ACC: Anthony McCloud
Jernigan was already on the field for a majority of snaps throughout most games, and his impact on the defensive line already included more tackles than any other FSU interior lineman in 2012. Still, there's something about hearing his name announced before each game and knowing he's officially secured the job of starter on a unit that's been among the best in the nation in recent years that Jernigan relishes.
"I've been waiting a long time," he said. "So I'm really excited about it."
Jernigan's enthusiasm isn't entirely inflated either. Sure, his playing time isn't likely to shift dramatically, and he's already proven he's capable of handling a sizable role on the defense. But what's truly different for the junior defensive tackle in 2013 isn't about reps or tackles but about his place in the hierarchy of the defense.
For the past two seasons, FSU's line has been the foundation of its defensive scheme. The unit has helped the Seminoles finish in the top three in the nation stopping the run in both 2011 and 2012, and last month, it sent five players on to the NFL, including all of last year's starters.
That, of course, means a massive overhaul for the unit, but thanks to Jernigan's presence -- along with potential breakout stars like Mario Edwards Jr. and Eddie Goldman -- the expectations haven't dipped much. And that's a burden Jernigan hadn't been asked to carry before.
"I feel like it's my D-line now," Jernigan said. "I'm trying to be a leader."
That attention is nice, he admits, but his bigger role in 2013 isn't about burnishing his resume for the next level.
"It inspired me to work even harder toward what I want," Jernigan said. "I'm not really worried about the NFL or anything like that because there's so much more I feel like I have to do here in Tallahassee. I'll worry about that when it's time."
What Jernigan needs to do this season isn't simply a repeat of past performance either.
Jimbo Fisher has been quick to shrug off concerns about the massive changes on the defensive line, noting that Jernigan and Demonte McAllister were already FSU's most productive tackles, but it's hard to ignore the notion that life gets more difficult without established talent surrounding them.
That means Jernigan has to pick up the slack as the centerpiece of the line and help bring along the younger talent alongside him.
Before an ankle injury sidelined him midway through the spring, Jernigan was taking reps alongside a bevy of potential partners on the line, from veterans like Jacobbi McDaniel and Giorgio Newberry to youngsters like Edwards and Goldman. The rotations, he expects, will continue well into the fall, but he admits it's hard not to be impressed by the potential of some of the young guns.
"I like what they're doing because they're asking questions, they're very humble," Jernigan said. "They understand we have all the talent in the world up front but the biggest thing is we've got to get everything going. Those guys are going to be just fine. It's just a matter of understanding what you're doing. Not understanding slows you down, but those guys are going to be just fine."
Of course, Jernigan is dealing with a bit of a learning curve, too. While his position group was spared in the overhaul of FSU's coaching staff this offseason, the new, aggressive schemes being implemented by defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt have added some wrinkles to what had been a relatively straightforward approach.
But like the move from reserve to starter, Jernigan sees the changes as an opportunity to impress.
"That's what I like," Jernigan said. "I like to get off the ball and attack blockers rather than absorb them. It's going to be a positive. I'm very excited about it."
Jimbo Fisher does not see it that way. Not one bit. As spring practice opens today, Fisher needs to find new starters at some key positions, including quarterback, defensive end and linebacker. But he sees players who have had valuable playing experience ready to step right into starting roles, not wet-behind-the-ears freshmen in over their heads.
To him, there is no dropoff between the talent on his 2012 ACC winning team, and the talent on his 2013 team.
"Just because you don’t start a game doesn’t mean you’re not starter material. Do you understand what I’m saying? We’re establishing ourselves as a program again and guys still played as much ball as anybody else."
Fisher gave a host of examples. Every starter on the defensive line is gone -- ends Bjoern Werner and Tank Carradine, and tackles Anthony McCloud and Everett Dawkins. But the players expected to move into the starting lineup played extensively last season. Mario Edwards Jr. and Giorgio Newberry will start with the first-team at end; Timmy Jernigan, perhaps the best interior lineman last year, moves up to start at one tackle spot.
Vince Williams and Nick Moody are gone at linebacker. Into the middle steps Telvin Smith, who has extensive game experience and should have no problems moving up.
