ACC: Anthony Hill

NC State spring wrap-up

May, 7, 2009
5/07/09
9:15
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

North Carolina State Wolfpack

2008 overall record: 6-7

2008 conference record: 4-4

Returning starters: Offense: 7, defense: 7, kicker/punter 1

Top returners: QB Russell Wilson, WR Owen Spencer, C Ted Larsen DT Alan Michael Cash, DE Willie Young, LB Nate Irving, PK Josh Czajkowski, TB Toney Baker, WR T.J. Graham, LB Ray Michel, TB Jamelle Eugene, CB DeAndre Morgan

Key losses: TE Anthony Hill, HB Andre Brown, S J.C. Neal, CB Jeremy Gray, DT Keith Willis, OG John Bedics, OG Meares Green

2008 statistical leaders (*returners)

Rushing: Andre Brown (767 yards)
Passing: Russell Wilson* (1,955 yards)
Receiving:
Owen Spencer* (691 yards)
Tackles:
Ray Michel* (85)
Sacks:
Willie Young* (6.5)
Interceptions:
Nate Irving* (4)

2009 Schedule
Sept. 5 South Carolina
Sept. 12 Murray State
Sept. 19 Gardner-Webb
Sept. 26 Pittsburgh
Oct. 3 at Wake Forest
Oct. 10 Duke
Oct. 17 at Boston College
Oct. 31 at Florida State
Nov. 7 Maryland
Nov. 14 Clemson
Nov. 21 at Virginia Tech
Nov. 28 North Carolina

Spring answers

1. Sweet relief. Mike Glennon impressed the coaching staff as the No. 2 quarterback this spring with his poise and arm strength and likely earned himself some playing time this fall. Glennon completed 23 of 38 passes for 272 yards and one touchdown in the Kay Yow Spring Game.

2. Hit me. Baker hadn't played in almost two years, let alone been hit, but he held up physically throughout the spring despite not being entirely 100 percent. He and Jamelle Eugene should help compensate for the loss of Brown.

3. Going the distance. Placekicker Josh Czajkowski could be a difference-maker this fall. He was accurate last year (16 of 19 field goals and 33 of 34 PATs), but improved his distance this spring. Czajkowki made a 52-yarder in one of the scrimmages.

Fall questions

1. Winning in September. NC State has made a push late in the schedule over the past two seasons, and has had a tendency to get off to a slow, injury-laden start. If the Wolfpack is going to be a legitimate contender in Tom O'Brien's third season, they'll have to get off to a faster start.

2. Staying power. Can Russell Wilson stay healthy and handle the spotlight of Year 1 while Glennon is itching to see some playing time? Wilson showed improvement this spring by working through his progressions better, but O'Brien said there could have been more progress had Wilson not spent part of the spring with the baseball team.

3. Walker's return. Can the Pack get safety Javon Walker back in secondary? Walker tore his ACL in the second-to-last game of 2008. As a freshman he was starting, but he missed the spring. He is expected back this fall and could be the best player in secondary.

ACC's unheralded NFL draft picks

April, 21, 2009
4/21/09
11:00
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

With the NFL draft scheduled for 4 p.m. ET Saturday, much attention will be paid to the ACC's highest round picks like linebacker Aaron Curry. Over the past three years, the ACC has seen more of its players taken in the first round (25) than any other league, as well as more of its players drafted (115) than any other conference.

Just because a player isn't drafted in the first three rounds, though, doesn't mean he isn't destined for a successful NFL career, and this year the ACC has plenty of such players. There are several who are borderline third- and fourth-round picks, but even more who are relative unknowns capable of making names for themselves at the next level.

Don't forget about Miami's little used linebacker, Spencer Adkins, who has been getting a fair share of attention from scouts lately. He was used in a lot of third down situations as a pass-rusher. Aside from Bruce Johnson, he is the Canes' top prospect. North Carolina tight end Richard Quinn is ascending the draft boards quickly. He could conceivably be a third-rounder.

