Tommy DeVito has been touted as Dino Babers’ golden child ever since he stepped on campus. He was one of the first recruits to sign with Syracuse when Babers took over and was the heir-apparent to Eric Dungey. In his first year as a starter, DeVito was somewhat underwhelming. Granted, he was being protected by the worst offensive line in the FBS and was sacked more than four times per game. Even with that fact, DeVito didn’t live up to his “golden child” status.
DeVito theoretically should take a step up this year. His offensive line should be better, but on the flip side his receiving options are depleted. Trishton Jackson isn’t donning orange, but instead left a year early to chase his professional dreams. Plus, a strong slot option in Sean Riley has graduated. Now, DeVito’s receiving options are Taj Harris, Nykeim Johnson, Cameron Jordan, Luke Benson, and Aaron Hackett. You can also toss in Abdul Adams and Jarveon Howard coming out of the backfield.
So, taking into account the better offensive line, but the depleted receiving corps, where does Tommy DeVito rank among ACC quarterbacks?
There are five tiers of QBs in the ACC. Personally, I have DeVito in the fourth. Here’s how I break them down.
Tier One: Trevor Lawrence (CLEM)
Trevor Lawrence is in a league of his own. He is the best quarterback in the ACC and in all of college basketball. There really isn’t any other explanation he needs.
Tier Two: Ian Book (ND), Sam Howell (UNC), D’Eriq King (MIA)
These three guys are clearly above the pack, but they just can’t compare to Lawrence. Book is in his fifth year with the Fighting Irish and is 20-3 as a starting QB. Howell is probably the second best QB in the conference after throwing 3,641 yards and 38 touchdowns as a true freshman last year. King transferred from Houston and is a scary dual-threat that can tear teams apart with both his arm and legs.
Tier Three: Sam Hartman (WF), Micale Cunningham (LOU), James Blackman (FSU), Hendon Hooker (VT)
This is where it can get interesting. You can’t really argue with those top four, but down here is more ambiguous. Sam Hartman is coming back from injury, but before going down he three 16 touchdowns in 2018 as a freshman. Cunningham is a prototypical Louisville quarterback that can outrun just about anyone. He isn’t as good as Lamar Jackson, but he is that type of player. Blackman hasn’t caught a break with the endless rotation of offensive coordinators through FSU, but he is absolutely talented. Hooker is just a very solid, smart QB that makes very few mistakes and can be relied upon down the stretch.
Tier Four: Kenny Pickett (PITT), Tommy DeVito (SYR), Chase Brice (DUKE)
The difference between tier three and tier four is talent around the quarterbacks and their decision making. Pickett just doesn’t have as much around him offensively as some of the other QBs above him. He’s not a bad player, but isn’t very impressive. DeVito has had some mental lapses and bad decisions, plus he doesn’t have that many options to throw it to this year. Brice has impressed me, but he doesn’t have the arm or talent to make it into a higher tier.
Tier Five: Devin Leary (NCST), James Graham (GT), Brennan Armstrong (UV), Dennis Grosel (BC)
Tier five is the bottom feeders. Just like the top four quarterbacks in the ACC are very clear, the bottom four are easy to pick as well. Leary, Graham, Armstrong, and Grosel haven’t proven much and aren’t catch-your-eye QBs.
DeVito is currently in tier four, but he has the talent and arm to make it into tier three. It is pretty much impossible for him to bump all the way up to tier two (if he does Syracuse is going undefeated). If he has some more time in the pocket and can make the right decisions, he could play his way up. It is just difficult to think about that because of the pass catchers at his disposal.
Agree? Disagree? Do you think DeVito should be somewhere else in these tiers? Tweet your thoughts to us @OrangeFizz.