The ACC’s quarterback class will have a vastly different look in 2024.

Gone are soon-to-be 1st-round NFL Draft pick Drake Maye and Jordan Travis, a serious Heisman Trophy contender before suffering a season-altering injury. Other familiar names, including Riley Leonard, Tyler Van Dyke, Garrett Shrader and Brennan Armstrong, are also gone, having moved on to other schools or run out of eligibility.

So who’s left to take their place?

It’s a group headlined by the likes of Georgia Tech’s Haynes King, who led the league with 26 touchdown passes last year, and emerging dual-threat stars Kyron Drones of Virginia Tech and Thomas Castellanos of Boston College. Players who have proven their ability but yet to have found their way into the national spotlight.

And you never know who else might step up to join them between now and the start of the new season. A lot can still change with the transfer portal set to open back up again in April.

At least for now, let’s take a peek inside the quarterback room of all 14 current ACC teams to at least get any idea of what to expect.

Boston College

Whether by design or accident, Jeff Hafley hit on a winner when he sent Castellanos in to replace opening-game starter Emmett Morehead less than a quarter into the 2023 season. The Central Florida transfer wasn’t able to rally the Eagles from behind in a loss to Northern Illinois. But he proved to be the catalyst for a campaign that saw BC go 7-6 while improving its win total by 4 games over the previous year.

Castellanos is a true dual-threat quarterback who ranked third in the ACC in rushing with 1,128 yards while passing for 2,248 yards and accounting for a combined 28 touchdowns. He was especially effective in leading the Eagles to a Fenway Bowl win against SMU.

The first option behind Castellanos in the event of injury will likely be redshirt freshman Jacobe Robinson, a 4-star recruit from Henderson, Tex., who gave a promising performance in last year’s spring game but has yet to take a snap in an actual game. Hafley also added 3-star North Carolina native Johnathan Montague as a member of his early signing period recruiting class.

Clemson

Cade Klubnik got off to a shaky start but improved steadily over the course of his 1st season as the Tigers’ starter. His performance in rallying Clemson to beat Kentucky with a last-minute touchdown in the Gator Bowl provides optimism that the highly-touted junior might be ready to fully blossom in 2024. Especially after a 2nd full offseason working with offensive coordinator Garrett Riley.

While Klubnik is the unquestioned leader of the Tigers’ offense, he’ll at least have some competition to keep him sharp next season. Riley and coach Dabo Swinney are high on redshirt freshman Christopher Vizzina, and it wouldn’t take much for them to get him into a game to see what he can do.

With last year’s backup Hunter Helms having transferred to Rhode Island and no quarterbacks having been signed in the current recruiting cycle, the other other options in an emergency would be either walkon Trent Pearman or graduate student Paul Tyson, who is spending his final season of eligibility as a student-assistant coach.

Duke

With Riley Leonard having become the latest ACC quarterback to head to Notre Dame, Manny Diaz’s 1st spring practice with the Blue Devils could be an interesting one with 3 viable candidates battling it out for the starting job.

Sophomore Grayson Loftis is the incumbent. He started 2023 as a 3rd-stringer, but because of injuries ended the year having led Duke to 3 wins in its final games. He finished with 1,006 passing yards, 8 touchdowns and a victory against Troy in the Birmingham Bowl.

The other holdover candidate, redshirt sophomore Henry Belin IV, helped Duke beat NC State in his only start before going down with an injury of his own shortly after replacing an injured Leonard the following week at Florida State.

One or both, however, could presumably hit the transfer portal after spring practice thanks to the arrival of transfer Maalik Murphy from Texas.

A former 4-star prospect with 3 years of eligibility remaining, Murphy is ranked as the No. 4 quarterback in the transfer portal by 247 Sports. That, plus the fact that he is the only quarterback on the roster recruited by the current coach, makes him the favorite to take the 1st snap next Aug. 30 when the Blue Devils open their season against Elon.

Florida State

The Seminoles’ quarterback situation has been the hot topic of conversation in college football since Selection Sunday. Needless to say, true freshman Brock Glenn didn’t acquit himself well after getting thrown into action because of injuries to star Jordan Travis and Tate Rodemaker.

His deer-in-headlights performance against Georgia in the Orange Bowl proved that Glenn, a former 4-star recruit, is nowhere near ready to play at a high enough level to keep FSU in the national conversation. So while he gets another year of seasoning, FSU plucked Oregon State’s DJ Uiagalelei off the transfer portal as a 1-year stopgap.

