ACC: Bruce Campbell

Maryland spring wrap-up

May, 7, 2010

2009 overall record: 2-10

2009 conference record: 1-7

Returning starters

Offense: 7, defense: 5, punter/kicker 2

Top returners

WR Torrey Smith, C Paul Pinegar, RB Da’Rel Scott, WR Adrian Cannon, LB Alex Wujciak, LB Demetrius Hartsfield, LB Adrian Moten, P Travis Baltz, CB Cameron Chism

Key losses

LT Bruce Campbell, C Phil Costa, QB Chris Turner, FS Terrell Skinner, CB Anthony Wiseman, SS Jamari McCollough

2009 statistical leaders (* returners)

Rushing: Scott* (425 yards)

Passing: Turner (2,069 yds)

Receiving: Smith* (824 yards)

Tackles: Wujciak* (131)

Sacks: Moten* (6)

Interceptions: Chism* (4)

Spring answers

1. Separation at quarterback. Maryland wrapped up spring with Jamarr Robinson as its new quarterback, Danny O’Brien his backup and C.J. Brown No. 3. Robinson made good decisions, threw the ball pretty well and limited his turnovers despite two picks in the spring game. He has a quiet confidence and started to become more of a leader, taking control of the huddle.

2. Growing confidence in the offensive line. The staff feels much better about this group than it did at the start of spring. The lineup isn’t 100 percent settled, but if the Terps played tomorrow, Justin Gilbert would start at left tackle, R.J. Dill at right tackle, Andrew Gonnella at left guard, and Paul Pinegar at center. For the past couple of weeks, Justin Lewis and Bennett Fulper have shared time at right guard. Lamar Young has a chance to work his way into the rotation after missing the spring for offseason shoulder surgery.

3. Potential on the defensive line. Maryland lost three starters to graduation on the defensive line, but found some capable replacements this spring. Defensive tackle Joe Vellano, who missed the first half of 2009 and never quite got back to full speed, was one of the surprises this spring. Coach Ralph Friedgen praised Vellano, but questioned whether or not he can maintain that success on Saturdays this fall. Overall, the staff seemed to settle on Vellano and A.J. Francis at tackle, along with Zachariah Kerr.

Fall questions

1. Depth in the secondary. The Terps will have three new starters, but the safety position remains the biggest concern, enough so that Maryland could turn to a true freshman to help. The staff feels good about safeties Antwine Perez and Kenny Tate, but they need some help behind them and would like to solidify a fourth corner this summer.

2. How will the offensive line hold up? Yes, they made progress this spring, but the group has been a weak link. Part of that can be attributed to inexperience, but it’s an older group this year. Maryland has enough talent at running back to help take some pressure off of Robinson in his first full season as starter, but the offense will only improve as much as the players up front.

3. Will Maryland get back to the postseason? After just one win in conference play, Friedgen’s future at Maryland was in doubt. The pressure is on, but there has been a renewed sense of commitment and determination this offseason. Maryland’s season opener against Navy could set the tone for the whole season.

ACC's lunchtime links

April, 26, 2010
Spring games and the NFL draft made for a busy weekend in the ACC ...

  • Full disclosure: I'm from Pennsylvania. Born on the Western side. That makes me a Steelers fan. Welcome to the club, Jonathan Dwyer. The surprising news, though, was how long Dwyer had to wait to get there.
  • Former Maryland offensive tackle Bruce Campbell also went later than many expected, falling to the fourth round.
  • It took until the final day for a trio of Miami players to hear their names called -- not that Jason Fox minded.
  • Former Wake Forest offensive lineman Chris DeGeare was surprised he wound up with Minnesota.
  • There are a few remaining concerns for the Carolina schools heading into the summer.
  • Virginia Tech and FSU have been deemed the ACC's early front-runners by at least one media outlet already.
  • Here are seven storylines worth watching in the conference this year.
  • Former FSU safety Myron Rolle convinced the Tennessee Titans he was worthy of a pick, even if it didn't come until the sixth round.
  • FSU coach Jimbo Fisher answered a few of the media's questions on this week's ACC teleconference.
  • Michael Vick received a mostly warm welcome back to Virginia Tech this past weekend.
  • Former Georgia Tech receiver Demaryius Thomas' success has inspired Stephen Hill to aim for the same.