Here are three players who aren't expected to be drafted in the first three rounds, but will still be quality players in the NFL:

1. Victor "Macho" Harris, CB, Virginia Tech -- A potential late third-round, early fourth-round pick, Harris is a hard-hitter with exceptional ball skills. He reads blocks well and is a scoring threat, especially in the open field.

2. Anthony Hill, TE, NC State -- He doesn't drop many balls, he stays tough in traffic, and is efficient getting into his routes. He's a strong blocker who would have been much more productive had his career not been marred by injuries.

3. Aaron Kelly, WR, Clemson -- He uses his height to his advantage for jump balls, can create separation and be a threat for yards after catch. He is an average blocker, but was underutilized in Clemson's offense last year.

Other potentially late ACC picks worth keeping an eye on:

Pre-spring ACC power rankings

February, 9, 2009
2/09/09
9:00
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

With the NFL departures announced, and signing day officially over, it's time for a re-ranking heading into spring football. Keep in mind things change during spring practice -- some players get hurt, some win position battles, but here's the first early peek at how the ACC might fare in 2009:

1. Virginia Tech -- The ACC and Orange Bowl champs return 16 starters, and there are high expectations for an offensive backfield that will contain shifty quarterback Tyrod Taylor, and tailbacks Darren Evans and Ryan Williams. If the defense maintains its tradition without Victor "Macho" Harris, the Hokies could be a top 10 team.

2. Florida State -- The defense took some hits -- the most notable being the loss of defensive end Everette Brown -- but should have enough experience to compensate for it. The offensive line should be one of the best in the conference and give returning quarterback Christian Ponder and tailback Jermaine Thomas plenty of help. The question is the depth at receiver after the loss of Preston Parker, Greg Carr, and probably Corey Surrency. FSU also loses Lou Groza award winner Graham Gano.

3. Georgia Tech -- Overall, this team will be experienced and deeper -- it will return every starter at the skill positions -- but the Yellow Jackets must reload on the defensive front and improve on the offensive line. There will be three new starters on the defensive line, and Tech lost two senior starters on the offensive line. There are 25 players on the roster, though, who have at least one career start.

4. Miami -- Coach Randy Shannon brought in yet another outstanding recruiting class, and playing so many true freshmen in 2008 should help this season. There shouldn't be any quarterback drama this season, and Jacory Harris should only improve under first-year coordinator Mark Whipple. Defensive coordinator is still a question mark, though.

5. North Carolina -- Never count out a Butch Davis-coached team, but the Tar Heels will be a question mark until a new batch of receivers proves otherwise. Brooks Foster, Brandon Tate and Hakeem Nicks accounted for 114 receptions in 2008, and all three have left for the NFL. Safety Trimane Goddard is arguably the biggest loss on defense.

6. NC State -- If the Pack stay healthy -- something they haven't been able to do for the past two seasons -- NC State could be the sleeper in the Atlantic Division. It has to replace tight end Anthony Hill and running back Andre Brown, though, and 2007 leading receiver Donald Bowens will miss spring practice because of knee surgery.

7. Clemson -- Speedy playmakers C.J. Spiller and Jacoby Ford are back, but they'll be under the direction of a new quarterback and a new offensive coordinator. Let's see how the Tigers do without any expectations for a change.

8. Maryland -- The Terps graduated 30 seniors and junior receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey left for the NFL. One of the biggest question marks is how they'll fare up front after the graduation of three starting offensive linemen, including All-ACC center Edwin Williams. The defense, which loses four starters from its front seven, will be led by first-year coordinator Don Brown.

9. Wake Forest -- The good news for the Deacs is the offensive line should better, and they return veteran quarterback Riley Skinner. The bad news is they'll sorely miss some of the best defensive players the program has had in recent years, along with kicker Sam Swank.

10. Virginia -- If quarterback Jameel Sewell makes a smooth transition back into the lineup and quickly learns the new offense, the Cavs could surprise some people this season. They'll have to replace all three starters at linebacker, though, and will miss starting receivers Kevin Ogletree and Maurice Covington, as well as leading rusher Cedric Peerman.

