Ranking the ACC's 5 best quarterbacks so far in 2021
It’s still early in the 2021 season, but there’s already been plenty of excellent quarterback play on display in the ACC.
Several new names have emerged as potential all-conference contenders while others have fallen off the radar. There’s still time to go before the end of the regular season, but the best quarterbacks in the ACC are starting to reveal themselves.
Here’s a look at the top five quarterbacks in the ACC so far:
5. Malik Cunningham, Louisville
Malik Cunningham has had an up-and-down season for the Cardinals, but he belongs in the top five of this list. Cunningham has maintained his passing efficiency this year while cutting down on turnovers — he has just 2 interceptions so far this year. Cunningham has also been electric as a runner, rushing for 347 yards and 10 touchdowns on 76 carries.
4. Sam Hartman, Wake Forest
Wake Forest has been one of the biggest surprises in college football this season, and Sam Hartman is a major reason why. Hartman has completed over 63 percent of his passes for 1,616 yards, 14 touchdowns and just 3 interceptions. He’s on pace to set career highs across the board and has a chance to lead Wake Forest to its first 10-win season since 2006.
3. Sam Howell, North Carolina
Sam Howell was supposed to be a Heisman contender, but things have gone off the rails for North Carolina. The Tar Heels have struggled to replace key skill players this year, and their offensive line has underperformed. Still, Howell has been solid — he’s third in the ACC in passer efficiency rating and is averaging 8.8 yards per attempt.
2. Brennan Armstrong, Virginia
With Pickett leading the way, Brennan Armstrong’s 2021 campaign has gone under the radar. Armstrong leads all Power 5 quarterbacks with a staggering 403.4 passing yards per game and has an acceptable 19-to-6 TD-to-INT ratio. In a normal year, he’d have the inside track to first team All ACC honors.
1. Kenny Pickett, Pittsburgh
In his fifth year of eligibility, Kenny Pickett is breaking out onto the national stage. Through five games, Pickett is completing 69.8 percent of his passes for 1,934 yards, 21 touchdowns and just 1 interception. He’s already smashed through his career-high in touchdowns and is on pace to set new benchmarks throughout the board. His passer efficiency rating of 181.8 is on the doorstep of elite status in college football history.