NFL draft: Round 2

April, 23, 2010
ESPN's Mel Kiper has a few ACC players on his radar for tonight's second round of the NFL draft. Here's who made the cut in his second-round mock draft:

The analysts at Scouts Inc. project Cook higher, as the second pick in the second round, and he's the only ACC player they have in the second round. The third round seems to be where the ACC will have some good representation, according to Scouts Inc. That's where to find players like Clemson's Ricky Sapp, Virginia Tech's Jason Worilds, and Miami's Jimmy Graham.

ACC's lunchtime links

April, 22, 2010
It's time to talk NFL draft ...

  • For the second straight year, Maryland could have another first-round NFL draft pick, but opinions vary on offensive tackle Bruce Campbell.
  • Former Georgia Tech wide receiver Demaryius Thomas could end up near my area code if he's chosen by the Baltimore Ravens. Welcome to B-more, Bay-Bay.
  • Thomas' big day will mean a lot to his entire community.
  • Here's a look at Georgia Tech's draft prospects.
  • Former Clemson running back C.J. Spiller has the chance to become only the second Tiger chosen in the top 10 of the draft since 1982.
  • Virginia is banking on former cornerback Chris Cook as its lone player with a chance of moving into the opening round.
  • Miami's former hoopster-turned-tight-end could be the Canes' top draft pick.
  • History implies that UNC's Cam Thomas and Wake's Brandon Ghee will spend about five years in the NFL.
  • Will Chris Hazley become the Hokies' next one-year wonder at kicker?
  • FSU's potential draft picks could give the program a boost in recruiting -- not that it needs it.
  • Miami quarterback Jacory Harris is expected to resume throwing in about two weeks.

Terps' Campbell first ACC player selected in NFL draft?

March, 12, 2010
PM ET's Mel Kiper and Todd McShay both updated their mock drafts, and while there are several discrepancies between the two, both agree that former Maryland tackle Bruce Campbell will be the ACC's first player taken in the April NFL draft. Both have Campbell being selected No. 8 by the Oakland Raiders.

Bruce Campbell
Brad Schloss/Icon SMITwo ESPN draft experts have Bruce Campbell being drafted at No. 8 overall in their latest projections.
Here's Kiper's take on it:
You could see the Raiders taking Trent Williams or Anthony Davis here, but Campbell fits the Al Davis profile. He's a need pick and maybe a reach, but he's also a stunningly impressive physical package, tops among all tackles available. Campbell has star talent, but his productivity is still a question. In a nutshell, he makes sense in Oakland.

And McShay:
Why not? A fringe first-round prospect on most boards, Campbell was the workout warrior at this year's combine, and Al Davis' obsession with height-weight-speed combos is well-known. Trent Williams would be a better choice but also would be a reach, and Campbell's physical tools are off the charts.

The unfortunate part for ACC fans is that they never got to see Campbell reach his full potential. We're talking about a player who only has 17 career starts. He missed three games last year because of injuries. Maryland and Campbell both probably could have benefited from another season in College Park, but clearly it's not hurting his draft status or his wallet. Because of Campbell's short tenure and exposure in the conference, ACC fans might be surprised to hear Campbell would be taken ahead of the guys who stole the headlines.

The only other ACC players Kiper and McShay have slotted in their first-round picks are former Georgia Tech defensive end Derrick Morgan (Kiper says 10th pick, McShay No. 16), and former Clemson running back C.J. Spiller (McShay says 14th pick; Kiper No. 19).

Maryland pro timing day results

March, 11, 2010
There were about 35 representatives from 27 NFL teams at Maryland on Wednesday watching 12 former Terps in a three-hour audition for a possible career at the next level.

No pressure.

Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen said he puts more stock into the players' game film than their timed drills.

“Personally, I think it is more important to see what their tape shows,” Friedgen said, according to the team's practice report. “That’s the true indicator. But you never know what is going to trigger somebody’s excitement. If a guy runs a great time or if he shows how strong he is and has a great workout, it can definitely help their status in the draft.”

That could be the case for a player like Nolan Carroll, who was injured this past season and didn't participate in the NFL combine drills. On Wednesday, Carroll had the best times in the 40-yard dash (4.39), pro agility drill (4.21) and L drill (6.81). He also did 17 reps on the 225-pound bench press and had a vertical jump of 37.5 inches.

Offensive tackle Bruce Campbell, a projected first-round pick, didn't have much to prove after earning some of the best marks among offensive linemen at the combine last month. Campbell led all offensive linemen in the 40-yard dash, bench press, vertical jump, three-cone drill and 20-yard shuttle.

On Wednesday, he ran through on-field drills with the pro scouts at the Terps' practice facility.

