Our weeklong conference previews continue this week with the ACC, kicking off today with five surefire conference MVP candidates.
1. QB Sam Howell, North Carolina
Howell has improved every year at North Carolina, and he’s poised for an even bigger junior season. Without star running backs Michael Carter and Javonte Williams, more of the offensive burden will fall on his shoulders. Even without Dyami Brown, Howell still has a solid receiving corps and should put up some huge numbers.
2. QB D.J. Uiagalelei, Clemson
In his limited appearances last season, Uiagalelei showed why he was one of Rivals’ top-ranked recruits in the 2020 class. Now with the starting job firmly in his hands and Justyn Ross returning at WR, he’ll be able to make the most of his opportunity. While he’s not Trevor Lawrence, Uiagalelei has an amazing ceiling and will be leading the team that is still the top dog in the conference until further notice.
3. QB D’Eriq King, Miami
A sixth-year senior, King has been at the forefront of a variety of top offenses in his career at Houston and Miami, and if the ‘Canes pop this year, it will be because of his guidance. The two big questions for him are how fast can he recover from his ACL tear, and how well the team can navigate a tough schedule.
4. Phil Jurkovec, Boston College
Another signal caller who has gotten better every year, this is the season I expect Jorkovec to put it all together and make the leap into the national conversation as one of the top quarterbacks in the country. He has a great line in front of him, and weapons to throw to, especially Zay Flowers, a darkhorse Biletnikoff Award finalist.
5. RB Zonovan Knight, NC State
The Wolfpack are poised for a potentially huge season with a favorable schedule and a ton of returning starters on both sides of the ball, and Knight is the straw that stirs the drink. He’s one of the best running backs in the country at breaking tackles and, fortunately for him, he doesn’t even have to do that all too often as he will be running behind a very strong offensive front.