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Top 10 non-draft-eligible players in the ACC

With the Jan. 18 deadline for underclassmen to declare for the NFL Draft looming, a handful of ACC players have important decisions to make regarding their futures on the gridiron. Nine players in the conference have already revealed their intentions of departing for the next level, while a few others are still on the fence.

But while uncertainty remains for some of the top players in the league, many of the ACC’s most talented players just finished either their first or second season at the college level, meaning they’re not yet eligible to leave for the NFL. Ten of those players stand out:

 

10. S Jordan Whitehead, Pittsburgh

The fact that Whitehead became the first defensive player since UNC’s Dre’ Bly in 1996 to win overall ACC Rookie of the Year honors speaks volumes to the impact he made as a freshman in 2015. Whitehead gained his starting job in Pitt’s defensive backfield just a couple games into the season and quickly became one of the best safeties in a league that was loaded at the position.

On the season, Whitehead logged 109 tackles — good for sixth in the league — while picking off a pass and registering both a forced fumble and fumble recovery. He was one of only three true freshmen to make an All-ACC team.