DEYLAN BUNTYN Forty pounds heavier than when he left high school, the 6'4", 330-pound junior defensive tackle rose to 22nd in Rivals.com's juco prospect rankings during his two years at New Mexico Military Institute. He'll crack the rotation and leave an imprint.
QUINTON PAYTON Though he had just seven catches for 107 yards in 2011, the 6'4", 210-pound junior wideout has the size that speedier receivers Tobais Palmer and Bryan Underwood (both 5'11") lack. Payton should emerge as a reliable target for Glennon over the middle.
ONE OF the ACC's juiciest showdowns takes place not on Saturdays but on the days in between, when senior quarterback Mike Glennon and All-America junior corner David Amerson face off during Wolfpack practices. "It's nothing but love," says Amerson, who gives Glennon occasional prepractice warnings to avoid his territory. "Sometimes I get the best of him, sometimes he gets the best of me." Left to torment others, both got the better of their opponents last season, when Glennon tossed 31 touchdowns and Amerson set school and conference records with 13 picks. "Mike thinks he can throw the ball anywhere," says coach Tom O'Brien, "and David thinks he can intercept it anywhere." They are both right.
AMERSON ISN'T the only elite DB that Glennon must face in those intrasquad aerial battles. Safeties Brandan Bishop and Earl Wolff and corner C.J. Wilson—all of them seniors, all of them returning starters—fill out one of the nation's top secondaries. They will be stretched, however, playing behind a linebacking corps—less experienced, far less of a sure thing—that will have to learn quickly on the job. Expect Glennon & Co. to put up enough points behind a deep, experienced offensive line to win their share of shootouts and challenge heavy favorites Florida State and Clemson for the Atlantic Division crown.