ACC Championship Prospect Breakdown

ACC Championship Prospect Breakdown

2022

ACC Championship Prospect Breakdown

By

Via Anderson Independent Mail-USA TODAY Sports

The ACC had a chance for the playoffs, then Clemson went out and lost to Notre Dame and South Carolina. UNC and Heisman candidate Drake Maye were there to catch them, and had a strong shot before losing to Georgia Tech and NC State to end the year. Needless to say, they’re likely out of the running right now but this game will feature a ton of NFL caliber prospects, sadly not many matching up vs each other. The Clemson front four, which is more like front 6 with the talent they have, should have a strong game vs a weaker UNC offensive line. Most of them are known prospects but it’ll be interesting to see how they play vs a high powered versatile offense in UNC. For UNC, they’ll have the same task vs a strong armed QB for Clemson. The Tigers receivers are young but it’s still a good matchup for the duo of Tony Grimes and Storm Duck. 

Clemson: 

EDGE Myles Murphy

Murphy is one of the best pass rushers in college, and he’s not even the best on his team, which just shows how good this Clemson front four is starters to bottom. Murphy has an electric first step, great upper body strength, and can win by converting power into speed or with a magnitude of pass rush moves. He has 92 pressures, 22 hits, 20 sacks, 37 tackles for loss, six forced fumbles, five batted passes and 63 stops over his 34 game career. Murphy will have a tough matchup with UNC LT Asim Richards. 

EDGE KJ Henry

Henry is the starter opposite of Murphy and compliments him insanely well. He’s posted 99 pressures, 59 hurries, 28 hits, 13 sacks, 28 TFL, and 11 breakups with 60 stops over 1676 career snaps. Henry is less of a speed rusher and more focuses on winning with power and motor which allows him to be an excellent run defender as well. He’s in the midst of a breakout season which has seen the 6-4, 260 pound lineman put up 50 pressures and four sacks. 

DT Bryan Breese

Breese has a fantastic blend of power and speed which allows him to win from the three-tech and defensive end positions. He suffered an ACL tear in 2021 which seemingly has limited his explosiveness but he still has done a fantastic job managing to flip towards a power centered approach. Breese has only played 856 snaps at Clemson and might come back but as a projected top five pick, I doubt he does.

DT Tyler Davis

Davis was a sleeper in 2022 before opting to go back to college. He’s a natural pass rusher with 89 pressures, 15 sacks, 24 tackles for loss, 21 QB hits, 58 hurries and 67 stops in his career over just 1476 snaps. Davis plays the run incredibly well using his power and frame to just swallow entire gaps. He can add a much needed element as a pass rusher also. He wins with sheer power and the NFL is going to love him. 

DT Ruke Orhorhoro

Orhorhoro may choose to return to college but he’s in a breakout year and his stock might never be higher. He’s 6-5, 300 pounds and can rush off the edge with insane lateral dip. He’s incredibly well rounded and loves to play the run. His pass rush isn’t awful either with 42 pressures, seven sacks, and 28 hurries in 637 snaps. Orhorhoro has the traits and required strength to play well in the NFL. 

LB Trenton Simpson

Simpson is the best linebacker in the class, a career 157 tackles, 22 TFL, 13 sacks, five breakups and three forced fumbles in just 32 games, Simpson is on a trajectory to be an NFL superstar. He has elite sideline to sideline speed, diagnoses run fits extremely well, and has fluid hips, instincts, and ball skills to play in coverage. He can run with slot receivers and cover tight ends one on one. He’s allowed just 380 career yards off 70 targets and only two touchdowns. He also has experience as an edge rusher with over 370 snaps played as a pass rusher. 

 

UNC: 

WR Josh Downs

Downs is overrated but good-he’s a slot receiver with an explosive skill set. He tends to struggle with drops and doesn’t do much after the catch, but he can get open incredibly quick and will make you pay if you leave him unbracketed in one on one coverage. He has a career 2383 yards, 22 touchdowns off 191 receptions in only 17 games. Downs needs to refine his route running and control the drops, but he’ll be a high end slot weapon in the NFL. 

EDGE Noah Taylor

Taylor is a converted LB and pass rusher. He tends to do a mix of both and it works out well for him. He doesn’t have the conventional size of an off-ball linebacker at 6-6, 240 pounds, but he’s not twitchy enough to be a full time edge rusher either. Taylor’s versatility will be coveted, especially as well as he plays the pass and run. In his career he has played 2371 snaps with 1300 coming at defensive end and the rest split between slot corner and linebacker. He’s recorded 197 tackles, 35 tackles for loss, 17 sacks, three interceptions, two touchdowns, 12 breakups, two forced fumbles, 83 pressures, and 101 stops since 2019. 

CB Tony Grimes

Grimes is a good nickel corner, he’s got the tackling and ball skills to really make an impact in a highly touted position. His coverage speed deep will limit the impact he can make as a deep corner though. He’s allowed 23 receptions on just 45 targets for 328 yards and three touchdowns this season. 

CB Storm Duck

Outside of having a fantastic name, Duck is a good player also. He’s been targeted a whopping 82 times this season yet he’s only allowed 520 yards on 44 receptions, three touchdowns, and a 88.2 QBR. He added three interceptions and 12 breakups also. Duck is a true boundary corner and can play well in man or zone coverage. He does get beat on double moves, but he loves to play the receiver and is a natural ballhawk with five interceptions and 29 breakups over his career.

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