ACC position rankings: Wide receivers, tight ends

July, 15, 2008
7/15/08
10:55
AM ET
Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich
 
 Dale Zanine/US PRESSWIRE
 Aaron Kelly is the leading returning receiver in the conference.

Welcome to Day 3 of ACC position rankings. Once again, Clemson is on top. That speaks just as much to the Tigers' talent level this year as it does to the lack of superstars throughout the rest of the league. On Wednesday, I'll check out the unheralded offensive linemen. Here's a look at the ACC's top pass catchers, with depth AND experience being the top two factors considered.

1. Clemson -- Aaron Kelly is the leading returning receiver in the ACC, but he's not the only one with capable hands in this offense. Tyler Grisham had 60 receptions for 653 yards last year, and is also a top blocker. Jacoby Ford was in the midst of a breakout season last year, leading the team with 18.2 yards per catch, but his season was derailed by a broken ankle.

2. Boston College -- The sheer depth here puts these guys up high. Ryan Purvis could be one of the best tight ends in the ACC (54 catches for 553 yards and four touchdowns), and the Eagles also have experience in Rich Gunnell, Justin Jarvis and Clarence Megwa.

3. Florida State -- For the first time in school history, the Seminoles had three receivers over 700 yards each last season and two of them -- Preston Parker and Greg Carr -- will be back. Expectations are soaring for junior college transfer Corey Surrency, the top receiver in the Seminoles' 2008 recruiting class.

4. North Carolina -- The combo of Hakeem Nicks and Brandon Tate justify this spot. Nicks set a single-season school record with 74 catches for 958 yards and five touchdowns last season, while Tate averaged 19.2 yards per catch and scored five touchdowns on 25 receptions.

5. Maryland -- This is the Terps' deepest position as they return Darrius Heyward-Bey, Isaiah Williams, Danny Oquendo and LaQuan Williams. They'll be under the direction of Lee Hull, who joined the staff in March.

6. Duke -- Eron Riley led the league with 20.8 yards per catch and was fourth in the ACC last season with 69.2 receiving yards per game. Sheldon Bell had a strong spring, and if Raphael Chestnut makes a full recovery from last year's torn ACL, it could help take some attention off Riley.

7. NC State -- The Wolfpack welcome back tight end Anthony Hill, the team's leading receiver in 2006, and have depth and experience in Donald Bowens, who led the team with 15 yards per catch last year. Jarvis Williams and Owen Spencer both played in every game last year as reserves.

8. Virginia -- The return of Kevin Ogletree, the team's leading receiver in 2006 who missed last season with a torn ACL, will help tremendously. There is plenty of depth behind him.

9. Miami -- Miami was last in the league in pass offense, 11th in scoring offense and 11th in total offense. The return of Jermaine McKenzie, who missed last season because of a neck injury he suffered in a car accident, along with the addition of true freshman Aldarius Johnson, could help that.

10. Wake Forest -- The departure of ACC receptions leader Kenneth Moore leaves the Deacs looking for a go-to guy. Tight end Ben Wooster was the playmaker this spring, but veteran Chip Brinkman and D.J. Boldin must also be dependable options.

11. Georgia Tech -- Depth is an issue here, especially after James Johnson quit during the spring and Greg Smith, who led the team with 37 receptions last year, was moved to running back.

12. Virginia Tech -- The Hokies fell to the bottom here because they have to replace their top four receivers from a year ago, and Brandon Dillard is now out for the season with an injury. That's not to say there isn't talent here, but it's unproven. The top two coming out of the spring were Zach Luckett and Danny Coa
le
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