ACC: Alex Wujciak

You are going to argue about this. How do I know? Because I'm still arguing with myself over it ...

[+] EnlargeLuke Kuechly
Michael Tureski/Icon SMILuke Kuechly leads a deep group of Boston College linebackers.
1. Boston College: Luke Kuechly is one of the best in the country, but he’s not alone. The Eagles also have Kevin Pierre-Louis, who ranked second nationally among all freshmen in tackles per game last season with 7.15 -- ninth in the ACC. It won’t be easy to replace Mark Herzlich, on or off the field, but Steele Divitto played in 11 games last season, and Nick Clancy and Will Thompson both saw time on the second team.

2. Florida State: The Noles had to replace two starters, including Kendall Smith, the team’s second-leading tackler, last season, and Mister Alexander, but the upcoming talent could be even better. Nigel Bradham led the team with 98 tackles and five pass breakups last season, and Christian Jones, Jeff Luc, Telvin Smith and Vince Williams will also be competing for playing time.

3. Miami: Sean Spence, who has 30 career starts, should be one of the best in the country, and Ramon Buchanon, another senior, also returns. The Canes have five other linebackers with experience in Kelvin Cain, who started seven games, Jordan Futch, who had a great spring and will see the field, Tyrone Cornelius, Shayon Green and C.J. Holton.

4. North Carolina: Kevin Reddick, who led the Tar Heels with 74 tackles last season, returns for his third season as starter. Zach Brown is also a returning starter with game-changing capabilities, and there is plenty of depth with Dion Guy, Darius Lipford, Ebele Okakpu and Herman Davidson. Junior college transfer Fabby Desir could also have an impact.

5. NC State: Audie Cole and Terrell Manning have combined for 39 career starts, and Cole fared well this spring moving to the middle to replace Nate Irving. With the return of Sterling Lucas, Dwayne Maddox and Colby Jackson, there is plenty of experience, but not quite as much depth as some other programs.

6. Georgia Tech: The Jackets return both starters in Steven Sylvester and Julian Burnett. There is no shortage of depth with Jeremy Attaochu, Quayshawn Nealey, Brandon Watts, Albert Rocker, Malcolm Munroe and Daniel Drummond.

7. Clemson: This group has a lot of potential, especially if true freshmen Tony Steward and Stephone Anthony make an immediate impact. There’s no question they’ll be given a chance, but the Tigers already have a good group with Corico Hawkins, Quandon Christian and Jonathan Willard.

8. Virginia Tech: It seems like this rotation has been in flux for a while now. The Hokies’ leading tackler returns in Bruce Taylor, Barquell Rivers had 96 tackles as a starter in 2009 but was injured last season, and there are several young players adding to the competition. Chase Williams, Tariq Edwards, Telvion Clark and Jack Tyler are only a few. Whip linebacker Jeron Gouveia-Winslow will have to earn his spot back over Alonzo Tweedy, Dominique Patterson and Nick Dew.

9. Maryland: The Terps were hit hard here with the losses of Alex Wujciak (381 career tackles) and Adrian Moten (14.5 career sacks). Demetrius Hartsfield returns with 20 career starts, and there are four lettermen returning including Darin Drakeford, Isaiah Ross, David Mackall and Bradley Johnson.

10. Wake Forest: Kyle Wilber’s move to outside linebacker will give this position a boost, as he led the Deacs with 14.5 tackles for loss and six sacks last season. His backup is Gelo Orange (22 tackles). The Deacs also have Tristan Dorty, Joey Ehrmann, Mike Olsen, Scott Betros, Riley Haynes and Justin Jackson.

11. Virginia: Starters LaRoy Reynolds and Ausar Walcott both return, but neither has started more than 11 career games. Junior Steve Greer has prior starting experience but played mainly as a reserve last season. Adam Taliaferro, Conner McCartin, Tucker Windle and LoVante Battle are also in the mix for playing time.

