Louisville Cardinals

Scott Satterfield has a veteran team, but he could use a good grad transfer quarterback to push Jawon Pass and Malik Cunningham. The top running backs return, but they need the line to be far, far stronger. The receiving corps is terrific; they’ll explode if the quarterback play is more consistent.

The defensive front gets everyone back, but can it stop anyone? All of the linebackers return, and the secondary gets just enough back to be okay. Experience won’t be a problem on the D.

Final 2018 Record: 2-10 (0-8)
2018 ACC Atlantic Finish: 7
2018 Prespring ACC Conference Ranking: 7
Biggest Issue To Fix: Run Defense
Biggest Depth Chart Positive: Wide Receiver
Biggest Depth Chart Negative: Defensive Back
– Louisville Schedule Breakdown

5. Boston College Eagles

The Eagles have the offensive backfield, but they need the blocking. The combination of QB Anthony Brown and RB AJ Dillon will be as solid as any in the ACC if three new starters can step in up front. The receiving corps has to come up with replacements for three of the top four targets.

Leading tackler LB Connor Strachan is gone, and ball-hawking CB Hamp Cheevers is leaving early for the NFL, but the linebacking corps should be fine with a little time. Six of the top nine tacklers have to be replaced.

Final 2018 Record:7-5 (4-4)
2018 ACC Atlantic Finish: 4
2018 Prespring ACC Conference Ranking: 11
Biggest Issue To Fix: Punting Game
Biggest Depth Chart Positive: Offensive Backfield
Biggest Depth Chart Negative: Defensive Line
– Boston College Schedule Breakdown

4. NC State Wolfpack

The Pack passing game was gutted after losing QB Ryan Finley and and with top receivers Kelvin Harmon and Jakobi Meyers leaving early for the NFL. Getting Tabari Hines from Oregon is a huge help. There wasn’t much of a running game, and now it has to replace the almost 1,100 yards and 18 touchdowns from Reggie Gallaspy. Just two starters are back up front.

The defense loses main man Germaine Pratt from the linebacking corps, but most of the top tacklers – seven of the next eight – return. The entire secondary is back, but the line has to undergo an overhaul for the second straight year.

Final 2018 Record: 9-4 (5-3)
2018 ACC Atlantic Finish: 3
2018 Prespring ACC Conference Ranking: 5
Biggest Issue To Fix: Rushing Offense
Biggest Depth Chart Positive: Linebacker
Biggest Depth Chart Negative: Offensive Line
– NC State Schedule Breakdown

3. Florida State Seminoles

The FSU bounceback needs to start with the defense. DE Brian Burns left early for the NFL, but the young linebacking corps from last year returns intact, and the secondary should be among the ACC’s best. In all, eight of the top ten tacklers return. And then there’s the offensive side …

The line has to be better, and it has to replace several veterans with just two returning starters. The O needs a quarterback to step up with Deondre Francois booted off the team and with James Blackman needing to come back after entering the transfer portal. Cam Akers a big-time running back talent, and with four of the top five wide receivers back.

Final 2018 Record: 5-7 (3-5)
2018 ACC Atlantic Finish: T5
2018 Prespring ACC Conference Ranking: 3
Biggest Issue To Fix: Pass Protection
Biggest Depth Chart Positive: Quarterback
Biggest Depth Chart Negative: Offensive Line
– Florida State Schedule Breakdown

2. Syracuse Orange

2018 might have been just the beginning. QB Eric Dungey is gone and Tommy DeVito has to prove he can handle the work, but the receiving corps is loaded – despite the loss to Jamal Custis – leading rusher Moe Neal is back, but the line needs a whole lot of work.

The top two tacklers are gone, but the next eight top tacklers are back. The secondary gets all of the parts back, but the linebacking corps needs work after losing Ryan Guthrie and Keilan Whitner.

Final 2018 Record: 10-3 (8-0)
2018 ACC Atlantic Finish: 2
2018 Prespring ACC Conference Ranking: 12
Biggest Issue To Fix: Pass Protection
Biggest Depth Chart Positive: Secondary
Biggest Depth Chart Negative: Linebacker
– Syracuse Schedule Breakdown

1. Clemson Tigers

The defending national champs have some major reloading to do at some parts, but it’s nothing they haven’t dealt with before. The entire amazing defensive front four has to be replaced, but Clemson is a factory now for defensive linemen. The secondary is going to be terrific again, but eight of the top 12 tacklers are gone.

The offense has to find a new left tackle for Mitch Hyatt and center with Justin Falcinelli gone, but the skill players are breathtaking. QB Trevor Lawrence is back for his sophomore year – because he’s not allowed to turn pro early – and he’s got five of his top six receivers to throw to, and Travis Etienne to carry the load when needed.

Final 2018 Record: 15-0 (8-0)
2018 ACC Atlantic Finish: 1
2018 Prespring ACC Conference Ranking: 1
Biggest Issue To Fix: Punting Game
Biggest Depth Chart Positive: Wide Receiver
Biggest Depth Chart Negative: Defensive Line
– Clemson Schedule Breakdown

NEXT: 2019 Early ACC Coastal Rankings

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