ACC's spring breakout players

May, 17, 2012
5/17/12
9:51
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Here's a look at those who made names for themselves, those who fine-tuned some strengths and those who burst onto the scene this spring in the ACC.

WR DeAndre Hopkins, Clemson: Hopkins had seven catches for 120 yards and a touchdown in the Tigers' spring game, including five for 100 in the first quarter. Coach Dabo Swinney called him the team's spring MVP, and he and Sammy Watkins could form the top receiver tandem in the nation.

RB Rolandan Finch, Boston College: Finch will have to carry a bigger load with Montel Harris off the team, and he stepped up in the spring game when the three men ahead of him were all banged-up, rushing for 196 yards on 27 carries. He will likely battle with Andre Williams for the top spot this fall, though both figure to see plenty of time.

LT Cameron Erving, FSU: The converted defensive tackle impressed this spring, as the sophomore is one of two new tackles the Seminoles are breaking in on the offensive line, a unit that may just be the deciding factor on whether FSU can return to the national elite this season. Coach Jimbo Fisher has called the 6-foot-5, 304-pound sophomore a future NFL starter.

QB Ryan Williams, Miami: Coach Al Golden said this week that Stephen Morris has been medically cleared, and he will likely enter a full-on quarterback competition with Williams, the Memphis transfer who saw most of the action this spring and played well, despite a sub-par spring game.

TE Jake McGee, Virginia: The converted quarterback caught two passes for 81 yards and figures to be a reliable target this fall after a subpar performance for the Cavaliers' tight ends last season.

CB Demetrious Nicholson, Virginia: Coach Mike London named him the team's most distinguished freshman this spring, but he will have to grow up fast. After playing almost every snap last fall, he is the veteran of the Cavaliers' secondary in 2012.

DT Luther Maddy, Virginia Tech: Maddy was named the Hokies' defensive MVP of this spring. The rising sophomore has said he has adjusted to the speed of the game after a freshman year that featured seven starts, and he figures to be a key on a line that will anchor Virginia Tech's defense this season.

Matt Fortuna | email

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