12. Duke: Kelby Brown is the lone returning starter, but he’s a promising young player who led the nation last season as a freshman in fumbles recovered. He missed spring ball while recovering from a knee injury, but is expected to start with Tyree Glover or Kevin Rojas.
Tags:

Boston College Eagles, Duke Blue Devils, Virginia Tech Hokies, Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, North Carolina Tar Heels, Clemson Tigers, Florida State Seminoles, North Carolina State Wolfpack, Maryland Terrapins, Virginia Cavaliers, Wake Forest Demon Deacons, Miami Hurricanes, ACC, Jeron Gouveia-Winslow, Vince Williams, Kevin Reddick, Barquell RIvers, Sterling Lucas, Herman Davidson, Tristan Dorty, Steven Sylvester, Demetrius Hartsfield, David Mackall, Jordan Futch, Adrian Moten, Ramon Buchanon, Terrell Manning, Tariq Edwards, Sean Spence, Malcolm Munroe, Kendall Smith, Nigel Bradham, Darin Drakeford, Alonzo Tweedy, Bruce Taylor, Zach Brown, Gelo Orange, Nate Irving, Dwayne Maddox, Steve Greer, Audie Cole, Nick Clancy, Mark Herzlich, C.J. Holton, Colby Jackson, Alex Wujciak, Will Thompson, Tyree Glover, Luke Kuechly, Shayon Green, Ausar Walcott, Julian Burnett, LaRoy Reynolds, Joey Ehrmann, Christian Jones, Kevin Pierre-Louis, Daniel Drummond, Kevin Rojas, Corico Hawkins, Brandon Watts, LoVante Battle, Quandon Christian, Justin Jackson, Chase Williams, Jonathan Willard, Telvion Clark, Kelvin Cain, Riley Haynes, Darius Lipford, Mister Alexander, Kelby Brown, Jack Tyler, Telvin Smith, Stephone Anthony, Tony Steward, Fabby Desir, Dominique Patterson, 2011 ACC position rankings, 2011 ACC summer position rankings, Bradley Johnson, Steele Divitto, Tyrone Cornelius, Ebele Okakpu, Kyle Wisber, Mike Olsen, Scott Betros, Jeremy Attaochu, Quayshawn Nealey, Albert Rocker, Isiah Ross, Adam Taliaferro, Conner McCartin, Tucker Windle

Hope and concern: Maryland

June, 2, 2011
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The hope and concern series continues today with Maryland:

Biggest reason for hope: Quarterback Danny O’Brien

In a season of change at the quarterback position throughout the ACC, Maryland returns the league’s 2010 Rookie of the Year. First-year coach Randy Edsall praised O’Brien throughout the spring, and because O’Brien is such a true student of the game, Maryland fans can be confident in his ability to adjust quickly to the new terminology and philosophy under first-year coordinator Gary Crowton. O’Brien was 7-3 in his first season as a starter, completed 57 percent of his passes and only had eight interceptions.

Biggest reason for concern: Turnover

Not only did Maryland lose former coach Ralph Friedgen, the ACC’s 2010 Coach of the Year and seven of his assistants, the Terps also bid farewell to 10 starters – 11 if you include the double-duty of kicker/punter Travis Baltz. Offensively, the loss of big-play receiver Torrey Smith, who caught 128 passes for 1,879 yards and 17 touchdowns over the past two seasons, will require some adjustment. Defensively, the Terps will miss linebackers Alex Wujciak and Adrian Moten. There will be plenty of new faces in new places when Maryland opens the season on Labor Day against Miami, and how quickly everyone adjusts to their new roles -- and their new coaches -- will determine whether or not they’re in or out of this season’s ACC race.

More in this series:

Maryland spring wrap

May, 5, 2011
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2010 overall record: 9-4

2010 conference record: 5-3

Returning starters

Offense: 7, defense: 7, punter/kicker 0

Top returners

QB Danny O’Brien, RB Davin Meggett, WR Kerry Boykins, WR Kevin Dorsey, DT Joe Vellano, LB Kenny Tate, LB Demetrius Hartsfield, DT A.J. Francis, CB Cameron Chism

Key losses

WR Torrey Smith, WR Adrian Cannon, RB Da’Rel Scott, LB Alex Wujciak, LB Adrian Moten, SS Antwine Perez, P/PK Travis Baltz

2010 statistical leaders (* returners)

Rushing: Meggett* (720 yards)

Passing: O’Brien* (2,438 yds)

Receiving: Smith (1,055 yds)

Tackles: Wujciak (117)

Sacks: Tate* (3.5)

Interceptions: Moten (4)

Spring answers

1. Receivers answering the call. Maryland lost its top two receivers from 2010, but three emerged as potential go-to players this spring. Ronnie Tyler, Kerry Boykins and Kevin Dorsey were the lead candidates to become O’Brien’s favorite target this fall, and Quintin McCree, who has missed the Tuesday and Thursday practices for study hall, is the leading returner with 16 catches. None of them have been in a starting role before, but all of them proved to be capable hands this spring.