Uiagalelei had a productive season with the Beavers in 2023 and showed flashes during his 3 previous seasons at Clemson. But he remains something of a question mark because of his inconsistency and sometimes iffy decision-making.

With Rodemaker having transferred to Southern Miss and AJ Duffy leaving for San Diego State, the only other scholarship quarterback currently on the roster is recently signed 4-star prospect Luke Kromenhoek of Savannah, Ga.

Georgia Tech

The Yellow Jackets have arguably the ACC’s best returning quarterback in King. It took the Texas A&M transfer until the final week of fall camp to win a 3-way battle for the starting job, but he quickly proved to be the right choice. He threw for 2,842 yards while adding 737 more on the ground in guiding Tech to its 1st winning season since 2018. He set a program record with 37 combined passing and rushing touchdowns.

Zach Pyron, who started several games as a freshman in 2022 and pushed King to the limit, remains as the backup while the 3rd member of last year’s trio – Zach Gibson – has moved across Atlanta to play at Georgia State next season.

Joining King and Pyron in the quarterback room for 2024 is recent signee Aaron Philo, a 3-star prospect who broke Trevor Lawrence’s Georgia high school state record for passing yardage.

Louisville

Jeff Brohm is a former quarterback who enjoyed a successful career at Louisville before playing several seasons in the NFL. So he knows a talented passer when he sees one. He also knows when a quarterback isn’t ready to step in and lead a team.

That might be the case with Pierce Clarkson. The crown jewel of his 1st recruiting class with the Cardinals last year, Clarkson is a 4-star prospect who was tagged as Louisville’s quarterback of the future.

But just in case that future doesn’t begin in 2024, Brohm has brought in an insurance policy Tyler Shough. The 7th-year transfer who has played at Oregon and Texas Tech, Shough played in only 4 games for the Red Raiders last year before undergoing season-ending back surgery.

Also in the mix is redshirt sophomore Brady Allen, who came over to the Cardinals with Brohm from Purdue. He served as Jack Plummer’s primary backup in 2023, completing the only pass he threw during a 56-0 rout of Murray State.

Miami

The Hurricanes have been the drama kings of the ACC for a long time. So it only makes sense that they’re the team most likely to have a messy quarterback controversy heading into next season.

The potential soap opera figures to hinge on the health of sophomore Emory Williams, who was well on the way toward winning the starting job when he suffered a “significant injury” to his left arm late in Miami’s close loss to Florida State. Jacurri Brown, who started 2 games as a true freshman in 2022 and was being redshirted last season, then added intrigue to the story by stepping in and playing well in the Hurricanes’ Pinstripe Bowl game against Rutgers,

The competition between Williams and Brown this spring already was going to be intriguing. But then coach Mario Cristobal spiced things up even more by adding veteran transfer Reese Poffenbarger from FCS Albany. Poffenbarger threw for 6,613 yards and 60 touchdowns with only 17 interceptions in his 2 seasons with the Great Danes.

Three-star recruit Judd Anderson will have the best seat in the house for the competition as a freshman almost certain to redshirt in 2024.

North Carolina

Mack Brown faces the unenviable task of replacing soon-to-be top-5 NFL Draft pick Drake Maye.
Redshirt sophomore Conner Harrell showed off a strong arm, had some nice runs and displayed some remarkable physical toughness under difficult circumstances in the Duke’s Mayo Bowl against West Virginia – his first significant playing time. But the first crack at the starting job will likely go to Texas A&M transfer Max Johnson.

Brown wasted little time going after Johnson, whose brother Jake has also joined the Tar Heels as a tight end, picking him up almost as soon as the portal opened. He played in 8 games for the Aggies last season, throwing for 1,452 yards and 9 touchdowns after starting his college career at LSU.

The other 2 quarterbacks on the roster are developmental projects – redshirt freshman Tad Hudson, who threw for 76 touchdowns during his high school career – and early enrollee Michael Merdinger, a 3-star recruit from Parkland, Fla.

NC State

Dave Doeren secured his starter for next season when he plucked 3-time Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year Grayson McCall off the portal. Not only has the graduate transfer thrown for more than 10,000 yards and 85 touchdowns in his 5 college seasons, he’s also run for 1,113 with 18 scores. He spent the past season playing for former State offensive coordinator Tim Beck with Coastal Carolina.

While McCall is poised to be the trigger man for the Wolfpack’s revamped offense, the depth chart behind him is full of question marks.

Four-star recruit Cedrick Bailey has enrolled early and will go through spring practice, setting him up to be the primary backup – although the plan will likely be to try and redshirt him. The only other scholarship quarterback on the roster is redshirt freshman Lex Thomas, whose brothers Thayer and Drake both enjoyed standout careers with the Wolfpack.

