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ACC College Football

ACC Standouts: 6 Players Dominating College Football

  • Ryan Fowler
  • September 28, 2022
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Now four weeks into the college football campaign, enough of a sample size has been provided as to who’s stood out amongst the rest. In this mini-series, I’ll be diving into six standouts (three on offense,  three on defense) for each of the Power Five conferences a month into the regular season. Next up, it’s all about the ACC.


Drake Maye QB, North Carolina

The signal-caller tasked with filling the shoes of Sam Howell, Maye’s production early on has seen no dropoff between the two talents. Just a redshirt freshman, he’s been fantastic leading the Tar Heels each and every weekend. With 16 touchdowns compared to just 1 interception, the Tar Heels are 3-1 by way of Maye’s heroics under center. He’s looked all the part of the next big thing to follow down the line.

Zay Flowers WR, Boston College

A name known around these parts for some time, Flowers—at least for now—has come into his own on the outside. Questions remained as to which version of Zay Flowers would show up this fall, but the ACC’s leading receiver in receptions (29) and yards (330) has showcased his skill set early in 2022. Quarterback Phil Jurkovec’s top target in the Golden Eagles’ offense, Flowers won’t wow with an imposing physical presence nor will he burn by opposing secondaries with elite top-end speed, but his refined traits as a separator on the perimeter have seen him rise on draft boards early this season.

Oronde Gadsden II WR, Syracuse

This is my guy. He’s not draft eligible until 2024, but man can Gadsden ball. The son of former NFL wideout Oronde Gadsden Sr., Syracuse has found themselves a stud in the 6-foot-5 true sophomore.

A three-star recruit out of Fort Lauderdale, FL, it’s not often you see talents of his physical profile escape the tentacles of SEC programs. A hotbed that is usually easy pickings for the Alabamas, Georgias, Floridas, and Miamis of the world, a trip up to the frigid northeast portions of the country has seen Gadsden evolve into one of the nation’s most dynamic pass-catchers. He’s hauled in 13 catches for 219 yards and two touchdowns the last two weeks combined against Virginia and Purdue.


Jared Verse EDGE, Florida State

A transfer from Albany, Verse has wasted no time in asserting himself at one of the highest levels of college football in the ACC. He’s got four sacks in three appearances for the Seminoles this fall and has become a focal point to stymie for opposing offensive lines. Double teams, chipping with a tight end, Verse has seen it all early in the season while displaying a deep bag of tools at 5-tech.

Garrett Williams CB, Syracuse

One of the top corners in the 2023 class, teams have picked their spots when attempting to target his side of the field—and rightly so. The Orange are by no means a defensive juggernaut. Still, Williams leads the way as an aggressive, ball-hawking roof defender that has showcased high-level movement ability as a man-to-man corner. He’s been excellent.

Trenton Simpson LB, Clemson

A modern-day defensive chess piece, don’t be surprised if you hear his name called early on night one of the NFL draft come April. He’s everything for the Tigers’ defense. While some have made comparisons to former Tiger Isaiah Simmons, Simpson is his own beast as a violent downhill defender who’s also a skilled blitzer. He’s lined up at safety, and when asked to shrink down to 5-tech, his speed can overwhelm opposing tackles. There are many names to learn on the Tigers’ defense, but Simpson could be the crown jewel of them all.

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Ryan Fowler