2. A 'general' consensus. Some players within the program have nicknamed first-year coach Randy Edsall "the general" for his strict rules and high expectations, but they seem to have bought in. Overall, the team has adjusted well to the staff changes and embraced the new regime, its style, schemes and philosophies. Edsall has banned hats, earrings and do-rags in the football building, and facial hair must be neatly trimmed.

3. Kenny Tate’s move a good one. The biggest position change of the spring was Tate from safety to linebacker, and Tate showed this spring it was a good move -- especially following the departures of veterans Adrian Moten and Alex Wujciak. Tate adjusted well to the “star” position, a cross between strong safety and outside linebacker. The move also indicated the staff is confident in Eric Franklin and Matt Robinson as the starting safeties.

Fall questions

1. What will this team’s identity be? The players spent this spring learning new schemes and terminology, much of which has been kept under wraps by Edsall. O’Brien has said the offense will be more up-tempo, and has made every effort to study and learn the system this spring, but executing it in games remains a question. The defense also made a transition under first-year coordinator Todd Bradford.

2. Can the offensive line stay healthy? It’s been an injury-prone group the past two seasons and this spring wasn’t much different. Left tackle Justin Gilbert, one of the top linemen on the team, reinjured the same knee he had ACL surgery on and will be out until October. R.J. Dill was also injured this spring, though he played in the spring game, and Justin Lewis was rehabbing from offseason surgery. Pete White also missed practices, so the group needs to solidify the two-deep roster.

3. Who will be the starting fullback? Taylor Watson decided this spring to graduate and leave the team, leaving Rahsaan Moore and Haroon Brown as the lead candidates. True freshman Tyler Cierski, rated the No. 2 fullback in his class by ESPN Recruiting, should add to the competition this summer.
COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- Maryland began spring practices on Tuesday with a new coach, new schemes and enough new terminology that quarterback Danny O'Brien compared it to learning a foreign language.

Many of the players, though, are the same ones who brought the Terps within two wins of clinching the Atlantic Division title last year.

[+] EnlargeO'Brien
AP Photo/Stephan SavoiaMaryland quarterback Danny O'Brien and 13 other starters return to the Terps in 2011.
There are plenty of questions surrounding the program as Maryland begins its first week of spring practices under first-year coach Randy Edsall, but the players are confident there is enough talent remaining on the roster to build upon the success of last year’s nine-win season.

“The reality is all of those things are outside the box,” running back Davin Meggett said of the coaching transition. “The box is the white lines and the grass fields. We’re all the same. We lost a few key playmakers, but there’s no doubt in my mind we can’t match up, or replace them, or match up even better in between those lines. That really gives us a good look on how well we’ll play as far as next season.”

There’s reason for confidence in College Park. The Terps return 14 starters, including O’Brien, the 2010 ACC Rookie of the Year. Four offensive linemen return along with Meggett, the team’s leading rusher (720 yards). Defensively, seven of the top 10 tacklers return.

Maryland’s biggest holes to fill are at linebacker, where Alex Wujciak and Adrian Moten have graduated, and at receiver, where standout Torrey Smith left early for the NFL.

The biggest reason for concern, though, isn’t in College Park. It’s in Tallahassee, where Florida State is seemingly on cruise control heading into coach Jimbo Fisher’s second season. The Seminoles eliminated Maryland from the division race last year with a 30-16 win in Byrd Stadium.

Despite Florida State’s success and Maryland’s transition year, the Terps agree there’s no excuse not to be in hunt again.

“As players we feel like we’re contenders for the ACC championship,” said receiver Kerry Boykins. “We’re just buying into what the coaches say and what the coaches believe because we know they want what’s best for us. They’re here to win championships just as well.”

Boykins said the receivers and O’Brien met separately throughout the season and then had seven-on-seven drills every Wednesday, when O’Brien would help them grasp the concepts of what they were studying. They watched film of LSU, where offensive coordinator Gary Crowton was hired from. The biggest change in the offense will be the tempo, and the Terps will run more no-huddle, but how much is yet to be seen by even the players.

O’Brien said the offensive players are “not anywhere close to where we were last year by any means as far as familiarity with the offense,” but that they’re still probably further along than one might expect.

“There’s been a lot of change, but I think we’re really excited because it’s the same team coming back,” O’Brien said. “We might have a new scheme, new terminology, but it’s a lot of the same guys, and we’re a really tight family here at Maryland. We’re excited about what we’re going to put on the field this fall.”

