ACC players to watch in 2016
Ben Boulware, Clemson LB
Boulware recorded 81 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss, three sacks, three forced fumbles and two interceptions en route to being named a first team All-ACC performer. The senior linebacker will have to take on an even bigger role in 2016 as the Tigers return just four starters on defense.
Dalvin Cook, Florida State RB
Cook set Florida State record for rushing yards and all-purpose yards in a season en route to first-team All-ACC honors. After finishing seventh in the 2015 Heisman Trophy voting, he'll be on the short list to win the award next season.
Elijah Hood, North Carolina RB
Hood quietly amassed 1,463 rushing yards in 2015 to guide the Tar Heels' ground game. Now with quarterback Marquise Williams gone, Hood is poised to become the focal point on North Carolina's offense.
Lamar Jackson, Louisville QB
Jackson entered elite territory in Louisville's Music City Bowl win over Texas A&M when he rushed for 226 yards, the second-most by a quarterback in FBS bowl history. The dual-threat quarterback finished the season with 1,840 yards passing, 960 yards rushing and 23 touchdowns.
Roderick Johnson, Florida State OT
Florida State's 6'7", 323-pound behemoth of a left tackle started every game in 2015 and won the ACC's award as the conference's best blocker. The preseason All-America selection will clear running lanes for Dalvin Cook again in 2016.
Brad Kaaya, Miami QB
Kaaya threw for 3,238 yards and 16 touchdowns last season, finishing second in the ACC in passing yards behind only Clemson's Deshaun Watson.
Keith Kelsey, Louisville LB
The Cardinals' middle linebacker and team captain decided to return for his senior year after leading Louisville with 107 tackles last season.
Micah Kiser, Virginia LB
Kiser led the ACC and finished 17th in the country with 117 tackles last fall. He made big strides last spring as one of two Virginia players to earn the Rock Weir Award for most improved player during spring drills. Kiser now hopes to take his game to another level this year.
Deshaun Watson, Clemson QB
The reigning ACC player of the year returns for his junior season after leading the Tigers to a 14–1 record and a national championship game appearance last season. Watson has his sights set on surpassing what he accomplished last season, meaning taking home the Heisman Trophy and a national championship.
Jordan Whitehead, Pittsburgh S
The Pittsburgh defensive back recorded 110 tackles as a true freshman last fall and shared the ACC Rookie of the Year award with teammate Qadree Ollison.