[vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image source="featured_image" img_size="large"][vc_column_text]National Columnist Mike Farrell is here with replacement stars in the ACC, how the Pac-12 programs are trending post spring and some surefire five stars for the class of 2023.
— Let’s continue to replace the stars around college football with a look at the ACC (and Notre Dame).
Being Replaced: Ikem Ekwonu, OT, NC State
Replacement: Bryson Speas
Speas kicks over from right tackle, where he has 26 starts and 49 total appearances under his belt. He allowed 4 sacks in 320 pass-blocking snaps and had only one penalty.
Being Replaced: Sam Howell, QB, UNC
Replacement: Jacolby Criswell/Drake Maye
Criswell and Maye split snaps in the Tar Heels' spring game and it will be a battle in the Fall. No matter who starts, however, they've still got Josh Downs to throw to, who is one of the best in the country at receiver.
Being Replaced: Andrew Booth Jr., CB, Clemson
Replacement: Sheridan Jones/Fred Davis
Both Booth and fellow starter Mario Goodrich are gone from last year's team, and the Tigers need a couple of new faces to step up. Jones lined up exclusively on the outside last season, while Davis has more experience in the slot.
Being Replaced: Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame
Replacement: Brandon Joseph
Okay, they aren’t *technically* in the ACC but who cares? The safety position for the Fighting Irish continues to be one of strength, this year because of the transfer acquisition of 2020 All-American Brandon Joseph. The former Northwestern standout has a different skill set than the first-rounder Hamilton but can make some serious plays.
Being Replaced: Zion Johnson, OG, Boston College
Replacement: Finn Dirstine
Johnson was arguably the best guard in the nation last season, so it's going to take a big effort to replace him. Lucky for the Eagles, however, they've got a lot of other good pieces around Dirstine, so they can probably work around him as he gets up to speed.
— It’s obvious one team in the Pac-12 is on the rise when it comes to the stock report but how about the entire conference?
Arizona: Holding Steady
Jedd Fisch is in the middle of a massive rebuild at Arizona, so it's ready hard to judge progress only one year in. But you can see the team playing harder and doing their best to bring in better talent. It's the first time in years you can see a glimmer of hope for the Wildcats.
Arizona State: Down
Herm Edwards had this program going in the right direction for a minute, but it's been a mess for the past year or so. There's a lot of internal turmoil which has spilled onto the field. With Jayden Daniels transferring out to LSU, there are way more question marks than answers in Tempe.
Cal: Holding Steady
I've often sung the praises of Justin Wilcox, and I think rightfully so. He's a great defensive mind that brings it every week. The North is as wide open as any division in the sport, and the Golden Bears can absolutely make a run if they can get some solid QB play from Jack Plummer.
Colorado: Holding Steady
Karl Dorrell was a bit of a surprise hire last offseason, but the Buffaloes did better than anticipated in 2021 and should have about the same level of talent in 2022. However, it's going to take a lot of misfortune for the teams in front of them in the South Division before they can make a run.
Oregon: Holding Steady
Dan Lanning did a really nice job this spring and has gotten off to a good start on the recruiting trail too. He's not afraid of big recruiting battles either, which is a good thing, because with USC recruiting the way they have been, there are going to be a lot of formidable battles in the near future on the trail.
Oregon State: Down
The Beavers have lost nine players to the portal while only gaining one this offseason. There are still plenty of holes on this team, especially on the defensive side of the ball.
The Cardinal don't have the same juice they did a couple of seasons ago. Tanner McKee is a hot name as far as quarterback prospects go for next year's draft, but he's going to have to take a couple of big steps forward if they're going to return to prominence.
Dorian Thompson-Robinson and Zach Charbonnet both returning for another season is huge for an offense that really hit its stride in 2021. The Bruins will be in the top five nationally in rushing offense in 2022.
Lincoln Riley continues to be one of the most polarizing figures in college football. But no matter how you feel about his approach, he's getting results. USC is going to be a national monster yet again in a very short amount of time.
Utah: Holding Steady
The defending conference champs definitely lost a couple of key pieces to graduation, the draft, and the portal, but Kyle Whittingham has done a good job keeping up the momentum from last season.
There was nowhere else to go after the Jimmy Lake debacle. Hiring Kalen DeBoer was a solid start, but they're going to need to get back on the right foot on the recruiting trail.
Washington State: Up
Cameron Ward is one of the best additions in the portal, and their offense is going to be reminiscent of the best Mike Leach teams from the past decade. They should be able to push for a West Division championship this year.
— I haven’t come out with my rankings for 2023 and I’m hoping for August for a full release. But for now here are 10 guys I feel very confident about being five stars in this class.
QB Arch Manning — I always get asked if he’s as good as the hype. He’s not but no one is. He’s a very good quarterback with amazing knowledge of the game and that gives him a chance to be special.
DE Nyckoles Harbor — He runs in the 10.3 range in the 100 meters at 225 pounds. He could be Micah Parsons but faster. He lacks the same instincts at this stage but he’s a freak.
QB Malachi Nelson — He’s overshadowed by Manning but could be better and should be amazing under Lincoln Riley.
DL David Hicks — A big, agile lineman who can play end or tackle is always at a premium and he’s the best in this class.
OT Kadyn Proctor — I love everything about from his set to his hands and he will be special.
DE Keon Keeley — I have him a little higher than some but I think he’s going to be a big rush end who can beat you with speed or power.
WR Carnell Tate — It’s a good receiver year and the position is at a premium but he’s the most polished I’ve seen.
CB Cormani McClain — The best corner in this class so far with his size and natural instincts.
WR Shelton Sampson Jr. — In a class of average-size receivers he’s got an amazing ceiling as a tall, angular pass catcher.
DE Samuel M’Pemba — He could play offense if he wants, we all know this but his quickness off the edge and the way he flattens is special.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]