Top 25 Players to Watch (#6-10)

(Editor's Note: Jeff Fischel, Max Skinner, Jacob Dennis and Patrick Ronan are the contributors for the "Top 25 Players to Watch" list. Names at the end of each sub piece delineate that writer's contribution.)

Check out the other Top Players: 1-5 | 11-15 | 16-20 | 21-25

Here at the ACCDN, we are counting down the top 25 ACC football players to watch heading into the 2015 season. We've ranked the league's best players based on past success and what we expect to see from them this upcoming season.

After going through the entire list of impressive student-athletes throughout the ACC, here are numbers 10 through six.


After Dustin Hopkins spent four years rewriting the FSU record books, I asked Jimbo Fisher if he was worried at all that he’d have to adjust his expectations on special teams without his security blanket. He shook his head, and said the next kid in line might be just as good.

I’d say he was a bit understated.

Roberto Aguayo just might be a whole lot better. In fact, Aguayo might just be the best college kicker ever. Born with some frightening combination of thunder and lightning in his right leg, Aguayo will destroy the NCAA all-time scoring record if he decides to stick around two more years. (He’s still never missed a PAT.)

If there’s a flaw ... I exposed it in a paper football battle.

So, I’m the paper champion. Aguayo, though, is the real deal. – Jeff Fischel


Can I come up with the right way to put in proper perspective just how dominant Virginia Tech’s defensive line will be this year? Hmmmm….

Keep in mind that the entire 2014 All-ACC 1st team defensive line is now in the NFL:

Dadi Nicolas--2nd team All-ACC in 2014
Corey Marshall--2nd team All-ACC in 2014
Luther Maddy--3rd team All-ACC in 2013 and Honorable Mention last year even though he only played 4 games
Ken Ekanem--3rd team All-ACC in 2014

That’s one way of saying the Hokies probably have four of the top six or seven returning defensive lineman in all of the ACC. Put them all together and you have disruption, havoc, punts and turnovers. – Jeff Fischel


“Bye, Felicia.”

Hello, Franchise QB.

As a true freshman in 2014, Kaaya emerged as one of the most talented quarterbacks in the country. And he’s the classic tall, strong-armed, stand-in-the-pocket QB the NFL loves.

The great thing for fans of the []_[] is that he absolutely has 2 more years, at least, with the Canes.

He lost Phillip Dorsett, Clive Wolford and Duke Johnson from last year, but still has plenty of other weapons. He’ll put up big numbers.

But let’s be honest. Canes fans will only treat him as an all-time great if he finally gets them to Charlotte and win an ACC title.

If you ask me what the biggest key is for Miami this year, it’s keep Kaaya healthy. No wonder Al Golden threw in a “Whatever you do, Brad, do not run!” during his epic play-by-play call for us. – Jeff Fischel


Let’s play the “Can you imagine…” game.

Can you imagine how much attention Tyler Boyd would be getting heading into this season if Pitt had been a national title contender the last couple of years, and not 13-13?

Think about what he’s accomplished: the first WR in ACC history to catch at least 75 balls for 1,000 yards as a freshman and sophomore. And he’s done it in a pro-style offense with James Conner bulldozing through defenses and chewing up clock. It’s not like the Panthers have been an up-tempo, pass-dominant offense.

So basically, we’re getting a front-row seat to watch one of the best receivers in the nation right now, and one of the best to ever play in the ACC. This one from his freshman year may be my favorite.

Actually, maybe it’s this one.

I can’t decide. But I do know Boyd absolutely deserves to be the top WR in our Top 25 Players to Watch list. – Jeff Fischel


The ACC will be at the center of one of the really fun debates in college football this season: Who is the best cornerback in the country? It’s probably either Virginia Tech’s Kendall Fuller or FSU’s Jalen Ramsey.

They certainly both made a case for being number one at ACC Kickoff last month. Fuller finished his argument by answering his own question: “Who’s right? Me.” Drop the mic.
You can’t blame anyone who agrees.

The youngest of Virginia Tech’s four Fuller brothers was tied for the conference lead in passes defended last year. And he was second in the ACC in INTs as a true freshman. So, yeah, no one really wants to throw his way. Bad things happen when they do. [#MustSeeACC Moment]

Add in Brandon Facyson on the other side, and I’m not sure anyone is going to want to throw against Virginia Tech at all. – Jeff Fischel