11. Boston College -- Consider this a rebuilding year for the Eagles. The loss of defensive tackles B.J. Raji and Ron Brace will have an effect up front. With a new staff, a small recruiting class and a young starting quarterback, the only direction for BC to head is up.

12. Duke -- The Blue Devils have arguably one of the league's top quarterbacks in Thaddeus Lewis, but he won't have Eron Riley to throw it to this season. Duke also loses ACC-leading tackler Michael Tauiliili at linebacker. Still, the Blue Devils should take another step forward in their second season under David Cutcliffe.

ACC and the NFL combine

February, 3, 2009
2/03/09
9:00
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

The official invitation list for the NFL scouting combine is out, and there are plenty of ACC players who will participate in the four-day job interview in Indianapolis from Feb. 18-24. Just because a player didn't make the list doesn't mean he won't be drafted, but here are the ACC players by school who were invited to the combine:

BOSTON COLLEGE

Kevin Akins, cornerback/linebacker

Ron Brace, defensive tackle

B.J. Raji, defensive tackle

CLEMSON

Chris Clemons, safety

James Davis, running back

Michael Hamlin, safety

Cullen Harper, quarterback

Aaron Kelly, receiver

Dorell Scott, defensive tackle

FLORIDA STATE

Everette Brown, defensive end

Graham Gano, punter/placekicker

GEORGIA TECH

Andrew Gardner, offensive tackle

Michael Johnson, defensive end

Darryl Richard, defensive tackle

Vance Walker, defensive tackle

Jahi Word-Daniels, cornerback

MARYLAND

Kevin Barnes, cornerback

Moise Fokou, outside linebacker

Dan Gronkowski, tight end

Darrius Heyward-Bey, wide receiver

Jaimie Thomas, offensive guard

Edwin Williams, center

MIAMI

Bruce Johnson, cornerback

NORTH CAROLINA

Brooks Foster, wide receiver

Hakeem Nicks, wide recevier

Richard Quinn, tight end

Garrett Reynolds, offensive tackle

Brandon Tate, wide receiver

NC STATE

Andre Brown, running back

Anthony Hill, tight end

VIRGINIA

Eugene Monroe, offensive tackle

Kevin Ogletree, wide receiver

Cedric Peerman, tailback

John Phillips, tight end

Clint Sintim, linebacker

VIRGINIA TECH

Victor "Macho" Harris, cornerback

Orion Martin, defensive end

WAKE FOREST

Stanley Arnoux, linebacker

Aaron Curry, linebacker

Alphonso Smith, cornerback

Sam Swank, punter/placekicker

Chip Vaughn, safety

NC State recruiting needs

January, 14, 2009
1/14/09
1:00
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

As he enters his third season in Raleigh, coach Tom O'Brien is close to reaching his recruiting goal of bringing in a balanced class every February instead of focusing on certain positions.

Ideally, the Pack would like to add four offensive linemen, four defensive backs, three linebackers, four defensive linemen, a quarterback and a tailback in every class, but defense was the main priority in this year's recruiting class. The biggest names they'll have to replace are on offense, where running back Andre Brown and tight end Anthony Hill will be graduating.

While NC State enters 2009 with arguably one of the best quarterbacks in the league in Russell Wilson, Mike Glennon provides the only legitimate depth behind him, and if Wilson has another injury-laden season, Glennon won't have to wait long for his shot.

Of the 19 seniors departing, nine are from the defense, and both lines will lose key contributors, including offensive linemen Meares Green and John Bedics. The staff has gone after several recruits for the defensive line, as it loses Keith Willis Jr. and Antoine Holmes, and all four starters on the defensive line might be seniors next season. There's not a lot of young depth behind them right now.

The secondary will also take a hit with the departure of Jeremy Gray and J.C. Neal, and the Pack will need a replacement for Robbie Leonard at linebacker.