“It actually feels really good to have done everything at the combine,” Campbell said. “... It feels good because, three years ago, I didn’t expect myself to be here.”

Offensive lineman Phil Costa, one of the strongest players in team history, recorded 30 reps on the bench press and had a vertical jump of 35 inches.

Cornerback Richard Taylor had 30 reps on the bench press, ran a 4.49 in the 40 and tied Anthony Wiseman for the second-best pro agility drill (4.33). Wiseman also had the third-best 40-yard dash (4.47) and Terrell Skinner posted the No. 2 time in the L drill (7.18).

Cory Jackson had an impressive time for a fullback, running the 40 in 4.70.

Terps on display at pro timing day

March, 10, 2010
A few former Terps will audition today for NFL scouts at Maryland's pro timing day, which will be held at the Gossett Team House, Cole Field House and the outdoor practice facility.

Among those expected to work out are OL Bruce Campbell, DB Nolan Carroll, DL Jared Harrell, DL Travis Ivey, RB Cory Jackson, DB Terrell Skinner, QB Chris Turner and DB Anthony Wiseman.

The players will be tested in several drills, including the vertical jump, broad jump, bench press, 60-yard shuttle and 40-yard dash. Campbell has already made a splash with his freakish physique recently at the NFL combine. Jackson and Skinner played in the Under Armour Senior Bowl, and Ivey took part in the Texas vs. the Nation game. Carroll also participated in the NFL combine in Indianapolis.

ACC position superlatives: Maryland

March, 5, 2010
We'll check out the Terps before the series resumes on Monday with Miami.

Strongest position: Linebackers

Key returnees: Alex Wujciak, Adrian Moten, Demetrius Hartsfield

Key departures: None.

The skinny: All three starters and their backups return. The only missing player from the group will be Drew Gloster, who is moving to defensive end to help with speed on the outside. Last year’s backup linebackers showed potential -- especially Ben Pooler, Avery Murray, and Darin Drakeford. Moten and Wujciak were the most productive players on defense last year.

Weakest position: Offensive line

Key returnees: RT R.J. Dill, LG Paul Pinegar and Bennett Fulper.

Key departures: C Phil Costa and LT Bruce Campbell

The skinny: The position took a significant hit from the decision of Campbell to leave early for the NFL draft. It’s a young group, but it’s in better shape than it was a year ago as far as guys at least having minimal experience. The Terps have six players who started at least one game. Fulper was a true freshman the staff liked last year, and Pinegar will take over for Costa at center. Justin Gilbert will be promoted to starting left tackle in place of Campbell.


Odds 'n' ends from the NFL combine

March, 3, 2010
You can find all of the NFL combine tests results here, but I thought I'd point out a few highlights -- and some lowlights -- for some of the former ACC players who participated the past few days.

[+] EnlargeFord
AP Photo/Michael ConroyJacoby Ford had the fastest time in the 40-yard dash of any player at the combine.
C.J. Spiller and Jacoby Ford showcased their blazing speed, as Ford posted the fasted 40-yard dash time (4.28) and Spiller was second among running backs (4.37). Kam Chancellor had a ball bounce off his hands and Crezdon Butler appeared "stiff in space" according to our Scouts Inc. report. Former Georgia Tech defensive end Derrick Morgan didn't do anything to jeopardize his spot as a high first-round pick, but safety Morgan Burnett missed the 40-yard dash with a hamstring injury.

• Steve Muench of Scouts Inc. on Virginia CB Chris Cook:
Virginia CB Chris Cook turned some heads at the Senior Bowl, and he's doing the same in Indianapolis. At 6-2 and 212 pounds Cook posted an unofficial 4.43 seconds. That's an excellent size-speed combination for a safety and rare to see in a corner. Cook also recorded a jaw-dropping 11-0 broad jump.

• Muench on former Virginia Tech linebacker Cody Grimm:
Virginia Tech's Cody Grimm is an interesting prospect. Grimm appears instinctive and relentless on film, but he played outside linebacker in college and is just not big enough to line up there in the NFL. He measured just 5-10^ and 203 pounds and would be a better fit at safety, where he would have the potential to develop into an adequate reserve and special-teams contributor. Grimm's 4.54 time in the 40 is encouraging because the average time for safeties last year was 4.63 seconds and in 2008 was 4.55 seconds.