Revised top 25 countdown: No. 1

March, 21, 2011
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No. 1. Tyrod Taylor, QB, Virginia Tech

Tyrod Taylor
AP Photo/John BazemoreVirginia Tech quarterback Tyrod Taylor was the ACC Player of the Year.
2010 numbers:He led the ACC and was No. 13 in the nation in passing efficiency with 154.8, was fourth in the league in total offense at 243 yards per game, and fifth in passing average per game at 195.9. He completed 59.7 percent of his passes for 2,743 yards, 24 touchdowns and just five interceptions. He also ran for 659 yards and five touchdowns.

Previous ranking: No. 17

Making the case for Taylor:It should come as no surprise that the ACC's Player of the Year landed the No. 1 spot. Not only did he throw the fewest interceptions and gain more rushing yards than any quarterback in the ACC, he was also invaluable as the leader of the team that became the first to go undefeated in conference play since Florida State in 2000. Taylor led the Hokies to the ACC championship game and had one of his best performances of the season in the win over Florida State. His trademark scrambles will be missed this year and impossible to duplicate, and what made him special this year was his improvement in the passing game. Taylor set school records in 2010 for career total offense, career passing yards, career rushing yards by a quarterback, career wins by a starting quarterback, career rushing touchdowns by a quarterback and touchdown passes in a season. Virginia Tech was once again No. 1 in the ACC, and couldn't have done it without this No. 1.

The countdown:

No. 2 Da'Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson
No. 3 Rodney Hudson, OG, Florida State

No. 4 Luke Kuechly, LB, Boston College

No. 5 Anthony Castonzo, OT, Boston College

No. 6 Russell Wilson, QB, NC State

No. 7 Jayron Hosley, CB, Virginia Tech

No. 8 Leonard Hankerson, WR, Miami

No. 9 Nate Irving, LB, NC State

No. 10 Greg Reid, CB, Florida State

No. 11 Torrey Smith, WR, Maryland

No. 12 Brandon Jenkins, DE, Florida State

No. 13 Quinton Coples, DT, North Carolina

No. 14 Kenny Tate, S, Maryland

No. 15 DeAndre McDaniel, S, Clemson

No. 16 Chase Minnifield, CB, Virginia

No. 17 Montel Harris, RB, Boston College

No. 18 T.J. Yates, QB, North Carolina

No. 19 Alex Wujciak, LB, Maryland

No. 20 Jarvis Jenkins, DT, Clemson

No. 21 Chris Hairston, OT, Clemson

No. 22 Anthony Allen, RB, Georgia Tech

No. 23 Brandon Washington, OL, Miami

No. 24 George Bryan, TE, NC State

No. 25 Conner Vernon, WR, Duke

Revised top 25 countdown: No. 2

March, 18, 2011
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No. 2. Da’Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson

[+] EnlargeDa'Quan Bowers
Kevin C. Cox/Getty ImagesDa'Quan Bowers was the ACC Defensive Player of the Year.
2010 numbers: He led the nation and the ACC with 15.5 sacks, and he led the ACC and was second in the country with 26 tackles for loss. He also had 20 quarterback pressures, two pass breakups, one interception, one forced fumble, and was second on the team with 74 tackles.

Previous ranking: Not ranked.

Making the case for Bowers: There's a reason Bowers wasn't on this list in the preseason. He had yet to live up to the hype he drew in 2008 as the nation's No. 1 recruit. That changed last year, when Bowers had a breakout season that led many to believe he could be the No. 1 overall pick in this year's NFL draft. That's because he was so disruptive in the passing game, he tackled well and was quick to get into opponents' backfields. He tossed blockers aside and also escaped double-teams. He won the Bronko Nagurski and Hendricks Awards, and was named ACC Defensive Player of the Year. Had Clemson fared better as a team, Bowers probably would have been No. 1 on this list.