ACC will have 18 in Under Armour Senior Bowl

January, 12, 2009
1/12/09
4:02
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

I just received the final list of ACC players who will participate in the Under Armour Senior Bowl on Jan. 24 in Mobile, Ala., and the newest release includes four players from Virginia. It's only fitting that more than half of these bowl-bound players are defenders.

Here is the final list:

Boston College: defensive tackles B.J. Raji and Ron Brace

Clemson: Cullen Harper, quarterback; James Davis, running back; Michael Hamlin, safety

Georgia Tech: Vance Walker, defensive tackle; Michael Johnson, defensive end

North Carolina: Brooks Foster, wide receiver

North Carolina St.: Anthony Hill, tight end; Andre Brown, running back

Virginia: Eugene Monroe, left tackle; Cedric Peerman, running back; John Phillips, tight end; Clint Sintim, linebacker

Virginia Tech: Macho Harris, corner

Wake Forest: Aaron Curry, linebacker; Alphonso Smith, cornerback; Chip Vaughn, safety

Rosters announced for East-West Shrine Game

January, 6, 2009
1/06/09
4:07
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

The East-West Shrine game rosters have been released and the ACC has plenty of representatives. For Seminoles fans wondering why Graham Gano is not in the Senior Bowl, I've got a call in seeking an explanation for that.

Meanwhile, here are the players on the East team:

  • Ron Brace, defensive tackle, Boston College
  • Jaimie Thomas, offensive line, Maryland
  • Aaron Kelly, wide receiver, Clemson
  • Jahi Word-Daniels, defensive back, Georgia Tech
  • Anthony Hill, tight end, NC State
  • Robert Francois, linebacker, Boston College
  • Orion Martin, defensive end, Virginia Tech
  • Graham Gano, punter/placekicker, Florida State
  • Darryl Richard, defensive tackle, Georgia Tech

ACC represents in Senior Bowl

January, 5, 2009
1/05/09
10:30
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

The ACC will be well-represented in the Jan. 24 Under Armour Senior Bowl in Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile, Ala. From what I know, the only school with players yet to be announced is Virginia, and those names should be released in about a week. Here is the most current ACC list:

BC: Defensive tackle B.J. Raji

CLEMSON: Running back James Davis, safety Michael Hamlin, quarterback Cullen Harper

GEORGIA TECH: Defensive end Michael Johnson, defensive tackle Vance Walker

NCSU: Running back Andre Brown, tight end Anthony Hill

UNC: Wide receiver Brooks Foster

VIRGINIA TECH: Cornerback Victor "Macho" Harris, and possibly one more.

WAKE FOREST: Linebacker Aaron Curry, cornerback Alphonso Smith, safety Chip Vaughn

ACC's lunchtime links

December, 29, 2008
12/29/08
12:00
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

Here's a look at what's going on in the league today:

For what is considered by many to be a "lower-tier bowl," officials at the Papajohns.com Bowl couldn't be more pleased with this year's matchup. NC State tight end Anthony Hill has lost a lot of playing time because of injuries during his career, but he never lost an ounce of leadership.

Miami coach Randy Shannon has enough on his mind to keep him awake at night, among them the undecided future of quarterback Robert Marve.

Nebraska's offense has some concerns about Clemson's defense, and it should.

Maryland linebacker Dave Philistin says the Boise field is "a really Smurfy blue," but he's cool with that. There's a story behind that field, you know.

Here is a good recap of Florida State's season.

Reflections on FSU 26, NC State 17

October, 17, 2008
10/17/08
7:38
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

You knew Florida State was going to get the Wolfpack's best shot. You knew the Noles were going to get some costly penalties (thanks, Bobby Bowden and Erin Andrews, for that halftime entertainment). But did anyone think both quarterbacks would combine for three touchdowns and no interceptions?

Both had proved their ability to run, but NC State quarterback Russell Wilson and FSU quarterback Christian Ponder took important strides in their passing games Thursday night. Clearly the Pack is a different team with Wilson in there, and Ponder hasn't been too effective throwing the deep ball, but he had throws of 23, 31 and 19 yards. It's like we're watching him grow up every weekend.