Then of course, there is the quarterback spot, a position that folks across the ACC will be paying attention to as the competition begins. Clint Trickett starts out No. 1 on the depth chart, and here again is where playing time has helped him. Trickett has played in 16 games with two starts behind EJ Manuel the last two seasons.
The other three players competing for the starting job -- Jacob Coker, Sean Maguire and Jameis Winston -- have either limited or no game experience. That does not take them out of the mix by any stretch. Fisher already said the position is wide open, and he has no timetable to make a decision. But having game experience is certainly not going to hurt him as the Noles try to find their leader on offense.
"From a talent standpoint, I think we’re still a very talented football team and we have guys with a lot of experience still playing," Fisher said. "We look at returning starters sometimes, it’s a very misleading factor about depth of a team and how much guys have played behind them. I’m excited about these young guys. Even though they’re new starters, they've still played like starters."
As for the coaching changes, six new assistants will be on the field this spring, including new defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt. But Fisher downplayed those changes as well, saying nothing would change about philosophy or with the schemes the Noles run.
"We're going to do things the Florida State way, the way we've been doing," Fisher said.
That means plugging new guys into the starting lineup and believing there will be few hiccups along the way.
- Marcus Davis, WR, Virginia Tech
- Corey Fuller, WR, Virginia Tech
- Erik Highsmith, WR, North Carolina
- Chris Pantale, TE, Boston College
- Sean Renfree, QB, Duke
- Rodney Smith, WR, Florida State
- Omoregie Uzzi, OL, Georgia Tech
- Brandan Bishop, S, NC State
- Xavier Brewer, CB, Clemson
- Izaan Cross, DL, Georgia Tech
- A.J. Francis, DL, Maryland
- Rashard Hall, S, Clemson
- Anthony McCloud, DL, Florida State
- Brandon McGee, CB, Miami
- Rod Sweeting, CB, Georgia Tech
- Joe Vellano, DL, Maryland
- Earl Wolff, S, NC State
- Steve Greer, LB, Virginia
- CB Jared Boyd (leg)
- LB Kelby Brown (leg)
- NG Jamal Bruce (foot)
- S Jordon Byas (leg)
- TE Braxton Deaver (leg)
- LB Britton Grier (hand)
- TE Jack Farrell (leg)
- OG Lucas Patrick (ankle)
- OL Daniel Foose (back)
- DL Anthony McCloud (chest)
- DL Moses McCray (head)
- DL Jacobbi McDaniel (ankle)
- DL Derrick Mitchell (back)
OUT FOR THE SEASON
- DB Rashid Conteh (ankle)
- QB Dustin Dailey (ankle)
- PK/P Nick Ferrara (hip)
- DB Isaac Goins (mononucleosis)
- DB A.J. Hendy (ankle)
- LB Abner Logan (quadriceps)
- DB Matt Robinson (shoulder)
- RB Brandon Ross (hamstring)
- LB Kenny Tate (knee)
- OL Josh Cary (knee)
OUT FOR SEASON
- LB Tariq Edwards (knee)
DB Martin Jenkins (hernia) -- OUT FOR SEASON
WR Daniel Rodriguez (shoulder) -- probable
QB Tony McNeal (torn ACL) -- OUT FOR SEASON
LB Justin Parker (groin) OUT FOR SEASON
Note: OT Gifford Timothy (knee) will start at right tackle
DE Kenny Anunike (leg) -- probable
DE Jordan DeWalt-Ondijo (leg) -- probable
S Anthony Young-Wiseman (leg) -- questionable
DE Jonathan Woodruff (leg) -- doubtful
CB Jared Boyd (leg) -- out
LB Kelby Brown (leg) -- out
NG Jamal Bruce (foot) -- out
S Jordon Byas (leg) -- out
TE Braxton Deaver (leg) -- out
LB Britton Grier (hand) -- out
TE Jack Farrell (leg) -- out
OG Lucas Patrick (ankle) -- out
WR Blair Holliday -- OUT FOR SEASON
DE Allen Jackson (shoulder) -- OUT FOR SEASON
S Taylor Sowell (leg) -- OUT FOR SEASON
OL Daniel Foose (back) -- out
DL Anthony McCloud (chest) -- out
DL Moses McCray (head) -- out
DL Jacobbi McDaniel (ankle) -- out
DL Derrick Mitchell (back) -- out