• What to make of Jonathan Dwyer? He was listed as one of the 10 most polarizing players in the combine by Bruce Feldman:
There were a bunch of fast backs in Indy; Dwyer was not one of them. His size is good (228 pounds) and he looks dynamic on film, but some skeptics will wonder if much of that is due to the frenetic nature of the triple option scheme he played in at Tech. He didn't test as a particularly explosive guy, and he looked shaky in the position drills and didn't seem comfortable as a receiver.

• Here's an excerpt from Todd McShay on former FSU safety Myron Rolle:
Purely from a football standpoint, Rolle has the tools of a potential third-round pick who could be developed into an adequate starter two or three years down the road. However, while NFL teams love the Rhodes scholar's intelligence and work ethic, there is a growing concern regarding his long-term dedication to football. Rolle is in a truly unique situation and has a lot of convincing to do between now and the draft.

• The Sporting News listed Miami's Jimmy Graham, Maryland's Bruce Campbell and Clemson's Jacoby Ford among its offensive combine winners. Russ Lande of TSN listed Derrick Morgan and Virginia Tech's Jason Worilds among the defensive winners, but it doesn't sound good for Duke's Vince Oghobaase.

• Campbell really turned some heads with his 40 time. Chad Reuter of wrote:
Campbell also has 36.5-inch arms and bench-pressed 225 pounds 34 times. Said one scout said, "He has the best body of anyone I've ever seen."

• Of course, the question is whether he can block. Said NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock, "If there's a star so far in the combine, it's him. What he's going to have to overcome is the tape."

• Reuter on Miami's Graham:
Miami (Fla.) tight end Jimmy Graham ran a 4.56, according to Graham played only one season of football for the Hurricanes, but his basketball background intrigues scouts and his blistering 40 time could lift Graham as high as the second round.

ACC's lunchtime links

March, 3, 2010
I've got no control over which teams are getting the ink. Only which ink gets the link.

  • Miami running back Lamar Miller might not be able to beat wide receiver Travis Benjamin in a race, but he's fast enough that he's catching everyone's attention again this spring.
  • If FSU's defense is going to improve this year, it has to start with the linebackers and stopping the run. New assistant Greg Hudson says if a guy can't tackle, he won't play. Good philosophy.
  • Former FSU linebacker Dekoda Watson showed his athleticism at the combine, but it's his durability and production that's in question.
  • Former Maryland offensive lineman Bruce Campbell has been one of the more impressive looking athletes at the combine.
  • There were a few former ACC players who have improved their stock at the combine.

What to watch in the ACC this spring

February, 15, 2010
Here's a breakdown of three issues facing each program heading into the spring:


Spring practice starts: March 18

Spring game: April 24

What to watch:

• How linebacker Mark Herzlich progresses. Herzlich, who was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma cancer last May, has been going through winter conditioning with his teammates, and he plans on participating in spring drills. How quickly he regains his form will be worth watching, as he and sophomore Luke Kuechly could give the Eagles one of the most formidable linebacking corps.

• The quarterback battle. After one season, Dave Shinskie has the most experience on the roster, but he’ll get some competition from Josh Bordner and Chase Rettig, two early enrollees. There were times last season when Shinskie looked like the future of the position and there were others when he looked like any other freshman.

• Defensive linemen. For the second straight year, BC is looking for some stability up front. The Eagles have to replace left tackle Austin Giles and defensive end Jim Ramella. They return Kaleb Ramsey, Giles’ backup, and Brad Newman, Ramella’s reserve, but some young faces are likely to be seen in the rotation.


Spring practice starts: March 7

Spring game: April 10

What to watch:

• Life without C.J. Spiller officially begins. The backs behind him had a pretty good year, so there’s no need for full panic mode. Jamie Harper and Andre Ellington actually combined for a higher yards per carry average (6.1 to 5.6 yards). Clemson will also be looking to replace Spiller’s lost kickoff return yardage. The Tigers had a 13-yard advantage in average starting field position, as their start was their own 37-yard line compared to opponents’ 24-yard line. Ellington is a candidate in the return game.

• Kyle Parker’s batting average. No, really. How well Parker does this spring with the baseball team will help determine whether he remains Clemson’s quarterback or turns to the MLB draft. He didn’t have a great 2009 season, but he was still the fastest player to 25 home runs in school history. It remains to be seen this spring if he’ll become a high enough draft choice to give up college football.

• Secondary shuffling. It seems like eons ago since Crezdon Butler and Chris Chancellor weren’t the Tigers’ starting corners, as Butler started 40 straight games and Chancellor started 42. Butler finished his career second in school history in interception return yards. Now it’s time for a new duo. Will Marcus Gilchrist move to corner, which he’s capable of doing? Might Rashard Hall move to safety with DeAndre McDaniel?


