As the NCAA football regular season enters the final stretch, the Clemson trio of Isaiah Simmons, Travis Etienne, and Tee Higgins sit atop of the 2020 NFL Draft ACC Big Board. To date, they have been the best three draft-eligible players from the ACC in 2019 and it’s not even close. The Clemson Tigers are heads and shoulders above any other team in the ACC. Just how dominant is Clemson?
This weeks’ showdown against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons was supposed to be one of the marquee match-ups from this weekend’s slate of games. However, Clemson obliterated Wake Forest 52-3.
Memorial Stadium, popularly known as “Death Valley”, was rocking and the Tigers delivered in a big way. The Clemson football program is a complete powerhouse and once again, Dabo Swinney has his team well-positioned to make a run at another appearance in the National Championship game. As of today, the college football playoff rankings have LSU, Ohio State, Clemson, and Georgia as the four teams that will fight for the National Championship.
Trevor Lawrence is the prize of the 2021 NFL Draft
While Clemson has the three best draft-eligible players in the 2020 NFL draft, they also have the best player in the conference and one of the best players in all of college football in Trevor Lawrence. Lawrence started the season slowly but over the last few weeks, he has been absolutely sensational. On the season, Lawrence has 2,575 passing yards, 27 passing touchdowns, and only 8 interceptions. Also, he has added 7 rushing touchdowns.
Frankly, Trevor Lawrence is special. Last year, we saw Lawrence as a true freshman beat a talented Alabama team to win the National Championship. He is almost the perfect prospect, as he possesses marvelous arm talent, tremendous football IQ, and lethal accuracy. Without question, Lawrence would be the number-one overall pick in the 2020 NFL draft if he were eligible. We, the fans, and the NFL will have to wait another year before we can start talking about Lawrence as a draft prospect. But once that day comes, he will no doubt garner comparisons to the great Peyton Manning.
More players from the ACC invited to Reese’s Senior Bowl
Last week, Senior Bowl invitations were sent out and there were not many players from the ACC that were announced as invites. Larrell Murchison, K’Von Wallace, and Jason Strowbridge were the players from the conference that were announced as having accepted their invites. This week, we have a few more intriguing players to add to this group, which consists of Clemson offensive linemen Tremayne Anchrum and John Simpson, Syracuse defensive end Alton Robinson and Miami defensive end Trevon Hill.
Ironically, both Anchrum and Hill were players that I was pounding the table for in last week’s recap. Hill, the Virginia Tech transfer, was once touted as a fringe first-round pick, but he has not played like one in 2019. Anchrum offers position versatility and could have an NFL future at left guard. It will be interesting to see how these players stack up against the best talent in college football.
The ACC is far from a power conference
Despite having the program that has won 2 out-of-the last 3 National Championships, the Atlantic Coastal Conference is a complete dumpster fire. Week 12 of the college football season exhibited another week of disappointing play from teams in the ACC. As mentioned previously, Clemson completely dominated Wake Forest. Also, we saw the Virginia Tech Hokies throttle the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets to the tune of 45-0. The Virginia Tech defense smothered the Georgia Tech offense, holding them to 134 yards of offense. Redshirt sophomore cornerback Caleb Farley, Virginia Tech’s best draft-eligible prospect, intercepted a pass thrown by Georgia Tech quarterback James Graham and it took it to the house for a touchdown. Virginia Tech, now ranked 25th in the nation, joins Clemson as the only teams from the ACC that are ranked in the AP top-25.
Want more blowouts? The Syracuse Orangemen dismantled the Duke Blue Devils 49-6. The Syracuse defense was sensational, accounting for four sacks, a fumble recovery, two interceptions, and a touchdown. Not every game from the ACC was a blowout though. The Pittsburgh Panthers squeaked out a 34-27 overtime victory against the North Carolina Tar Heels. Pittsburgh quarterback, Kenny Pickett, played pretty well, including a 300-yard passing performance and a touchdown pass.
Overall, it has been a disappointing season for the ACC. For the conference to regain the prominence, it once had, the Florida teams (Florida State Seminoles and Miami Hurricanes) will have to regain their swagger. Right now, outside of Clemson, the conference leaves a lot to be desired.
Let’s look at the ACC top performers from Week 12.