WR Josh Gehres (hamstring) -- doubtful
TE Dan Hicks (knee) -- OUT FOR SEASON
RB Mario Pender (sports hernia) -- OUT FOR SEASON
DL Keith Bowers (knee) -- out
QB C.J. Brown (knee) -- out
OL Josh Cary (knee) -- out
WR Tyrek Cheeseboro (ankle) -- probable
QB Dustin Dailey (ankle) -- out
PK/P Nick Ferrara (hip) -- out
DB Isaac Goins (sickness) -- out
DB A.J. Hendy (ankle) -- out
LB Abner Logan (quad) -- out
DL Andre Monroe (knee) -- out
DB Matt Robinson (shoulder) -- out
RB Brandon Ross (hamstring) -- out
DL Isaiah Ross (hamstring) -- out
LB Kenny Tate (knee) -- out
LB Raphael Kirby (lower extremity) -- Out
DL Curtis Porter (upper extremity) -- Out
Nick Acree (knee) -- OUT FOR SEASON
The countdown to kickoff continues with …
No. 7 Florida State’s defensive line: This group might be No. 7 on this list, but it could be No. 1 in the country. The Seminoles have closed the gap with the elite defensive lines in the country and it is on par if not better than the likes of LSU and Alabama. It’s a championship-caliber group deep enough that the backups could be starters for other teams. The interior line can rotate in fresh faces without a drop-off, and there are plenty of pass-rushing ends who can change the game. A pair of seniors anchors the middle in tackles Everett Dawkins and Anthony McCloud, and senior Brandon Jenkins and junior Bjoern Werner are equally effective from the end positions. This is a group of game-changers that should remind us of FSU teams of the past.
No. 8: Thursday night games
No. 9: Atlanta
No. 10: NC State's secondary
No. 11: SEC rivalry games
No. 12: Virginia Tech's 10-game winning streak
No. 13: Florida State vs. Clemson
No. 14: North Carolina vs. NC State
No. 15: Unofficial state championships
No. 16: Talented true freshmen
No. 17: Unpredictability
No. 18: ACC vs. Notre Dame
No. 19: Clemson's offensive playmakers
No. 20: The ACC's record chasers
No. 21: Larry Fedora
No. 22: One of the nation's top rushing offenses
No. 23: The last season before expansion
No. 24: Brent Venables
No. 25: A fresh start at Maryland
2011 conference record: 5-3 (t-3rd)
Returning starters: Offense: 6; defense: 8; kicker/punter: 1
QB EJ Manuel, CB Greg Reid, LB Telvin Smith, DE Brandon Jenkins, DE Bjoern Werner, WR Rashad Greene
T Zebrie Sanders, WR Bert Reed, LB Nigel Bradham
2011 statistical leaders (*returners)
Rushing: Devonta Freeman* (579 yards)
Passing: EJ Manuel* (2,666 yards)
Receiving: Rashad Greene* (596 yards)
Tackles: Nigel Bradham (86)
Sacks: Brandon Jenkins* (8)
Interceptions: Lamarcus Joyner* (4)
1. Erving steps in: The Seminoles have to replace both starting offensive tackles, but coach Jimbo Fisher believes he has found a future NFL starter in converted defensive tackle Cameron Erving. The 6-foot-5, 304-pound sophomore from Colquitt, Ga., has good feet and long arms. He stepped in at left tackle, and sophomore Bobby Hart and junior Bryan Stork are battling to start at right tackle entering preseason camp.
2. Deep receiving corps: With big-play wideouts such as Rashad Greene, Kenny Shaw and Christian Green coming back, the Seminoles were already loaded on the perimeter. Throw Willie Haulstead and redshirt freshman Kelvin Benjamin into the mix, and it might be the deepest receiving corps in the country. Haulstead missed all of last season with a concussion, and Benjamin was redshirted. Fisher said the pair might be his team’s best wideouts, which is saying a lot.
3. Defensive line is stocked: Defensive end Bjoern Woerner and tackles Timmy Jernigan and Jacobbi McDaniel missed the spring because of injuries, but their replacements showed FSU will be pretty deep in its defensive front. End Cornellius “Tank” Carradine and nose tackle Anthony McCloud had nice springs.