The countdown:

No. 3 Rodney Hudson, OG, Florida State

No. 4 Luke Kuechly, LB, Boston College

No. 5 Anthony Castonzo, OT, Boston College

No. 6 Russell Wilson, QB, NC State

No. 7 Jayron Hosley, CB, Virginia Tech

No. 8 Leonard Hankerson, WR, Miami

No. 9 Nate Irving, LB, NC State

No. 10 Greg Reid, CB, Florida State

No. 11 Torrey Smith, WR, Maryland

No. 12 Brandon Jenkins, DE, Florida State

No. 13 Quinton Coples, DT, North Carolina

No. 14 Kenny Tate, S, Maryland

No. 15 DeAndre McDaniel, S, Clemson

No. 16 Chase Minnifield, CB, Virginia

No. 17 Montel Harris, RB, Boston College

No. 18 T.J. Yates, QB, North Carolina

No. 19 Alex Wujciak, LB, Maryland

No. 20 Jarvis Jenkins, DT, Clemson

No. 21 Chris Hairston, OT, Clemson

No. 22 Anthony Allen, RB, Georgia Tech

No. 23 Brandon Washington, OL, Miami

No. 24 George Bryan, TE, NC State

No. 25 Conner Vernon, WR, Duke

Revised top 25 countdown: No. 3

March, 17, 2011
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No. 3. Rodney Hudson, OG, Florida State

[+] EnlargeFlorida State offensive linesman Rodney Hudson
Chuck Cook/US PresswireFlorida State offensive linesman Rodney Hudson didn't allow a single sack last season.
2010 numbers: He started all 14 games at left guard, where he played 904 snaps and posted a team-leading grade of 88 percent. He also led the team with 48 knockdown blocks. He was penalized once all season and missed only four assignments. He was the lone Seminole lineman to not relinquish a sack.

Previous ranking: No. 9

Making the case for Hudson: He’s the most decorated offensive lineman in ACC history. He posted his highest grade -- 97 percent -- when it mattered most, in the ACC championship game against Virginia Tech. He was also a major reason why the Noles were able to rush for 218 yards against the SEC’s top rushing defense.

The countdown:

No. 4 Luke Kuechly, LB, Boston College

No. 5 Anthony Castonzo, OT, Boston College
No. 6 Russell Wilson, QB, NC State

No. 7 Jayron Hosley, CB, Virginia Tech

No. 8 Leonard Hankerson, WR, Miami

No. 9 Nate Irving, LB, NC State

No. 10 Greg Reid, CB, Florida State

No. 11 Torrey Smith, WR, Maryland

No. 12 Brandon Jenkins, DE, Florida State

No. 13 Quinton Coples, DT, North Carolina

No. 14 Kenny Tate, S, Maryland

No. 15 DeAndre McDaniel, S, Clemson

No. 16 Chase Minnifield, CB, Virginia

No. 17 Montel Harris, RB, Boston College

No. 18 T.J. Yates, QB, North Carolina

No. 19 Alex Wujciak, LB, Maryland

No. 20 Jarvis Jenkins, DT, Clemson

No. 21 Chris Hairston, OT, Clemson

No. 22 Anthony Allen, RB, Georgia Tech

No. 23 Brandon Washington, OL, Miami

No. 24 George Bryan, TE, NC State

No. 25 Conner Vernon, WR, Duke

Revised top 25 countdown: No. 4

March, 16, 2011
3/16/11
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No. 4. Luke Kuechly, LB, Boston College

2010 numbers: He led the nation and his team in total tackles with 183 (14.08 per game) and solo tackles (110). He also had three interceptions, three fumble recoveries, two forced fumbles, 10.5 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks.

[+] EnlargeLuke Kuechly
Jason O. Watson/US PresswireLinebacker Luke Kuechly led the nation with 183 tackles.
Previous ranking: No. 14

Making the case for Kuechly: He is literally one of the best in the country. Kuechly earned unanimous All-America honors as a sophomore. He was all over the field in the bowl game against Nevada with 12 tackles and a key interception. Kuechly now has had 22 consecutive games in double figures in tackling, with 341 hits in a 26-game collegiate career, and is the NCAA’s leading active career tackler averaging 13.1 per game.

The countdown:

No. 5 Anthony Castonzo, OT, Boston College

No. 6 Russell Wilson, QB, NC State

No. 7 Jayron Hosley, CB, Virginia Tech

No. 8 Leonard Hankerson, WR, Miami

No. 9 Nate Irving, LB, NC State

No. 10 Greg Reid, CB, Florida State

No. 11 Torrey Smith, WR, Maryland

No. 12 Brandon Jenkins, DE, Florida State

No. 13 Quinton Coples, DT, North Carolina

No. 14 Kenny Tate, S, Maryland

No. 15 DeAndre McDaniel, S, Clemson

No. 16 Chase Minnifield, CB, Virginia

No. 17 Montel Harris, RB, Boston College

No. 18 T.J. Yates, QB, North Carolina

No. 19 Alex Wujciak, LB, Maryland

No. 20 Jarvis Jenkins, DT, Clemson

No. 21 Chris Hairston, OT, Clemson

No. 22 Anthony Allen, RB, Georgia Tech

No. 23 Brandon Washington, OL, Miami

No. 24 George Bryan, TE, NC State

No. 25 Conner Vernon, WR, Duke

Revised top 25 countdown: No. 5

March, 15, 2011
3/15/11
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No. 5. Anthony Castonzo, OT, Boston College

