Spring football is a process of starting over with new personnel, and in the ACC, there are plenty of on-field changes coming in 2022. Clemson’s six-year run of conference titles was snapped in 2021, and the league is getting a hefty infusion of new coaches. As such, the conference has plenty of good storylines to follow entering a new season.
Mario Cristobal replaced Manny Diaz at Miami, Tony Elliott succeeded Bronco Mendenhall at Virginia, Brent Pry replaced Justin Fuente at Virginia Tech and Mike Elko is in for David Cutcliffe at Duke. As for the league’s recognizable returning faces, many of them are star quarterbacks with weighty expectations. Wake Forest’s Sam Hartman, NC State’s Devin Leary, Louisville’s Malik Cunningham, Boston College’s Phil Jurkovec, Miami’s Tyler Van Dyke and Virginia’s Brennan Armstrong combine to give the ACC arguably the nation’s strongest crop of proven passers.
With Clemson regrouping following a down year by the program’s standards, one of the above quarterbacks has a chance to do what Kenny Pickett did with Pittsburgh last season and lead their team past the mighty Tigers to a league title.
While spring games are largely vanilla, let’s overreact anyway to what we can expect from ACC teams in 2022.
QB Phil Jurkovec is the new Sam Howell: Jurkovec landed in the first round of a recent 2023 NFL Draft mock from CBS colleague Ryan Wilson. He certainly has the tools and ability to do it, but Boston College replaces four starters on its offensive line. Spring practice served as a reminder that Jurkovec will be hard-pressed to maintain that lofty stock in 2022 because of shifting roster dynamics outside his control. Former ACC quarterback Sam Howell of North Carolina dealt with a similar…