1. The running game: Florida State struggled to run the ball last season, finishing next-to-last in the ACC at 112.2 yards per game. Injuries were a big part of the problem. The Seminoles didn’t find many answers in the spring. Top returning rushers Devonta Freeman and Chris Thompson missed spring practice because of injuries, and promising sophomore James Wilder Jr. miss a big chunk after he was arrested for resisting arrest in February.
2. Punter: The Seminoles are really going to miss departed punter Shawn Powell, who averaged 47.1 yards per punt and helped FSU’s defense by putting opponents in bad field position. Freshman Cason Beatty, a former high school quarterback, enrolled in classes at FSU in January and participated in spring practice. He struggled with consistency, but FSU coaches like his strong leg and hang time.
3. Backup quarterback: Senior EJ Manuel needs to stay healthy for the Seminoles to reach their potential, but there are a couple good backups behind him. Clint Trickett has added weight and threw the ball well in the spring. He’s still battling redshirt freshman Jacob Coker for the No. 2 job. FSU will also hold its breath to see if highly regarded quarterback recruit Jameis Winston of Hueytown, Ala., enrolls in school or signs a professional baseball contract this summer.
Only five players are expected to miss spring practices, the school announced this afternoon:
- Offensive guards Jacob Fahrenkrug (left shoulder), Garrett Faircloth (hip), offensive lineman Daniel Foose (lower back), defensive tackle Jacobbi McDaniel (ankle) and defensive end Bjoern Werner (right shoulder) will all miss spring practice while rehabbing from those procedures.
- Quarterback EJ Manuel sustained a fractured fibula in his left leg in the Champs Sports Bowl win over Notre Dame, but has been cleared for spring practice.
- Other Seminoles who had some arthroscopic procedures but will take part in spring practice are defensive tackle Darious Cummings (knee), Dustin Hopkins (left knee), Anthony McCloud (knee) and Xavier Rhodes (left knee). Safety Karlos Williams, who sustained a wrist fracture in the regular season finale at Florida, had successful surgery and is expected to practice this spring.
- Chris Thompson, who had a season-ending back injury at Wake Forest in the fifth game of 2011, is expected back for spring practice. Running back Devonta Freeman has been rehabbing a lower back injury, but also is expected to participate in spring practice.
OFFENSIVE BACK – Jacory Harris, Miami, Sr., QB, 6-4, 195, Miami, Fla.
Harris threw three touchdowns in Saturday’s 49-14 win over Duke. Harris orchestrated scoring plays on the first four possessions of the game for the Canes. The signal-caller was 14-of-20 (70%) for 202 yards and passed for three scores. Harris became the second Miami quarterback to pass for 8,000 or more yards in his career. Harris entered the game with 7,895 passing yards and collected 202 against Duke to end with 8,097 yards. With his three touchdown passes, Harris moved into a fourth-place tie in ACC history with 68 career touchdown passes.
RECEIVER – Kris Burd, Virginia, Sr., WR, 6-1, 200, Matoaca, Va.
Kris Burd caught nine passes for 112 yards in Virginia's 31-13 win at Maryland. It was the seventh 100-yard receiving day of his career. The nine receptions were a season high and the 112-yard performance was his second best game this season.
CO-OFFENSIVE LINEMAN – Austin Pasztor, Virginia, Sr., OG, 6-7, 305, Langton, Ontario
The senior offensive guard was nearly flawless in Virginia's 31-13 victory at Maryland. Pasztor played 83 plays and graded out at 93 percent. He had six knockdown blocks as the Cavaliers rushed for 220 yards (4.9 yards per carry) and threw for 307 yards while rolling up a season-high 527 yards. Pasztor and the Cavalier line did not allow a sack as quarterback Michael Rocco attempted 36 passes. It marked the second straight game the unit has not allowed a sack.
CO-OFFENSIVE LINEMAN – Tyler Horn, Miami, Sr., OL, 6-4, 305, Memphis, Tenn.
