The top 25 players in the ACC were spotlight here last week. Nos. 26-50 check in this week. There is no drop-off in talent with this group of players, any of whom can stake claim to the upper tier by season’s end.
26. Jamison Crowder – WR – Duke
Duke threw 551 passes last year, giving Jamison Crowder plenty of chances to display his playmaking potential. The speedy senior didn’t disappoint hauling in 76 passes for 1,074 yards and eight touchdowns. Now as the team’s No. 1 receiving option, he will have more opportunities in 2013.
27. Morgan Moses – OT – Virginia
Morgan Moses is the next highly-rated prospect in the recent run of great Virginia linemen, joining D’Brickashaw Ferguson, Eugene Monroe and Oday Aboushi. The 6’6, 325 lbs. senior will need to be more consistent, but has all the physical tools to have an All-conference season.
28. Karlos Williams – S – Florida State
Do yourself a favor; YouTube search Karlos Williams and thank me later. He is one of the most athletic players in all of college football and one of my candidates for breakout star of the year. After two years as a reserve, Williams finally has his chance to assume a starting role this year.
The 6-foot-1 230-pound safety has only started one game in his collegiate career but has contributed in a number of ways, including returning kicks, in the secondary and some linebacker. A clone of former Miami Hurricane and Washington Redskin Sean Taylor.
29. Alex Amidon – WR – Boston College
One of the few bright spots on Boston College’s abysmal offense last year was the emergence of Alex Amidon. The senior set single-season BC records in receptions (78) and receiving yards (1,210) while adding seven touchdowns. He should remain a fixture among the ACC’s leading pass-catchers this fall.
30. Devonta Freeman – RB – Florida State
Florida State’s ‘other’ running back is just as powerful and capable as starter James Wilder Jr. With a similar body-type and running style of a young Maurice Jones-Drew, Freeman is compact, powerful and difficult for any defender to wrangle. He completes the best running back tandem in the league.
31. Tre Jackson – OG – Florida State
Tre Jackson started all 14 games last year and helped paved the third most prolific rushing season in Florida State history. He will be depended on to repeat the feat in 2013 as well as protect his freshman quarterback, Jameis Winston. He will be one of the top interior linemen in the conference.
32. Stephen Morris – QB – Miami
One of the main reasons for Miami’s offensive resurgence was the underrated play of Stephen Morris. His 3,345 yards were good enough for fifth most in school history. The senior had some up-and-down moments, but if he can show a little more consistency under new coordinator James Coley, he has the chance to lead the Hurricanes to an ACC Championship.
33. Jameis Winston – QB – Florida State
The former five-star recruit has yet to throw a pass for Florida State, but if his performance this past spring is any indication, then Jameis Winston is going to have a monster season. Surrounded by top-shelf talent nearly everywhere on offense, Winston has the opportunity to step into an ideal situation for a young quarterback. He has all the physical tools. If he can show some poise, then the Seminole’s offense may be nearly unstoppable in 2013.
34. Ronald Darby – CB – Florida State
Winston isn’t the only Florida State backup whose debut this fall is highly anticipated. With Xavier Rhodes in the NFL, Ronald Darby is the next man up at corner. In limited snaps, Darby registered 18 tackles and seven pass breakups en route to ACC Rookie of the Year and freshman All-American honors.
35. Denzel Perryman – LB – Miami
I am not saying Denzel Perryman’s name belongs amongst those of great Miami middle linebackers like Ray Lewis, Jon Beason, Jonathan Vilma or DJ Williams, but he is well on his way. The junior has totaled 133 tackles over his first two seasons in Coral Gables and with two years of eligibility left, Perryman could end up being another Miami great.
36. Tim Scott – CB – North Carolina
Tre Boston may be the best player in the Tar Heel’s secondary, but Tim Scott is their best coverage corner. As a sophomore, Scott displayed his ball-hawking ability, intercepting four passes (returning one for a touchdown) and breaking up another eight. North Carolina’s defense has the chance to be one of the nation’s most improved and Scott should reap the benefit.
37. Brandon Thomas – OT – Clemson
This list’s top player, Clemson Quarterback Tajh Boyd, has enjoyed two straight years of success and consistency due in large part to the play of left tackle Brandon Thomas. Entering his third season protecting Boyd’s blindside, Thomas has flown under the radar deferring accolades to the ACC’s other great tackles. However, 2013 may be the year Thomas’ consistent play and leadership puts him in the national spotlight as one of the country’s best linemen.
38. Jabari Hunt-Days – LB – Georgia Tech
Middle linebacker Jabari Hunt-Days was unexpectedly thrust into an increased role when 2011’s leading tackler Julian Burnett suffered a neck injury that cost him his career. However, JHD thrived under the pressure tallying 87 tackles and consistently being around the pigskin. In order for Georgia Tech to have the dominant defense that some believe they’ll have in 2013 (myself included), Hunt-Days will have to step up as the leader of the defense.