Spring practice starts: Feb. 14

Spring game: March 27

What to watch:

• Quarterback competition. Somebody has to take over for the graduated Thaddeus Lewis, but his backup – Sean Renfree – will miss the spring with a torn ACL. Redshirt freshman Sean Schroeder should be heavily in the mix to be the starter, pending Renfree’s recovery.

• Defensive line makeover. It’s wide open. Charlie Hatcher is entrenched at nose guard, but it’s really anyone’s game. The staff might move redshirt senior Wesley Oglesby, who played the majority of his career at defensive end, inside. Other options are defensive tackle Sydney Sarmiento, a redshirt freshman, and Curtis Hazelton, who played sparingly last season.

• Johnny Williams’ move from wide receiver to cornerback. He had 31 catches in 2009 – the fourth-best on the team. Now they need his help in the defensive backfield. Duke will lose starter Leon Wright and his 10 career interceptions, and the pass defense, which allowed 215.75 yards per game, could use a boost.


Spring practice starts: March 16

Spring game: April 10

What to watch:

• Christian Ponder’s return from shoulder surgery. Ponder is expected to practice this spring, though it could be on a limited basis, at least early. He’s ahead of schedule, but the coaches won’t subject him to any risks now. Yes, E.J. Manuel is talented and played well at the end of the season, but make no mistake – Ponder is FSU’s starter and a potential Heisman Trophy candidate.

• The defense under first-year coordinator Mark Stoops. His secondary, in particular, will be interesting to watch, as will how quickly he can help the front seven generate a pass rush and plug the middle. Stoops has been a secondary coach, and the Noles lost three starters there. The fourth, Ochuko Jenije, could be pushed to retain his job.

• New faces, new opportunities. In addition to the fab freshmen who are coming in, FSU has a handful of unfamiliar players already on the roster who played sparingly or not at all. We'll see how they fit in this spring. RS-So DT Anthony McCloud and RS-So RB Debrale Smiley are both junior college transfers and former teammates. Physically, freshman linebacker Jeff Luc is already a man, but how quickly can he mature on the field? Two young wide receivers worth watching are Rodney Smith and Willie Haulstead.


Spring practice starts: March 29

Spring game: April 24

What to watch:

• The defensive transformation. The Jackets will switch from the 4-3 to the 3-4 under first-year coordinator Al Groh. In addition to learning the new scheme, the staff has to figure out who goes where. Linebackers might play defensive end and vice versa, safeties might play outside linebacker. It’s anyone’s guess as to how this team lines up in the spring.

• The replacements. From Georgia Tech’s coaching staff to the new faces who will be tasked with filling in for the Fab Four -- Jonathan Dwyer, Derrick Morgan, Morgan Burnett and Demaryius Thomas -- the Jackets will need some “Hello My Name Is” tags this spring.

• The offensive line. Three offensive linemen redshirted who could start, and Georgia Tech might need them to, especially if guard Joseph Gilbert decides to transfer to pursue his MBA. The Jackets lose two starters on the offensive line, and Gilbert, who graduates this spring, would be a third if he leaves. Center Sean Bedford and tackle Austin Barrick return as seniors.


Spring practice starts: March 23

Spring game: April 24

What to watch:

• The quarterback competition. Chris Turner has graduated, leaving Jamarr Robinson the top option going into the spring, but he has limited experience. The staff liked what he did when Turner was injured, but Danny O’Brien, Miami (Ohio) transfer Clay Belton and C.J. Brown will all be given an opportunity. Look for O’Brien to start the spring at No. 2 on the depth chart.

• Cornerback: Cameron Chism is the only returning starter in the secondary, but right now the staff has fewer concerns about the safeties. Maryland will have to find some bodies at corner, and Dexter McDougle, who redshirted as a true freshman last year, is one option. Michael Carter and Trenton Hughes, who was the third corner last year, are also among a handful of candidates.

• The offensive line. Losing Bruce Campbell to the NFL hurt, but the Terps also lost starter Phil Costa. Justin Gilbert, a redshirt sophomore, could inherit Campbell’s job. And there’s always Mr. Versatility -- Paul Pinegar. He has helped the Terps at both tackle spots and left guard, and this spring he’ll likely be given a shot at center.