Tyler Horn helped lead the Miami offense to 467 yards of total offense in a 49-14 win over Duke. The senior center directed an offensive line that did not allow a sack and saw quarterback Jacory Harris pass for three touchdowns and 202 yards. The Canes put up another 265 on the ground, including four scores. With the work of the line, running back Lamar Miller gained 147 yards to go over 1,000 for the season.
DEFENSIVE LINEMAN – Anthony McCloud, Florida State, Jr., NG, 6-2, 311, Thomasville, Ga.
McCloud posted a season-high five tackles (4 solos, 1 assist) from his nose guard position as the Seminoles held BC to 94 yards on 39 carries. Florida State ranks third in the nation in rushing defense. McCloud registered a tackle for loss and a forced fumble, dropping Boston College tailback Rolandan Finch for a six-yard loss on the second drive of the game. FSU recovered at the BC 2 and jumped out to a 7-0 lead it never relinquished. In addition to stuffing the run, McCloud’s ability to push the pocket contributed to FSU limiting BC to 207 total yards.
LINEBACKER – Terrell Manning, NC State, Jr., LB, 6-3, 233, Laurinburg, N.C.
Manning had a huge game for the Wolfpack, which shut out UNC for the first time in 51 years. Manning, a junior form Laurinburg, N.C., played 59 snaps and had 11 total tackles, a sack for 12 yards, three pass breakups and three quarterback knockdowns. Manning had three stops on third down and one stop on fourth down, all in the game’s final 20 minutes.
DEFENSIVE BACK – Rodney McLeod, Virginia, Sr., S, 5-11, 180, Oxon Hill, Md.
The Cavalier defensive back had three interceptions (all in the second half in an 18-minute span) in Virginia's 31-13 victory at Maryland. McLeod's first pick came at the Virginia 27-yard yard line after Maryland had driven to the UVa-30 with the Cavaliers holding a 21-13 advantage. UVa went on to score a TD following the turnover. Both of McLeod's fourth-quarter interceptions came on fourth-down plays, one at the VA 23-yard line and the other at the VA-4 yard line. McLeod also led the Cavaliers in tackles with seven. He becomes the first ACC player this season to record three interceptions. McLeod becomes the first Cavalier to intercept three passes in a game since Anthony Poindexter (current assistant coach) against NC State in 1996. He becomes the fourth BCS player this season to record three interceptions in a single game.
SPECIALIST – Wil Baumann, NC State, Fr., P, 6-4, 185, Wilmington, N.C.
The Wolfpack’s freshman punter was invaluable in the victory over the Tar Heels. Baumann, from Wilmington, N.C., punted seven times for an average of 37.9 yards. He had five punts inside the UNC 20-yard line, four of which were downed at or inside the 10 (two downed at the 10, two at the 7). North Carolina’s average starting field position on its 13 possessions was its own 21.
ROOKIE – Nick O’Leary, Florida State, Fr., TE, 6-4, 240, Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.
The true freshman led the Seminoles with a career-high 87 receiving yards on three receptions, which also matched his previous single-game best. O’Leary’s 58-yard reception of an EJ Manuel pass set up Florida State’s third score, good for a 21-0 lead against Boston College. It was the longest reception by an FSU tight end since Lonnie Johnson’s 78-yard catch in 1993. O’Leary also had a 23-yard reception which set up FSU’s final touchdown of the game early in the fourth quarter.
For Florida State, freshman Nick O'Leary will start in place of senior Beau Reliford at tight end, noseguard Anthony McCloud got the start of Jacobbi McDaniel, and Mike Harris will start at corner instead of Greg Reid. I am told receivers Kenny Shaw and Bert Reed are still game-time decisions. I expect an announcement here in the press box shortly before kickoff. Both are out on the field right now, dressed and running practice routes.
Truth? It would be stunning to me if Shaw -- after the viscious double helmet-to-helmet hit he took last week from Oklahoma -- played in this game and starting quarterback EJ Manuel didn't, but hey, I'm not a doctor and FSU has already confirmed that backup quarterback Clint Trickett will start. Manuel didn't even warm up. His receivers at least look like they're ready.
For Clemson, Brandon Thomas will start at left guard instead of Mason Cloy, and running back Andre Ellington (hamstring) is cleared and back in the starting lineup.
