The Miami Hurricanes are holding their spring football game on April 20th at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, FL. The ‘Canes are one of the last three ACC programs to have their spring game, with Georgia Tech on April 26th and Virginia on April 27th. On Saturday, April 13th the UNC Tar Heels usher in Mack Brown Era 2.0; while Pitt, Syracuse and Virginia Tech also have their spring games this upcoming weekend.
Here is a quick look around the ACC spring games and the top performers around the conference through April 6th.
Jamie Newman, QB, Wake Forest
Wake Forest quarterback Jamie Newman didn’t have eye popping stats but he played solidly for the Demon Deacons. Newman, a former three-star prospect from Graham High School in North Carolina, finished 15-of-18 passit ng for 254 yards and two touchdowns. A redshirt junior, Newman is trying to solidify a starting role in the Wake Clawfense.
In 2018, Newman threw for 1,083 yards with nine touchdowns and four interceptions. Newman played in six games in 2018 and averaged 7.7 yards per passing attempt. Dave Clawson’s offense has turned Wake from an also-ran into a winning program. The Demon Deacons finished 2018 with a 7-6 record.
James Blackman, QB, FSU
In Willie Taggart’s year on the job, the Seminoles have been a mess in many aspects- but especially at the quarterback position. Former starting quarterback Deondre Francois has been removed from the program and Blackman has the starting quarterback job to himself. Blackman is a tall, lanky pro-style passer who is a former three-star recruit. Over the past two seasons he’s thrown 24 touchdowns and 12 interceptions while averaging 7.9 yards per attempt.
In the spring game, Blackman finished 23-of-37 for 415 yards and three touchdowns. Considering FSU’s quarterback troubles the past two seasons, those are eye popping numbers. Also the FSU offensive line being a huge weak link against a good defense shows Blackman is the front runner for the position in 2019.
Bam Knight, RB, NC State
Knight is a true freshman early enrollee for the Wolfpack in the class of 2019. “Bam,” as he’s known, comes to NC State via Southern Nash High School in North Carolina. In the NC State spring game, Knight ripped off 139 rushing yards, 165 total yards, and scored on a 73-yard touchdown run for the Pack.
Bam is a four-star prospect who will obviously make an immediate impact for NC State and in the ACC in 2019. At Southern Nash, the six-foot, 190 pound youngster ran for 2,054 yards and 26 touchdowns in his senior season. As a junior, he ran for over 1800 yards and 27 touchdowns.
Sheridan Jones, DB, Clemson
Dabo Swinney doesn’t rebuild, he and his Clemson Tigers reload. Sheridan Jones is the latest example of a reload as the freshman defensive back logged seven tackles, a tackle for loss, a forced fumble and intercepted a pass for a 42-yard touchdown return in the 2019 spring game. Jones is a four-star defensive back out of Virginia.
The six-foot-one, 175 pound speedster was a consensus top-100 player coming out of Maury High School in the uber-competitive Norfolk area of VA. Jones is an early enrollee for the Tigers who played in the Under Armor All-American Game after putting up solid numbers as a two-way starter in high school.
The ACC needs a bounce-back year in 2019. Sure, the Clemson Tigers finished 15-0 with a freshman quarterback leading the way and dominated the Alabama Crimson Tide in the title game, but the rest of the field was quite weak. If FSU and Wake Forest can bounce back to eight or nine wins while NC State stays in the 9-10 win range, the conference will be much improved as a whole.
Part two of the spring playmakers re-cap will come out after the UVA spring game on April 27th.