Because of the inexperience in the room, Doeren might bring in another veteran to serve as an insurance policy. He previously flirted with Marshall transfer Cam Fancher, who visited State before eventually signing with Florida Atlantic.

Pittsburgh

If nothing else, Pat Narduzzi and his new offensive coordinator Kade Bell will have plenty of options as they try to bounce back from last year’s 3-9 disaster. Barring any departures between now and the start of spring practice, they’ll have 5 quarterback candidates to evaluate heading into 2024.

Juniors Christian Veilleux and Nate Yarnell both started games last season,, with Yarnell producing better results, though admittedly with a smaller sample size. Veilleux was under center for Pitt’s upset of Louisville. But he completed only 51% of his passes while throwing more interceptions (8) than touchdowns (7) before being benched. Yarnell started the final 2 games, going 1-1 with a .661 completion percentage, 4 touchdowns and only 1 pick.

Redshirt freshman Ty Dieffenbach was on the team but did not appear in a game while Pittsburgh native Julian Dugger was added as a member of Narduzzi’s newest recruiting class. Both are 3-star prospects.

The highest-rated member of the group is also the newest. Eli Holstein was a 4-star recruit at Alabama who was redshirted as a freshman. He comes to the Panthers as their 3rd transfer quarterback in as many years. They swung and missed with the 1st 2, Kedon Slovis and Phil Jurkovec. A 3rd strike could mean Narduzzi is out after a decade as Pitt’s coach.

Syracuse

The Orange’s 2023 quarterback situation was such a mess that a guy wearing No. 89 and started the year as a tight end had to take a majority of the snaps during the 2nd half of the season. That shouldn’t be the case in new coach Fran Brown’s debut season thanks to the arrival of Ohio State transfer Kyle McCord, who threw for more than 3,000 yards for the Buckeyes last year.

Career backup Carlos Del Rio-Wilson will fight it out for No. 2 on the depth chart with redshirt freshman Braden Davis, who saw his 1st action in a mopup role during the Oranges’ Boca Raton Bowl loss to South Florida, while incoming freshman Jakhari Williams will also figure into the mix.

Virginia

The Cavaliers have more than their share of issues, but quarterback isn’t among them. Both returners, senior Tony Muskett and sophomore Anthony Colandrea performed well under difficult circumstances during 2023 and are poised to stage a spirited battle for the starting job next season.

Muskett completed 63% for 1,031 yards and 6 touchdowns in limited action between injuries. Colandrea showed remarkable poise as a true freshman pressed into service with a 62.6 completion percentage, 1,958 yards and 12 touchdowns.

As good as coach Tony Elliott should feel about his quarterback room, he’s not taking any chances going into what figures to be a make-or-break 3rd season in Charlottesville. So he’s hedged his bets by bringing in a 3rd candidate in transfer in Gavin Frakes from New Mexico State.

Virginia Tech

Baylor transfer Kyron Drones took over the starting job in Week 3 and became an immediate dual-threat revelation. His playmaking ability both as a passer and runner energized the Hokies offense and helped lead the team to its 1st winning season since 2019.

He finished the season with 2,085 passing yards, 818 rushing yards and a combined 22 touchdowns while throwing only 2 interceptions. His game-changing ability was on full display in an MVP performance against Tulane at the Military Bowl.

Redshirt freshman William “Pop” Watson will back Drones up after a learning experience of a rookie season in which he saw action in 2 games and was suspended for 1 because of a missed curfew. Redshirt sophomore Dylan Wittke and new recruit Davi Belfort round out the Hokies’ quarterback quartet.

Wake Forest

The Deacons struggled to replace Sam Hartman and it led to the end of their 7-year bowl streak.

Mitch Griffis, Hartman’s designated heir apparent, wasn’t the answer and he has since transferred to Marshall. Neither was Santino Marucci, who led a late rally to beat Pitt in his only start. He’s also gone. Michael Kern, a 5th-year player who finally got his shot late in the season, is the only holdover.

He played well enough in losses to NC State, Notre Dame and Syracuse to earn a shot at competing for the starting job this spring. His primary competition will be transfer Hank Bachmeier. A 6th-year player who started his career at Boise State, Bachmeier ranked 3rd in Conference USA with 2,058 passing yards for Louisiana Tech.

The only other scholarship quarterbacks on the roster are redshirt freshman Charlie Gilliam newly signed recruit Jeremy Hecklinski, 3-star prospects from Clawson’s 2 most recent recruiting classes.