Spring practice starts: Feb. 23

Spring game: March 27 (tentative)

What to watch:

• Tight end/offensive line: Jimmy Graham is gone, and the Canes don’t return any tight ends with any experience other than Richard Gordon, who was injured the majority of last season. Miami signed four tight ends in this recruiting class, but none of them were early enrollees. Miami has to replace three starters up front, including both tackles and the center.

• How the two young quarterbacks perform: The health of Jacory Harris was precious last year, as he had nobody behind him with any experience after the transfers of Taylor Cook and Cannon Smith. The depth has improved a bit with A.J. Highsmith, who played sparingly last year, and Stephen Morris, one of the early enrollees.

• Upgrade on the d-line? Progress up front began with the hire of Rick Petri as defensive line coach, and it’s up to Petri to help the Canes become better pass rushers. Miami will depend upon its two mainstays -- Allen Bailey and Josh Holmes. The right end position was a group effort last year, and Miami has to replace Joe Joseph and Eric Moncur.


Spring practice starts: March 15

Spring game: April 10

What to watch:

• Quarterback T.J. Yates. It’s his job to lose, and the coaching staff still has confidence in him, but Bryn Renner is waiting in the wings, and Braden Hanson will also be given an opportunity. The staff is looking for the offense to improve its passing efficiency and cut down on turnovers.

• The offensive line. It was a patchwork effort in 2009, thanks to injuries and inexperience, and will be a major key in how much UNC improves offensively this year. The Heels have to replace two starters, and Jonathan Cooper is likely to move from guard to center, and right guard Alan Pelc will miss spring drills while recovering from shoulder surgery.

• Defensive line tweaks. There aren’t many questions on a defense that should be one of the best in the country, but somebody has to replace Cam Thomas and defensive end E.J. Wilson. Tydreke Powell is the frontrunner to take over at defensive tackle and Quinton Coples at defensive end. Both were backups last year at their respective positions.


Spring practice starts: March 9

Spring game: April 17

What to watch:

• Backup quarterback Mike Glennon. Russell Wilson is the starter, but he’s going to be playing baseball all spring. Keep an eye on his backup to see if Glennon can make it any more of a competition in Wilson’s absence.

• Chris Ward at punter. No, it’s not usually, the highlight of the spring, but in this case, it’s necessary. Ward is it -- he’s their only option right now, and it’s a position the Pack struggled with last year. Ward was expected to be the starter last season, but he was inconsistent. He’s definitely got the talent to be the guy.

• The recovery of linebacker Nate Irving. After being severely injured in a one-car crash last summer, Irving is hopeful he can go through spring drills. He has been lifting with the team and running with the sports medicine staff, but it’s still uncertain how limited his contact will be.


Spring practice starts: March 15

Spring game: April 10

What to watch:

• Quarterback competition. Marc Verica is the only one with any experience, and first-year offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Bill Lazor hasn’t been in Charlottesville long enough to evaluate any of the candidates. That’s what the spring is for, and true freshman Michael Strauss is the lone incoming quarterback on campus, so he’ll have a head start on the playbook. Of the four quarterbacks Virginia signed in this year’s class, Strauss is the only one listed as a true quarterback. The Cavs also have Ross Metheny, who redshirted last year, and Riko Smalls, who redshirted in ‘08 and was No. 2 on the depth chart when Verica was out with a concussion.

• Coaching transition. First-year coach Mike London has hired almost an entirely new staff, and they’ll bring changes in philosophy and scheme. London has said he wants to get the defense back to the traditional 4-3, and revert to the tradition of featuring the tight ends, offensive linemen and running backs.

• Running back. The Cavs will have the help up front, but they need to replace their four leading rushers in Mikell Simpson, Rashawn Jackson, Vic Hall and Jameel Sewell. The staff will look at true freshman Kevin Parks, but also have Torrey Mack and Dominique Wallace, who had just seemed to be coming on at Southern Miss when he was injured and missed the rest of the season.


Spring practice starts: March 31

Spring game: April 24

What to watch:

• Revamped defensive line. The Hokies have to replace three of four starters up front. The only defensive ends with significant playing time are Chris Drager, who the staff wanted to move back to tight end, and Steven Friday. Redshirt freshmen will be given a chance – Duan Perez-Means, Tyrel Wilson, James Gayle and J.R. Collins – but they’ve never played. Isaiah Hamlette is the only other end who’s played and that was a skinny minute. At defensive tackle, Antoine Hopkins will be the frontrunner to replace Cordarrow Thompson.