[+] EnlargeAnthony Castonzo
Jason O. Watson/US PresswireAnthony Castonzo has been the rock of the Boston College offensive line since arriving on campus.
2010 numbers: He started all 13 games and was the Eagles' most productive offensive lineman in eight of the 13 games. He gave up only one sack this past season and missed seven assignments. He had 40 knockdowns and consistently graded out as the highest on the offensive line. He had only two penalties in 820 plays.

Previous ranking: No. 10

Making the case for Castonzo: He's a smart, disciplined, durable player who was the anchor on the line that paved the way for the ACC's leading rusher, Montel Harris. Castonzo's 54 starts were the most of any current ACC player, and he started every game since arriving on campus in 2007. He was an all-conference selection as both a player and a student. Most importantly, he's a biochemistry major who hopes to conduct cancer research someday. All that and NFL potential. No doubt one of the ACC's top five.

The countdown:

No. 6 Russell Wilson, QB, NC State

No. 7 Jayron Hosley, CB, Virginia Tech

No. 8 Leonard Hankerson, WR, Miami

No. 9 Nate Irving, LB, NC State

No. 10 Greg Reid, CB, Florida State

No. 11 Torrey Smith, WR, Maryland

No. 12 Brandon Jenkins, DE, Florida State

No. 13 Quinton Coples, DT, North Carolina

No. 14 Kenny Tate, S, Maryland

No. 15 DeAndre McDaniel, S, Clemson

No. 16 Chase Minnifield, CB, Virginia

No. 17 Montel Harris, RB, Boston College

No. 18 T.J. Yates, QB, North Carolina

No. 19 Alex Wujciak, LB, Maryland

No. 20 Jarvis Jenkins, DT, Clemson

No. 21 Chris Hairston, OT, Clemson

No. 22 Anthony Allen, RB, Georgia Tech

No. 23 Brandon Washington, OL, Miami

No. 24 George Bryan, TE, NC State

No. 25 Conner Vernon, WR, Duke

Revised top 25 countdown: No. 6

March, 14, 2011
3/14/11
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No. 6. Russell Wilson, QB, NC State

[+] EnlargeRussell Wilson
Mitch Stringer/US PresswireThe Wolfpack's Russell Wilson led the ACC with 3,563 passing yards this past season.
2010 numbers: He led the ACC in passing average per game with 274.1. He was fifth in passing efficiency (127.5), and completed 58.4 percent of his passes for a league-high 3,563 yards and 28 touchdowns.

Previous ranking: No. 7

Making the case for Wilson: He’s a record-setter, a phenomenal two-sport athlete, and the best quarterback the program has seen since Philip Rivers. In 2010, Wilson ranked among the top 15 in the country in passing, passing yards per game and total passing yards. Wilson tied Rivers for the single-season record in touchdown responsibility with 37, while his 3,563 passing yards and 308 completions rank as the second-highest marks in school history. His 527 pass attempts for the season set a new school record, and his 3,998 yards of total offense is the second-highest ever for an NC State player.

The countdown:

No. 7 Jayron Hosley, CB, Virginia Tech

No. 8 Leonard Hankerson, WR, Miami

No. 9 Nate Irving, LB, NC State

No. 10 Greg Reid, CB, Florida State

No. 11 Torrey Smith, WR, Maryland

No. 12 Brandon Jenkins, DE, Florida State

No. 13 Quinton Coples, DT, North Carolina

No. 14 Kenny Tate, S, Maryland

No. 15 DeAndre McDaniel, S, Clemson

No. 16 Chase Minnifield, CB, Virginia

No. 17 Montel Harris, RB, Boston College

No. 18 T.J. Yates, QB, North Carolina

No. 19 Alex Wujciak, LB, Maryland

No. 20 Jarvis Jenkins, DT, Clemson

No. 21 Chris Hairston, OT, Clemson

No. 22 Anthony Allen, RB, Georgia Tech

No. 23 Brandon Washington, OL, Miami

No. 24 George Bryan, TE, NC State

No. 25 Conner Vernon, WR, Duke

Revised top 25 countdown: No. 7

March, 11, 2011
3/11/11
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No. 7. Jayron Hosley, CB, Virginia Tech

