As part of our 2012 season review, we’re counting down the top 25 players in the ACC this season, from no. 25 to no. 1. Obviously these lists are always completely subjective — and thus completely bulletproof, obviously — so feel free to weigh in with your own thoughts in the comments, too.
Okay, I’m a homer. This happens from time to time. But can anyone really doubt the importance or success of Ryan Nassib’s senior season? When we look back at former head coach Doug Marrone’s four-year tenure at Syracuse, it’s likely that beyond the recaptured success of the program, Nassib’s name will be the first thing to come to mind. After playing minimally as a freshman, his three full seasons as starting quarterback were a clinic on how to develop talent over the course of a player’s college career. While at times, he’s made questionable decisions (what college QB hasn’t?) and he still has that pesky issue of not putting any touch on the ball, Nassib grew into a leadership role, and was the unquestioned focal point of the team by the time his final game (fittingly, against West Virginia) wrapped up. As for lasting legacy, the passer leaves Syracuse after throwing for nearly 9,200 yards (3,749 this season) and 70 TDs (26 in 2012). He earned two bowl victories for a team that hadn’t won a postseason game since 2001. And again, he was the face of a program revival, winning 21 games over a three-year stretch (following a five-year stretch where the won just 13 total).
Next year, Syracuse will be hard-pressed to replace him, but he’ll be on to bigger and better things in the NFL. The aforementioned issue with taking a little off the ball is the only knock most scouts will bring up, but based on the guy’s smarts and the Buffalo Bills’ need for a passer, there’s even a chance that Nassib becomes a top-10 selection at the NFL Draft.