As early as three hours before the game, traffic into Death Valley was slower than a crawl, and the tailgating scene was in full force long before then. There have been a few sightings of Florida State fans, but this is Clemson's home and the Garnet and Gold is hard to find. Most of the fans are still outside the stadium at this point, but the Hill is starting to fill up.
This is one of the toughest venues in the ACC. We'll find out soon enough if Trickett is ready for it.
Joe Gore, DE, Knee
Rashard Hall, Saf, knee
Demont Buice, RB, foot
Corico Hawkins, LB, knee
Bashaud Breeland, DB, shoulder
RB Juwan Thompson (leg) – Probable
S Jordon Byas (foot) -- Questionable
C Brian Moore (arm) – OUT
RB Desmond Scott (leg) – OUT
RB Josh Snead (foot) – OUT
OG Henry Orelus (concussion)
WR Willie Haulstead (concussion)
WR Josh Gehres (knee)
LB Holmes Onwukaife (shoulder)
OL Tre’ Jackson (knee)
DT Anthony McCloud (knee)
SS Nick Moody (quad)
Jabari Price, DB, Finger
Norkeithus Otis, LB Concussion
Devon Ramsay, FB Knee
Joshua Adams, WR Illness
P.J. Clyburn, LB Foot
T.J. Leifheit, OL Ankle
Terry Shankle, DB Knee
Out for season
Jarvis Byrd, CB - knee
Sterling Lucas, LB - knee
Mustafa Greene, HB - foot
J.R. Sweezy, DT - foot
Thomas Teal, DT - foot
Andrew Wallace, OG - knee
Logan Winkles, FB - knee
Jeff Rieskamp, DE - shoulder
Out for Season
Kwamaine Battle (ACL)
Telvion Clark (ankle)
D.J. Coles (shoulder)
Theron Norman (shoulder)
Michael Via (knee)
2. Florida State: All four starters return in juniors Brandon Jenkins, Jacobi McDaniel, Anthony McCloud and Everett Dawkins. Jenkins finished sixth nationally with 13.5 sacks. This group should take another step forward in the second season under coordinator Mark Stoops, but it already has an outstanding base to build on as the Noles ranked third nationally in sacks and 21st in tackles for loss last season.
3. Miami: The Canes should have one of the better rotations in the ACC. They return starters Olivier Vernon, Micanor Regis and Marcus Forston, who combined for 12 sacks and 30.5 TFLs. It’s a deep group, as DE Adewale Ojomo (seven starts), DT Luther Robinson (five starts), DE Marcus Robinson (10 games), DT Curtis Porter (one start), DE Andrew Smith (11 games) and DE Dyron Dye (six games) all have experience.
4. Virginia: Like Florida State, this is another group that should benefit from being in the second season under the same coordinator. Jim Reid switched the scheme back to a traditional 4-3, and the Hoos return a veteran group led by Matt Conrath (33 starts), DT Nick Jenkins (29 starts), and DE Cam Johnson (22 starts).
5. Georgia Tech: The Yellow Jackets have a better understanding of what is expected from them in their second season in Al Groh’s 3-4 defense, and all three starters return in ends Izaan Cross (41 tackles) and Jason Peters (52 tackles), and tackle Logan Walls. Defensive tackles Shawn Green, T.J. Barnes and J.C. Lanier will also compete for playing time along with DE Anthony Williams.
6. Maryland: The Terps should be solid up front with the return of Joe Vellano, A.J. Francis and Justin Anderson. Francis is the veteran of the group (19 career starts) and had 44 tackles and 2.5 sacks last season, but Vellano is also an all-conference candidate. The Terps have good depth with Zachariah Kerr, Isaiah Ross and Bradley Johnson.
7. Virginia Tech: This is a group that could and should jump a few spots by the end of the season. On paper, they’ve got to replace three starters, but this spring the group proved capable of getting the Hokies back to their days of dominating on defense. Based on potential, they should be ranked higher, but based on lack of dependable, proven depth, they could even fall lower.