[+] EnlargeVirginia Tech cornerback Jayron Hosley
AP Photo/Steve HelberVirginia Tech cornerback Jayron Hosley had a league-high 17 passes defended last season.
2010 numbers: He led the team, the country and the ACC with nine interceptions for 110 yards, and eight pass breakups and a league-high 17 passes defended (fifth in the country). He was second in the ACC in punt return average. He had 19 punt returns for 239 yards (12.6) and a touchdown, and nine kick returns for 190 yards (21.1). He started all 13 games and had 39 tackles.

Previous ranking: Not ranked.

Making the case for Hosley: He was the top player at the field corner position on the team that went undefeated in ACC play. He was a first-team all-conference selection, and as his stats indicate, he was also one of the best players in the country. He made game-changing plays as a corner and return man, and is also a solid tackler. Some of his best plays came in clutch situations.

The countdown:

No. 8 Leonard Hankerson, WR, Miami

No. 9 Nate Irving, LB, NC State

No. 10 Greg Reid, CB, Florida State

No. 11 Torrey Smith, WR, Maryland

No. 12 Brandon Jenkins, DE, Florida State

No. 13 Quinton Coples, DT, North Carolina

No. 14 Kenny Tate, S, Maryland

No. 15 DeAndre McDaniel, S, Clemson

No. 16 Chase Minnifield, CB, Virginia

No. 17 Montel Harris, RB, Boston College

No. 18 T.J. Yates, QB, North Carolina

No. 19 Alex Wujciak, LB, Maryland

No. 20 Jarvis Jenkins, DT, Clemson

No. 21 Chris Hairston, OT, Clemson

No. 22 Anthony Allen, RB, Georgia Tech

No. 23 Brandon Washington, OL, Miami

No. 24 George Bryan, TE, NC State

No. 25 Conner Vernon, WR, Duke

Revised top 25 countdown: No. 8

March, 10, 2011
3/10/11
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No. 8. Leonard Hankerson, WR, Miami

2010 numbers: He caught 72 passes for 1,156 yards and 13 touchdowns. He averaged 88.9 receiving yards per game.

[+] EnlargeLeonard Hankerson
AP Photo/Lynne SladkLeonard Hankerson had one of the most productive seasons ever for a wideout at Miami.
Previous ranking: Not ranked.

Making the case for Hankerson: Hankerson is coming off one of, if not the most productive season for a wide receiver in school history. His 12 touchdown catches this season is a Miami record, breaking Michael Irvin's mark of 11 set in 1986. In the Hurricanes' regular-season finale, Hankerson became just the third player in program history to record a 1,000-yard receiving season and the first to have 2,000 yards for a career and 1,000 yards in a season.

The countdown:

No. 9 Nate Irving, LB, NC State


No. 10 Greg Reid, CB, Florida State


No. 11 Torrey Smith, WR, Maryland

No. 12 Brandon Jenkins, DE, Florida State

No. 13 Quinton Coples, DT, North Carolina

No. 14 Kenny Tate, S, Maryland

No. 15 DeAndre McDaniel, S, Clemson

No. 16 Chase Minnifield, CB, Virginia

No. 17 Montel Harris, RB, Boston College

No. 18 T.J. Yates, QB, North Carolina

No. 19 Alex Wujciak, LB, Maryland

No. 20 Jarvis Jenkins, DT, Clemson

No. 21 Chris Hairston, OT, Clemson

No. 22 Anthony Allen, RB, Georgia Tech

No. 23 Brandon Washington, OL, Miami

No. 24 George Bryan, TE, NC State

No. 25 Conner Vernon, WR, Duke

Revised top 25 countdown: No. 9

March, 9, 2011
3/09/11
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No. 9. Nate Irving, LB, NC State

[+] EnlargeNate Irving
Douglas Jones/US PresswireLinebacker Nate Irving, left, was a playmaker for the Wolfpack last season.
2010 numbers: He set a memorable FBS record of eight tackles for loss against Wake Forest. He led the team with 97 tackles, including 20.5 tackles for loss (second in the ACC) and 6.5 sacks. He also had seven quarterback pressures, three pass breakups, three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.

Previous ranking: Not ranked.

