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The ACC's 1,000-yard receivers in 2011

4/28/2011

Miami is going to miss receiver Leonard Hankerson. And Maryland is going to miss receiver Torrey Smith. They were the only two receivers in the ACC to crack the 1,000-yard mark in 2010. It's the benchmark for an outstanding season, and one ACC receivers have struggled to meet.

Since 2005, a season in which the conference didn't produce any 1,000-yard receivers, the ACC has had seven: Calvin Johnson (2006), Kenny Moore and Aaron Kelly (2007), Hakeem Nicks (2008), Donovan Varner (2009), and Hankerson and Smith.

Will 2011 be much different?

Knowing this history, I'm not going to predict it to be.

Here are my top three nominations for 1,000-yard performances in 2011, and remember, this isn't a ranking of the ACC's receivers, though talent is obviously a factor:

1. Conner Vernon, Duke: He led the ACC in receptions last year with 73 and finished third with 973 receiving yards. He's got a talented quarterback to work with in Sean Renfree, and the passing game has been -- and will continue to be -- a strength of the program.

2. Jarrett Boykin, Virginia Tech: He needs just four more catches to become the school's all-time leader in receptions and receiving yards. He caught 53 passes last year for 847 yards and six touchdowns. He enters his final season with a career average of 17.26 yards per catch.

3. Dwight Jones, North Carolina: He's got big-play potential and took his game to another level last year. Can he do it again? Jones had 50 catches in the final eight games last year and had four 100-yard receiving games, including eight catches for 233 yards against Atlantic Division champ Florida State.