• Darren Evans’ comeback. Evans, the team’s leading rusher in 2008, is working his way back from a season-ending ACL injury, and one of the biggest questions in Blacksburg is how the staff will divide the carries in such a talented backfield that includes Ryan Williams. With two returning 1,000-yard rushers, will David Wilson decide to redshirt? The spring will help him in that decision.

• The evolution of Tyrod Taylor. He’s going to be a senior, and with so many questions on defense heading into the season, the offense will be leading the way. This should be a breakout year for Taylor, who by now should have mastered the offense and should consistently be a passing threat to compliment his running abilities.


Spring practice starts: March 16

Spring game: April 17

What to watch:

• The quarterback competition. It’s the most glaring hole the Deacs have to fill this spring, as they’re tasked with replacing the winningest quarterback in school history, Riley Skinner, and his backup, Ryan McManus. Redshirt sophomores Ted Stachitas and Skylar Jones, and sophomore Brendan Cross, will compete with rookie Tanner Price for the top spot.

• Offensive line. The Deacs will take a huge hit here, as seven players in the two-deep depth chart were redshirt seniors, including all four tackles. Three starters have to be replaced.

• The interior defensive line. Nose guard Boo Robinson and John Russell have graduated, and Russell’s backup, Michael Lockett, was also a redshirt senior. The Deacs are in good shape at the ends, but will need some help inside.

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, Coastal Division, Atlantic Division, Miami Hurricanes, Wesley Oglesby, Russell Wilson, Darren Evans, Christian Ponder, Ochuko Jenije, Chris Drager, Cam Thomas, Demaryius THomas, Justin Gilbert, Isaiah Hamlette, Marc Verica, Rashawn Jackson, A.J. Highsmith, Boo Robinson, Torrey Mack, Trenton Hughes, Quinton Coples, Chris turner, Phil Costa, Cannon Smith, Jamarr Robinson, Mike Glennon, Tyrod Taylor, David Wilson, Jimmy Graham, Cameron Chism, Jamie Harper, CHris Chancellor, Michael Carter, Ryan McManus, Joseph Gilbert, Brad Newman, Antoine Hopkins, Sean Renfree, Dave Shinskie, Cordarrow Thompson, Richard Gordon, Mikell Simpson, Austin Barrick, Johnny Williams, Morgan Burnett, E.J. Wilson, Paul Pinegar, Tydreke Powell, Bryn Renner, Jacory Harris, Riley Skinner, Joe Joseph, Skylar Jones, Derrick Morgan, T.J. Yates, Braden Hanson, Sean Bedford, Jonathan Dwyer, C.J. Brown, John Russell, Jameel Sewell, Allen Bailey, Mike London, Nate Irving, Rodney Smith, Marcus Gilchrist, Mark Herzlich, Taylor Cook, Willie Haulstead, Andre Ellington, Josh Holmes, Thaddeus Lewis, E.J. Manuel, Leon Wright, Crezdon Butler, Ryan Williams, C.J. Spiller, Kaleb Ramsey, James Gayle, Eric Moncur, Jonathan Cooper, Bruce Campbell, Ted Stachitas, Jim Ramella, Danny O'Brien, Luke Kuechly, Sean Schroeder, Tyrel Wilson, Dominique Wallace, Austin Giles, Mark Stoops, Brendan Cross, Stephen Morris, Rick Petri, Bill Lazor, Chase Rettig, Michael Strauss, Tanner Price, Anthony McCloud, Debrale Smiley, Josh Bordner, Kyle Paker, Rahsard Hall, DeAndrew McDaniel, Charlie Hatcher, Sydney Sarmiento, Chris Hazelton, Clay Belton, Dexter McDougle, Chris Ward, Ross Metheny, Roko Smalls, Kevin Parks, Duan Perez-Means, J.R. Collins, Michael Lockett

ACC's best fall in McShay's latest mock draft

February, 10, 2010
Todd McShay has posted his latest 2010 Mock Draft, and former Georgia Tech defensive end Derrick Morgan falls to No. 10, Clemson's C.J. Spiller moves up to No. 14, and Maryland offensive tackle Bruce Campbell plummeted to No. 23.

It's a much different look than the mid-December mock draft, before the players had made their decisions whether or not to return, and before the all-star games had been played.

In mid-December, McShay had Morgan the No. 3 overall pick, Campbell at No. 12 and UNC linebacker Bruce Carter at No. 18. Clemson defensive end Ricky Sapp was No. 25, and Spiller was No. 26.UNC defensive tackle Marvin Austin was No. 27, and Georgia Tech B-back Jonathan Dwyer was No. 29.