Making the case for Irving: After suffering serious injuries in a car crash that sidelined him for the entire 2009 season, Irving made a remarkable comeback last season. There’s no question he has made an impact during his career, as NC State was 18-8 with him in the lineup. He made game-changing plays like the fumble recovery that sealed the win against FSU, and he was a team captain and leader.

The countdown:

No. 10 Greg Reid, CB, Florida State

No. 11 Torrey Smith, WR, Maryland

No. 12 Brandon Jenkins, DE, Florida State

No. 13 Quinton Coples, DT, North Carolina

No. 14 Kenny Tate, S, Maryland

No. 15 DeAndre McDaniel, S, Clemson

No. 16 Chase Minnifield, CB, Virginia

No. 17 Montel Harris, RB, Boston College

No. 18 T.J. Yates, QB, North Carolina

No. 19 Alex Wujciak, LB, Maryland

No. 20 Jarvis Jenkins, DT, Clemson

No. 21 Chris Hairston, OT, Clemson

No. 22 Anthony Allen, RB, Georgia Tech

No. 23 Brandon Washington, OL, Miami

No. 24 George Bryan, TE, NC State

No. 25 Conner Vernon, WR, Duke

Revised top 25 countdown: No. 10

March, 8, 2011
3/08/11
5:00
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No. 10. Greg Reid, CB, Florida State

[+] EnlargeGreg Reid
Josh D. Weiss/US PresswireFlorida State cornerback Greg Reid was second in the ACC in passes defended with 17.
2010 numbers: He was second in the ACC in passes defended with 17, including 14 pass breakups and three interceptions. He was also fourth in the ACC in punt return average (10.1) and fifth in kick return average (23.9). He was fourth on the team with 65 tackles, including three tackles for loss. He also had three forced fumbles.

Previous ranking: No. 22

Making the case for Reid: He’s an exciting kick returner who has helped the Seminoles win the field position battle, but he was also disruptive in the passing game. His defensive MVP performance in the win over South Carolina in the Chick-fil-A Bowl was the best example of how he can seem to be everywhere on the field at once.

The countdown:

No. 11 Torrey Smith, WR, Maryland

No. 12 Brandon Jenkins, DE, Florida State

No. 13 Quinton Coples, DT, North Carolina



No. 14 Kenny Tate, S, Maryland

No. 15 DeAndre McDaniel, S, Clemson

No. 16 Chase Minnifield, CB, Virginia

No. 17 Montel Harris, RB, Boston College

No. 18 T.J. Yates, QB, North Carolina

No. 19 Alex Wujciak, LB, Maryland

No. 20 Jarvis Jenkins, DT, Clemson

No. 21 Chris Hairston, OT, Clemson

No. 22 Anthony Allen, RB, Georgia Tech

No. 23 Brandon Washington, OL, Miami

No. 24 George Bryan, TE, NC State

No. 25 Conner Vernon, WR, Duke

Revised top 25 countdown: No. 11

March, 7, 2011
3/07/11
2:00
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No. 11. Torrey Smith, WR, Maryland

[+] EnlargeTorrey Smith
Andrew Shurtleff/US PresswireMaryland's Torrey Smith led the ACC in all-purpose yardage last season.
2010 numbers: He led the ACC and the team with 126.7 all-purpose yards per game. He was third in the ACC with 5.2 receptions per game, second in the ACC with 81.2 receiving yards per game, and third in scoring with 5.5 points per game.

Previous ranking: No. 21

Making the case for Smith: The Terps’ offensive MVP ends his career with 152 receptions (No. 3 in Maryland history), 2,215 receiving yards (No. 2 in school history) and 19 touchdowns (No. 2 in Terp history). Smith also had an ACC-record 2,983 kickoff return yards and 5,264 all-purpose yards, which is seventh on the league's career chart.

The countdown:

No. 12 Brandon Jenkins, DE, Florida State

No. 13 Quinton Coples, DT, North Carolina


No. 14 Kenny Tate, S, Maryland

No. 15 DeAndre McDaniel, S, Clemson

No. 16 Chase Minnifield, CB, Virginia

No. 17 Montel Harris, RB, Boston College

No. 18 T.J. Yates, QB, North Carolina

No. 19 Alex Wujciak, LB, Maryland

No. 20 Jarvis Jenkins, DT, Clemson

No. 21 Chris Hairston, OT, Clemson

No. 22 Anthony Allen, RB, Georgia Tech

No. 23 Brandon Washington, OL, Miami

No. 24 George Bryan, TE, NC State

No. 25 Conner Vernon, WR, Duke

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