College Football 2022: Offensive and Defensive Spotlight for All ACC Teams | college football

As recent college football powerhouse Clemson sees uncertainty over its college football playoff future, other ACC teams have seen cracks in the Tigers’ armor.

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All analysis below is credited to PFF 2022 College Football Preview Magazine.

Editor’s note: This analysis focuses on non-quarterbacks.

Offensive star player: WR ZAY FLOWERS

No returning Power Five wide receiver for the 2022 season has seen more vertical route targets since 2020 than Flowers, who caught 18 of those 56 looks for 688 yards and nine touchdowns. The 5-foot-10, 177-pounder boasts elite stop-start ability, and it shows in his routes and after the catch. Over the past three years, Flowers has had 25 broken tackles and averaged 7.2 yards after the catch on 114 total receptions. Although the limitations of his game lead to inconsistent production, he is able to come loose in any given week.

Defensive flagship player: CB JOSH DEBERRY

DeBerry’s inside-out versatility is a major asset to Boston College’s defense. He’s not only the Eagles’ most valuable defenseman since 2020, but also the most valuable defensive player – regardless of position – in the entire ACC. For the past two years, DeBerry has ranked first among ACC cornerbacks in coverage and ranks in the top five among ACC outside cornerbacks in the same metric. He’s a tough player to shake off in one-on-one clashes, no matter what role he’s playing. Boston College is expected to field a talented secondary in 2022, but no player will be more important to that unit this fall than the 5-foot-11, 175-pound DeBerry.

Offensive star player: OT JORDAN MCFADDEN

The three-star 2018 rookie boasts single-season PFF ratings of 88.3, ​​83.5 and 87.4 over the past three years while serving as a reserve, starting right tackle, then starting left tackle . He had 1,963 career snaps, but only picked up two penalties. McFadden took his pass protection to new highs in 2021, allowing zero pressure in more than half of his games played en route to a career-best 84.7 pass blocking rating. The 6-foot-2, 300-pound Physical Tool might not jump, but he’s as technically consistent as they come.

Defensive star player: LB TRENTON SIMPSON

The 6-foot-3, 225-pound Simpson is one of the best linebackers in college football. His high school verified results in the 40-yard dash, vertical jump and short shuttle were comparable to the 80th-90th percentile among NFL athletes combined. Former Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables took advantage of Simpson’s physical gifts in his pressure packs, and that shouldn’t change much with a new defensive coach in charge. Playing as a SAM/nickel for Clemson in his first year as a starter in 2021, the former five-star rookie posted an 88.3 pass-rush rating while racking up seven sacks, 13 hits and 11 rushes. . Simpson was one of the top 10 ranked players at the position in the Power Five from Week 4 to the end of the campaign and is set to take an even bigger leap next fall.

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Robert M. Larson