football Edit

Where Devin Leary stands in PFF's ACC quarterback rankings

Pro Football Focus released its 1-130 preseason college football quarterback rankings this week, and the list displayed the strength at the position in the ACC.

The conference had three quarterbacks in the national top 10, and nine ACC signal callers were placed inside the top 50.

NC State redshirt sophomore quarterback Devin Leary came in at No. 44 nationally. He received the ninth-highest ranking among quarterbacks from the ACC.

Leary was the Wolfpack's anticipated starter entering the 2020 campaign, but a prolonged COVID-19 quarantine in August sidelined him for the first six quarters of the season.

He went on to start three contests, all of which the Pack won, before suffering a season-ending leg break in October against Duke.

NC State Wolfpack football Devin Leary
Redshirt sophomore quarterback Devin Leary made three starts in 2020 before suffering a season-ending leg break in October. (Ethan Hyman/News & Observer)

Preseason ACC quarterback rankings per PFF (National Rank)

1. Sam Howell, North Carolina (2)

2. D'Eriq King, Miami (3)

3. D.J. Uiagalelei, Clemson (8)

4. McKenzie Milton, Florida State (16)

5. Brennan Armstrong, Virginia (18)

6. Sam Hartman, Wake Forest (21)

7. Phil Jurkovec, Boston College (30)

8. Malik Cunningham, Louisville (34)

9. Devin Leary, NC State (44)

10. Kenny Pickett, Pittsburgh (52)

11. Braxton Burmeister, Virginia Tech (61)

12. Tommy Devito, Syracuse (95)

13. Jeff Sims, Georgia Tech (100)

14. Gunnar Holmberg, Duke (124)

"Leary looked like a new passer before getting hurt in 2020," Anthony Treash of PFF said. "In four games, he earned a 79.2 passing grade, which was 22 points better than his 2019 mark. He notched at least four big-time throws in each of his three starts. Leary also made some nice throws down the sideline and produced a deep passing grade that was on pace to be a top-10 mark in college football.

"The only question is: Can he throw over the middle of the field at the intermediate level? He made a couple of nice throws to lead his receivers across the field in that range, but he'll need to sustain that success over the course of a full year in 2021."

In four appearances in 2020, Leary completed 60 percent of his passes for 890 yards, eight touchdowns and two interceptions.

NC State went 8-4 last season after a disappointing 4-8 campaign in 2019. The Wolfpack won a program-record seven conference games and went 5-1 in Carter-Finley Stadium.

Including Leary, the Pack returns nine starters on offense and 10 starters of defense. NC State will open the 2021 season against South Florida on Thursday, Sept. 2 at 7:30 p.m.

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