[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 Big 12, how the ACC programs are trending post-spring, and some underrated players in the 2023 class. Welcome to 3-point stance!
— We continue to replace the stars and take a look at the Big 12 where quarterback is the question for a few.
Being Replaced: Caleb Williams/Spencer Rattler, QB, Oklahoma
Replacement: Dillon Gabriel
The former UCF standout is taking his final season to go to Norman and start for new coach Brent Venables. Obviously, it's going to be hard to live up to the Oklahoma quarterback standard that has been established over the past decade-plus, but if Gabriel is 100% healthy, don't count him out.
Being Replaced: Jalen Pitre & JT Woods, S, Baylor
Replacements: Christian Morgan, Devin Neal, Lorando Johnson
Pitre and Woods were arguably the best safety tandem in the nation last season, which is why they were both picked within the first 100 picks of the draft. Christian Morgan and Devin Neal were the starting pairing on the back end for the Bears this spring with Lorando Johnson in the "star" role, but don't discount four-star true freshman Alfonzo Allen, who has all the athleticism you could ask for at the position.
Being Replaced: Nik Bonitto, EDGE, Oklahoma
Replacement: Marcus Stripling
Stripling has put on some weight this offseason to bulk up and he looked very strong this spring because of it. He might not have the lightning-quick first step that Bonitto did, but he'll be in opposing backfields plenty this year.
Being Replaced: Marcus Rodriguez, LB, Oklahoma State
Replacement: Xavier Benson
Benson has had a circuitous route to Stillwater, having started his college career at Texas Tech before going to JUCO and finally ending up with the Cowboys this offseason. Like Rodriguez, Benson is a tackling machine - he led the NJCAA in tackles last season.
Being Replaced: Skylar Thompson, QB, Kansas State
Replacement: Adrian Martinez
Despite being injury-prone, Thompson was a very effective quarterback for the Wildcats. Martinez was at Nebraska for what seemed like an eternity, but if he's able to cut down on some of his turnover problems, he and Deuce Vaughn could be an absolutely electric backfield duo.
— The stock market sucks but our stock report for the Power Five does not. Here’s the ACC including Notre Dame.
Boston College: Up
Phil Jurkovic is back and the offensive line is still strong despite losing Zion Johnson. They're going to be a contender in the Atlantic.
Between last year's disappointment and some of Dabo Swinney's public comments, there is clearly something that isn't quite clicking at Clemson. However, having new voices in coordinator roles might be what this team needs in order to return the Tigers to the playoff.
Remember, this is just a look at the program since last season ended. And since the conclusion of last year, the Blue Devils made a much-needed change at head coach and have begun to add some quality pieces from the portal. It's a LONG way back for Mike Elko and Duke, but they've at least taken the first step.
Florida State: Down
Since we last saw the 'Noles on the field, they've been clowned by Jackson State on National Signing Day and continue to lose talent to the portal. 27 players have entered since the beginning of last season. That says a lot about the culture of the program.
Georgia Tech: Down
It's going to be hard to get a positive grade when you lose your best player to Alabama, so no surprise here that I'm down on the Yellow Jackets. They'll need to completely remake their offense.
Losing Tyler Harrell to Alabama means that we have to follow the same rules as we did with Georgia Tech. The Cardinals at least still have an above-average starter behind center in Malk Cunningham and an elite tight end in Marshon Ford.
Mario Cristobal is already cleaning up on the recruiting trail and in the portal, while the hype around Tyler Van Dyke seems to get bigger by the day. The 'Canes won't be true contenders at the national level until at least 2023, but the feeling around the program is almost universally positive.
NC State: Up
Having Ikem Ekwonu in the national spotlight around draft time did a lot to boost the notoriety of a program that is returning a lot of guys next season. There are a lot of reasons why they've got the third-best odds to win the ACC. Devin Leary could be one of the country's biggest breakout players this fall.
North Carolina: Down
There's still a lot of uncertainty surrounding who is going to replace Sam Howell at quarterback for the Tar Heels. How much longer is Mack Brown willing to stick around and rebuild again at his age?
Notre Dame: Up
The Irish are absolutely killing it on the recruiting trail, getting off to their best start in decades. Marcus Freeman is completely locked in and if they keep this going, they could finish with the nation's top class in 2023.
The biggest thing that Pitt was banking on in 2022 was Jordan Addison putting up numbers no matter who was behind center. But with Addison in the portal, the offense looks like it is going to be a shell of what it was last season.
Syracuse: Holding Steady
Sean Tucker returns as one of the top running backs in the country for the Orange. The 1-2 punch with Tucker and New Mexico State transfer Juwaun Price will be among the best in the conference.
There are a lot of positive vibes coming out of Charlottesville. Tony Elliott seems to have hit his stride quickly, and Brennan Armstrong looked very strong this spring. This offense should break all sorts of school records.
Virginia Tech: Up
Most teams that have a new head coach tend to be trending up, and that's the case here as Brent Pry takes over for Justin Fuente. Pry absolutely has the right energy for the Hokies and despite losing not an insignificant amount of talent in the portal, they still will be a tough out.
Wake Forest: Holding Steady
The Demon Deacons had one of their best seasons in modern history in 2021. Dave Clawson continues to make the most out of the talent he has on hand, and for this season, almost all of their major contributors from last year's team are back. Don't bet against them winning the Atlantic again.
— And finally, I gave you some surefire five stars in the 2023 class as we head towards my player rankings set for August. But what about some underrated players?
QB Christopher Vizzina — The Clemson commitment isn’t mentioned often in a talented QB class but he’s one of the top 3-4 to me.
LB Malik Bryant — I’ve always loved his ability to rush the passer and how well he works in space and I don’t think he gets enough respect.
DT Jamaal Jarrett — Trust me when I tell you, he’ll be pushing for a five-star ranking before all is said and done.
OT Johnathan Hughley — The state of Georgia is down a little this year but this is an elite tackle who will be in the five-star talk before long.
DB Jayden Bonsu — The Jersey safety will jump out at you on film if you watch him once. And then he gets better with each additional breakdown.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]