8. Clemson: It will be difficult for the Tigers to replace the production of Da’Quan Bowers, but the defensive line is in capable hands with Andre Branch and Brandon Thompson, and Malliciah Goodman has embraced the challenge of taking Bowers’ spot. Branch was second on the team with five sacks last season and 8.5 tackles for loss. Thompson had 40 tackles, including six for losses. Defensive tackle Rennie Moore, DE Kourtnei Brown and DT Tyler Shatley also have experience.
9. NC State: Defensive tackle J.R. Sweezy is one of the underrated players in the ACC, and he returns along with defensive end Jeff Rieskamp. Several players got significant snaps last season, though, including DE Darryl Cato-Bishop (13 tackles), DT Markus Kuhn (17 tackles, and DT Brian Slay (20 tackles, two TFLs).
10. Wake Forest: The Deacs return three starters including Tristan Dorty, Kyle Wilber and Zack Thompson. Thompson only started five games last season, but after spring practices, coach Jim Grobe said Thompson has all-conference potential.
11. Boston College: Starters Max Holloway and Kaleb Ramsey return, along with four other linemen (DTs Dillon Quinn and Conor O’Neal, and DEs Dan Williams and Kasim Edebali) who each started at least two games last fall.
12. Duke: Until proven otherwise, this is where the Blue Devils belong, but Rick Petri was hired to change that. He’ll have veteran nose guard Charlie Hatcher (24 career starts) to work with, and sophomore Sydney Sarmiento, who started 11 games last season. Junior Kenny Anunike, Justin Foxx and DEs Desmond Johnson and Jamal Wallace could also see playing time.
“Neither one was hit,” coach Jimbo Fisher said in the team's practice report. “They were cuts on the field and there wasn’t anyone around them. They just stuck their foot in the ground and it went out. It’s very unfortunate because they’re both great kids.”
The losses are adding up for Florida State, which also suspended junior linebacker Nigel Carr and dismissed receiver Jarmon Fortson from the team. None of the interior defensive linemen has more than one season of college experience. It's not an ideal situation for a defense in transition. It has been an opportunity, though, for younger plays to get important snaps this summer.
Sophomore wide receivers Rodney Smith and Willie Haulstead, and redshirt freshman defensive tackle Demonte McAllister will now be called upon to provide more help. On the defensive line, Fisher will rely upon tackles Jaccobi McDaniel, Everett Dawkins and Anthony McCloud.
“For me it means I have an opportunity coming in behind Everett (Dawkins) and try to work my way into the rotation,” said McAllister. “Moses is a big loss for us, but we are going to continue to fight hard and make a difference."
CB Xavier Rhodes RS-Fr. -- He's 6-foot-1 with a solid frame, outstanding feet and receiver skills. He split time at boundary corner this past spring with starter Ochuko Jenije and is likely to push the veteran for the starting job this summer.
DT Anthony McCloud RS-So. -- The junior college transfer brings size (300 pounds) to a unit in need. He was very productive as a true freshman at Itawamba (Miss.) Community College after starring at Thomasville (Ga.) Thomas County Central. He originally signed with Florida State as a member of the 2008 class and has three years of eligibility remaining.
CB Lamarcus Joyner Fr. -- The USA Today National Defensive Player of the Year is a bigger version of Greg Reid and may contribute as a kickoff returner as well. ESPN Recruiting services ranked him the No. 1 cornerback in his class and the No. 6 prospect overall.
More fresh faces:
Athlon published a list of transfers who could have a significant impact this fall, and the ACC did its part in providing some of the talent, especially at the quarterback position.
Miami played a significant role in that, as you might remember Robert Marve, Taylor Cook and Cannon Smith. It's no wonder coach Randy Shannon has struggled with depth, as five transfers are listed from the Canes. Clemson's Willy Korn also made the list.
The only incoming quarterback listed is Maryland's Clay Belton. The Terps actually made out the best with the transfers, as they could get a nice surprise at tight end with the addition of former Notre Dame two-sport athlete Will Yeatman. Yeatman, also a lacrosse player, has talked extensively with offensive coordinator James Franklin about joining the football team.
A few more transfers worth watching this year include Florida State redshirt sophomores Anthony McCloud (DT), Debrale Smiley (RB), and Duke tight end Cooper Helfet. They are junior college transfers. NC State signed four junior college transfers, and the Pack could use the help up front from OT Mikel Overgaard and DE David Akinniyi.