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Ranking the top 15 ACC football players for 2015

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Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Every now and then, I have the opportunity to participate in an Athlon roundtable of sorts. They were good enough to reach out to me again to participate in this year's Top 15 ACC players poll. Sam Werner of the Post-Gazette also was included as well.

These things are generally part crap shoot and part going off of what certain players did last year. Below was the list I managed to put together:

Rank Player
1 James Conner, RB, Pitt
2 Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson
3 Jalen Ramsey, S, Florida State
4 Kendall Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech
5 Tyler Boyd, WR, Pitt
6 Justin Thomas, QB, Georgia Tech
7 Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State
8 Marquise Williams, QB, North Carolina
9 Everett Golson, QB, Florida State
10 Jeremy Cash, S, Duke
11 Brad Kaaya, QB, Miami
12 Landon Turner, G, North Carolina
13 Quin Blanding, S, Virginia
14 Dadi Nicolas, DE, Virginia Tech
15 Mike Williams, WR, Clemson

So, I've got James Conner first and Tyler Boyd fifth. Several things jump out in terms of my votes and the cumulative votes from the others that participated.

  • I had to go with Conner at No. 1 in part because he is the reigning ACC Player of the Year. This poll is for this year's players, but there's nothing that really indicates Conner is in for a step back other than perhaps teams gearing up even more to stop him. This isn't a star wide receiver having to adjust to a new quarterback. Conner should again be a dominant player in the conference.
  • Conner slid to third despite being tied for the most first-place votes. 21 of us participated and it's pretty evident that several voters had Conner out of the top two. Also noteworthy that someone else gave a first-place vote to Tyler Boyd (it wasn't Werner, either).
  • Boyd, at fifth on my ballot, was right where he landed when tallying up all of the votes. Same goes for No. 2 (Deshaun Watson), No. 4 (Kendall Fuller), No. 6 (Justin Thomas), and No. 11 (Brad Kaaya)
  • Everett Golson was the one I had that differentiated the most. He was No. 9 on my list but all the way down at No. 20 overall.
  • My #16 was tight end Bucky Hodges. As one of the top tight ends in the country, I was surprised to not see him finish higher than the 35th he did overall.

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