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Around The ACC: Wide Receivers

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The ACC will have a nice mix of veteran stars and up and coming youth.

NCAA Football: Syracuse at Miami Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

WIDE RECEIVERS

AHMMON RICHARDS - MIAMI

Miami’s offense was solid last season, but it hasn’t really been fully weaponized yet. One of the reasons it didn’t get there last year is the fact that Ahmmon Richards wasn’t fully healthy. Richards is a big time talent that can make big plays down the field and take the top off of the defense. He played in 8 games last season but wasn’t fully healthy for any of them. Reports are that he’s healthy again, so I think he’ll pick up where he left off after a very good freshman season two years ago.

KELVIN HARMON - NC STATE

NC State lost a lot of talent to the draft this past year but they do return one of the best group of receivers in the country. That group is led by Kelvin Harmon out wide. Harmon has a great ability to use his size and athleticism to make contested catches. He has also shown the ability to get behind the defense and be a good deep threat. I expect NC State to push the ball down the field more often this year and for their passing game to be the focus with a completely new rushing attack taking over.

JAYLEN SMITH - LOUISVILLE

Louisville will be breaking in a new quarterback now that Lamar Jackson is in the NFL. No player factors in more with that transition than Jaylen Smith. He’s the veteran of a very good group of receivers and he can line up at any spot even though he has the size of an outside receiver at 6-4/220.

One of the things to look out for with Louisville’s receivers this year is whether or not they can make plays after the catch. Bobby Petrino’s offense is built to create big plays for receivers, but with some question marks around the running game, Smith can make a big impact if he can create those plays himself.

GREG DORTCH - WAKE FOREST

The word “dynamic” comes to mind when you think of Greg Dortch. Dortch is a small slot receiver that can play outside in Wake Forest’s scheme. He is utilized on screens and quick plays to the outside but he is really in Wake’s RPO game. When they finally got their running game going last year, they were really able to exploit their balance and Dortch found a lot of open space behind the linebackers. Now that he’s healthy again, I would expect the offense to key on different things they can do with him because their quarterback situation is unsettled as of now.

ANTHONY RATLIFF-WILLIAMS - UNC

Mr. Versatility for North Carolina is Anthony Ratliff-Williams. North Carolina had a revolving door at quarterback last season but Ratliff-Williams played well no matter who was throwing the ball. He accounted for 10 total touchdowns with 6 receiving, 2 on kick returns, and 2 throwing the ball. It almost makes you wonder why they didn’t use him to run the ball on sweeps and reverses. With UNC suspending a few key players as well as Larry Fedora on the hot seat, Ratliff-Williams will likely only see an increased role on offense.

BEST OF THE REST

Dez Fitzpatrick - Louisville

Tee Higgins - Clemson

T.J. Rahming - Duke

Nyqwan Murray - FSU

Hunter Renfrow - Clemson

TIGHT ENDS

TOMMY SWEENEY - BOSTON COLLEGE

Boston College has the potential to take a big step forward this year on offense. AJ Dillon is entering his second year and he feels like he will be a much better player after a great freshman year. In order to do that, he will need BC’s passing game to hold their own. Anthony Brown doesn’t have a ton of playmakers outside but Tommy Sweeney is very reliable at tight end. Sweeney is also a big play threat as he has good speed after the catch and he can make people miss in the open field.

EVAN BUTTS - VIRGINIA

Virginia’s offense has been a work in progress for the better part of a decade and 2018 looks to be a year that will follow that trend. However, Evan Butts is a reliable option for the offense on third downs and other short yardage types of situations. The question is whether or not the offense will utilize him. Butts provides a big target, but he only had 6 total catches last season on third downs.

RAVIAN PIERCE - SYRACUSE

Syracuse got a big recruiting win last year when Ravian Pierce chose them over LSU, Mississippi State, and a few other SEC schools. Pierce has a great blend of size and speed but the Syracuse offense doesn’t utilize the tight end position as much as some other schools. That will likely change this year with them trying to break in a whole new group of receivers. Pierce should have an expanded role and could have a big year.

BEST OF THE REST

Milan Richard - Clemson

Brandon Fritts - UNC