The difference in the game was third downs. NC State's defense couldn't get off the field, and its offense couldn't convert (1 of 9).

But how about NC State when guys like Alan-Michael Cash, Nate Irving and Anthony Hill are back? Irving got hurt again in the second quarter, but he and Cash made a dramatic difference on the Pack's D. When everyone is healthy, this is a good football team that more than likely would have been in the mix had it not had a better team in the training room than on the field. Now they're in a competition with Virginia for the best spoiler team in the league.

What does last night's game mean? The Seminoles might be bigger Maryland fans this weekend than anyone actually in Byrd Stadium. FSU notched an important win against an Atlantic Division opponent, but will be haunted by the loss to Wake Forest unless somebody knocks the Deacs off their perch. Maryland has that chance this weekend. Like I said earlier, it wouldn't surprise me if the Terps beat Wake Forest and then lost to NC State.

NC State quarterback Wilson to start

October, 2, 2008
10/02/08
7:31
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

NC State's chances of beating Boston College just became, well, realistic. According to the Wolfpack's injury report, quarterback Russell Wilson is cleared to play, and coach Tom O'Brien told reporters Thursday that Wilson will start. It looks like tight end Anthony Hill might play, too. Talk about perfect timing for NC State.

Here is NC State's entire injury report:

PROBABLE: TE Anthony Hill -- Pectoralis strain

OUT: DT Alan-Michael Cash -- knee surgery; OG Curtis Crouch -- foot injury; LB Nate Irving -- ankle injury; WR Geron James -- ankle injury; LT Julian Williams -- shoulder injury.

OUT FOR THE SEASON: HB Toney Baker -- knee surgery; WR Donald Bowens -- lower-back stress fractures; TE Matt Kushner -- knee injury; S Javon Walker -- knee surgery

NC State's Bryan exceeding expectations

September, 26, 2008
9/26/08
11:30
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

NC State tight end George Bryan doesn't rattle easily, as evidenced by the ball python named "Louie" he keeps as a pet.

So when the Wolfpack needed their third-string tight end most last weekend against East Carolina, it's no surprise Bryan came through in the clutch. His touchdown catch with just over a minute left in regulation sent the game into overtime and helped the Wolfpack to a shocking 30-24 upset of the then-ranked No. 15 Pirates.

Bryan was thrust into the top spot against Clemson because starter Anthony Hill has been out indefinitely since the season opener with a pectoralis strain, and his backup, Matt Kushner, left the William & Mary game after 24 snaps and is now out for the season with a knee injury.

Now, Bryan is one of just two healthy scholarship tight ends left on the roster. The other, true freshman Mario Carter, will likely be redshirted. So far, it hasn't been a problem, as Bryan heads into Saturday's game against South Florida leading NC State in catches (13), and is third in yards (127), and tied for first with two touchdowns.

"We had no idea that he would be able to play and perform the way he did," NC State coach Tom O'Brien said. "He's gotta do it again this week against another great defense coming in. He's been a pleasant surprise, but I don't want to be in this situation [in which] I see all these surprises."

Who can blame him? It's the second straight season O'Brien's roster has been hindered by an absurd amount of injuries to key players. In 2007, 13 players who were starters at some time (or in the case of Hill, a projected starter), missed a total of 44 games. Six of those starters missed multiple games. In all, the program's medical staff performed 10 knee surgeries between the spring of 2007 and the end of the year.

Four players on this year's roster have already been lost for the season, and the Wolfpack will also be without top linebacker Nate Irving on Saturday, and quarterback Russell Wilson is listed as doubtful.

The plethora of injuries, though, has allowed athletes like Bryan, a redshirt freshman, to shine.

"It was a big role," Bryan said. "I was ready for it, I thought, because I have two great guys ahead of me, Matt Kushner and Anthony Hill, and coach [Jim] Bridge that prepared me very well for just about anything. They basically were saying this could happen, you never know what could happen so you've always got to be ready. They prepared me well. It was a big challenge but I think I handled it well."