For the juniors who decided to leave early and aren't mentioned here -- namely players like Morgan Burnett, Demaryius Thomas and Toney Baker -- let's hope their decisions were worth it.

Maryland's Campbell to enter NFL draft

December, 18, 2009
Maryland offensive tackle Bruce Campbell told ESPN's Joe Schad he will leave school early and enter the NFL draft.

Campbell missed three games this year, and has had an injury-laden career that could probably benefit from another year in College Park -- Campbell had turf toe and a knee injury this season -- but there's no question he's destined for a pro career. A long one. It just happens to come a little early at Maryland's expense. Campbell and Phil Costa were the only returning starters to the 2009 offensive line, and Maryland used seven different starting lineups on its offensive line this year.

It's a group that desperately needs veteran leadership and experience, and Campbell's departure will be a significant hit. His strength is pass protection, but he's also an improving run blocker. He had an average season, but average for Campbell is very good for a lot of other players. He's a freakish athlete who is extremely strong, and there aren't a lot of offensive tackles like him in the NFL. He's been called the Vernon Davis of offensive linemen.

That being said, the staff has made some progress in building the depth and adding some talent up front. With a more athletic group of young players making their way on the field, it shouldn't be impossible to fill the void Campbell will leave.

ACC's potential first-round picks

December, 14, 2009
There are seven ACC players ranked among the first-round NFL draft picks in Todd McShay's first 2010 mock first round. ACC fans will be happy to know that's one more player than the SEC has. The bad news for ACC fans? All but two of these guys -- Clemson's C.J. Spiller and Ricky Sapp -- are juniors. Of the juniors listed, only UNC's Bruce Carter has said he is coming back.

Here is how the ACC fared in McShay's mock first round:

Derrick Morgan, DE, Georgia Tech, No. 7 to Oakland Raiders

Bruce Carter, LB, UNC, No. 18 to Jacksonville Jaguars

Bruce Campbell, OL, Maryland, No. 20 to New York Jets

Ricky Sapp, DL, Clemson, No. 23 to New England Patriots

C.J. Spiller, RB, Clemson, No. 26 to Green Bay Packers

Marvin Austin, DT, UNC, No. 27 to Cincinnati Bengals

Jonathan Dwyer, RB, Georgia Tech, No. 29 to San Diego Chargers

Decisions loom for top ACC juniors

December, 11, 2009
The ACC has some talented juniors who could be lured to the NFL a year early. Based on a survey of conference sports information directors and information from ESPN's Scouts Inc.'s draft database, here’s a quick look at who they are, and whether or not they’ve announced anything:


S DeAndre McDaniel – Mel Kiper ranks him the No. 4 safety in his class. Scouts Inc. has him the No. 6 player at his position and the No. 64 overall.


QB Christian Ponder, OG Rodney Hudson and DE Markus White – They’re all staying. Hudson is the No. 1 guard in his class, according to Mel Kiper, and Ponder’s injury had a lot to do with his return.


S Morgan Burnett – He didn’t live up to the hype this season and could probably improve his stock with another year. Kiper still has him the No. 2 junior safety.

B-Back Jonathan Dwyer – Rated the No. 3 junior running back in his class by Mel Kiper.

QB Josh Nesbitt – Not ranked in ESPN’s Scouts Inc. database.

DE Derrick Morgan – Kiper has him the No. 1 end in his class, and he’s No. 9 on Kiper’s latest Big Board. It would be a surprise if he returned.

WR Demaryius Thomas – He told me after the ACC championship game he’s staying, but that was before he received his draft evaluation. Georgia Tech fans should hope he sticks with it. Kiper has him the No. 4 junior WR.


OL Bruce Campbell – His career has been marred by injuries, and he could use another year to get more experience, not to mention a better contract. Scouts Inc. has him at No. 4 in his position and No. 27 overall.


None of the following players were ranked by Scouts Inc.:

DE Allen Bailey – Kiper has him the No. 5 end in his class.

WR Leonard Hankerson

LB Colin McCarthy

OL Orlando Franklin

RB Graig Cooper


LB Quan Sturdivant – Kiper ranks him the No. 2 junior inside linebacker.

DT Marvin Austin – Kiper ranks him the No. 3 tackle in his class.

LB Bruce Carter – Has publicly stated he will return.


TB Toney Baker – He was granted a sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA, but hasn’t said yet whether or not he’d take it. He is currently not ranked in the draft prospect database by ESPN’s Scouts Inc.


QB Tyrod Taylor and DE Jason Worilds – Both staying.