Agreed. He caught his first career touchdown against William & Mary, but his second touchdown obviously caught him the most recognition. He called it the high point of his career so far.

"It was an awesome feeling," he said. "It was great to catch that ball in a big situation. That was a real big touchdown."

Bryan said he now has a lot of friends on Facebook he didn't have before, and got tons of text messages, two things he welcomed with a smile. He said his family has helped him stay humble, and that he can't wait for his teammates to return.

Meanwhile, he's got a job to do.

"I just go out there and do what I'm coached," Bryan said. "I trust my coaches and everybody else on my team. We just all do our jobs and it turns out good."

NC State injury report

September, 25, 2008
9/25/08
6:59
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

PROBABLE: Clem Johnson, S

DOUBTFUL: Russell Wilson, QB (and no, there are no specifics, already checked)

OUT: Alan-Michael Cash, DT -- knee surgery; Curtis Crouch, OG -- foot injury; Anthony Hill, TE -- pectoralis strain; Nate Irving, LB -- ankle injury; Geron James, WR -- ankle injury

OUT FOR THE SEASON: Toney Baker, HB -- knee surgery; Donald Bowens, WR -- lower back stress fractures; Matt Kushner, TE -- knee injury; Javon Walker, S -- Knee surgery

The ACC's bedazzling backups

September, 25, 2008
9/25/08
4:59
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

Listening to Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson praise backup quarterback Jaybo Shaw this week, and in talking to NC State coach Tom O'Brien about the success of his third string tight end, it got me thinking.

There have been a lot of backups making differences in the ACC this season. Some, like Virginia Tech's Darren Evans, have simply stolen the spotlight from the starter. Others, like the Hokies' Tyrod Taylor, have stolen the starting job. And many have gotten their opportunity at the unfortunate expense of an injured -- or suspended -- teammate.

Here's a look at the ACC's best backups through the first four weeks:

Boston College: True freshman running back Montel Harris wasn't even on the two-deep when the season started, but after filling in for injured starter Josh Haden (ankle), Harris is the Eagles' leading rusher with 133 yards in two games.

Clemson: Freshman defensive tackle Brandon Thompson was supposed to redshirt, but couldn't after the news Rashaad Jackson would be out for 10 weeks and Jamie Cumbie was lost for the season after the first game. Thompson leads Clemson in tackles for loss with four, and his playing time will only increase.

Duke: Running back Clifford Harris assumed the starting role after a preseason knee injury to Re'quan Boyette. He has rushed 49 times for 203 yards (4.1 YPC) and three touchdowns. He leads Duke and is sixth in the ACC with 67.7 yards per game.

FSU: Linebacker Kenny Ingram filled in for Dekoda Watson while he was suspended and recorded seven tackles, two tackles for loss, a sack, three pass break-ups and had a forced fumble and recovered one. He also batted down a Riley Skinner pass on fourth and one from the FSU 10 which was one of two Skinner passes he batted down in last week's game.

Georgia Tech: In the absence of starting quarterback Josh Nesbitt, Jaybo Shaw has completed 6 of 10 passes for no interceptions, 91 yards and a touchdown in the two games he played in. He also rushed 18 times for 112 yards and two touchdowns.

  • Tyler Melton, a true freshman wide receiver, stepped in for injured Correy Earls (hamstring) before the season opener and is the Yellow Jackets' second-leading receiver (five catches, 53 yards), and primary punt returner.
  • Sedric Griffin, a junior linebacker, made his first career start at Boston College after two starting linebackers (Brad Jefferson, Anthony Barnes) went down in the season opener. Paul Johnson recently called Griffin their "most consistent linebacker" and he is the third leading tackler with 25 tackles and one tackle for loss.

Maryland: Running back Morgan Green took over for the ACC's injured leading rusher, Da'Rel Scott, and scored two touchdowns last weekend against Eastern Michigan.

  • Quarterback Chris Turner started the season as second string behind Jordan Steffy, but inherited the offense after Steffy injured his thumb. Since throwing three interceptions in a loss to Middle Tennessee, Turner has completed 71.4 percent of his passes for 368 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions.

Miami: Senior running back Derron Thomas. He's filled in the role that Graig Cooper had when Cooper was 1b to Javarris James. Thomas has 19 carries for 87 yards and a touchdown, and a 34-yard run against Texas A&M. He's got 121 all-purpose yards in three games.

UNC -- Robert Quinn, a true freshman, started the past two weeks after defensive end Darrius Massenburg went down with a knee injury. Quinn has six tackles, three tackles for losses, one sack and two pressures.

NCSU -- Tight end George Bryan. He was the only option after injuries to Anthony Hill and Matt Kushner. Now he leads the team in catches (13), is third in yards (127) and tied for first with two touchdowns.

Virginia Tech: Darren Evans, the Hokies' No. 2 tailback, leads the team with 264 yards and four touchdowns.

  • Tyrod Taylor -- He's a work in progress, as he hasn't thrown a touchdown yet, but there's no question his playmaking abilities have helped the offense. He's second on the team in rushing with 221 yards and leads with 73.7 yards per game.

UNSUNG HERO

Wake Forest: Ryan McManus, a fourth-year walk-on and the holder for PATs and field goals gets the unsung hero award so far. He saw the play clock running down as the Demon Deacons were lining up for the game-winning field goal against Ole Miss and very alertly called time out. The third-string quarterback does whatever he can to get on the field, including helping out on the punt and punt-return teams. His father was a starting quarterback at Wake Forest in the 1970s and is now an assistant coach at Kent State.

NEXT MAN UP

Here are the three most notable opportunities for players to join the list:

UVA: Quarterback Marc Verica. He was a respectable 22 for 30 (1 INT) for 158 yards in the loss to UConn, but now it's officially his offense. Let's see what he can do now that he's had time to prepare as the starter.

UNC: Quarterbacks Cam Sexton and Mike Paulus. Both are expected to play at Miami this weekend, and will have to carry the offense in the absence of T.J. Yates, who is out for six weeks.

NCSU: Freshman Dwayne Maddox is taking over at weakside linebacker for Nate Irving, the Wolfpack's top playma
ker on defense.

Tuesday Mailblog: Welcome to my office

September, 23, 2008
9/23/08
1:07
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

Where is Dr. Lou when you need him? I should hang a shingle on the blog and become a therapist for the ACC fans who are down and out these days. And it's only Week 5. Here, have a seat on the couch ...

Baldwin from Boston writes: My beloved Eagles aren't lookin too hot these days, can you talk me off the ledge? While the team looked great on the scoreboard this week, the offense was horrendous. Crane doesn't seem to be able to make the quick read or have the accuracy to even be an average qb in the ACC. DD however seemed calmer, quicker with his passes and gave the team a well needed spark. With practically the same experience why wouldn't you build with the younger QB? Keep up the good work and go Eagles!

Heather Dinich: I can promise you this: Jeff Jagodzinski is going to get Dominique Davis about 20 plays a game, according to his Sunday teleconference. That said, Davis is still the backup. If it makes you feel any better, it could be worse. You could be a Carolina fan ...


Justin in Charlotte writes: As a UNC alum, that was awful news and will be a devastating hit to our chances to even make a bowl game. I guess it's hard to fully assess Paulus from a little over a quarter of play, but it did not look good to say the least. I think it's looking more like a 5-7 season at this point. What are your thoughts?

Heather Dinich: Yeah, I'm not going to criticize a redshirt freshman who has been thrown into this situation, but I will say the loss of Yates has it looking bleak. UConn deserves some credit. As poorly as Notre Dame has played, that's still not a given. When I look at their schedule I think the bye week comes at a perfect time for Yates to return. It would give him some time to get out and practice before Georgia Tech. If it's any later than that, the team is in trouble. Who knows what Paulus will do, though.

(Read full post)

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