ACC: Bruce Johnson

ACC's unheralded NFL draft picks

April, 21, 2009

Posted by'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:

End of an era at Miami?

April, 9, 2009

Posted by's Heather Dinich

Not that Miami needs to look much further than Randy Shannon's trying first season in 2007 for proof of its dropoff from the national stage, but the fact that Miami's streak of first-round NFL draft picks is likely to be broken this year is another reminder NFLU isn't quite what it used to be.

This year, former cornerback Bruce Johnson will be the Canes' top representative at the NFL draft. Here is an interesting read on how "as Miami waned, so did the interest in its players." Coral Gables has turned into "an optional stop," as opposed to a "must see" on the scouting calendar.

Even though Miami's current streak of first-round picks is likely to disappear this year, the program's ability to recruit other potential first-rounders hasn't.

What to watch in the ACC this spring

February, 11, 2009

Posted by's Heather Dinich

With Miami kicking off spring practice on Feb. 24, it's never too early to start thinking about spring football in the ACC. There are plenty of story lines heading into the 2009 season -- like backup quarterbacks and new coordinators.

Here are a few things to watch for each team in the ACC this spring:


Spring practice starts:
March 17
Spring game: April 25

What to watch

  • Replacing 325-pound defensive tackles B.J. Raji and Ron Brace will be a large challenge -- literally. Damik Scafe could be a starter, but beyond him it's anybody's guess.
  • Quarterback Dominique Davis only has three games of experience over everyone else, so it's definitely not a given that it's his job to lose. Davis was thrown into the fire at the end of 2008, but former coach Jeff Jagodzinski and former offensive coordinator Steve Logan liked freshman Justin Tuggle, who redshirted this past season. Whether the new staff is as high on Tuggle remains to be seen.
  • Including former defensive coordinator Frank Spaziani, who was promoted to head coach, the Eagles will have six coaches in new positions this spring. With two new coordinators, a new offensive line coach, tight ends coach and a linebackers coach, this spring will be a chance for a few introductions.

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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, Jermaine Thomas, Greg Little, Greg Boone, Eron Riley, Paul Johnson, Damian Thornton, Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, Florida State Seminoles, Toddrick Verdell, Vince Williams, Barquell RIvers, Miami Hurricanes, Justin Tuggle, North Carolina Tar Heels, North Carolina State Wolfpack, Kyle Parker, Brandon tate, Frank Beamer, Trimane Goddard, Aaron Clark, Logan Thomas, Chris turner, Myron Rolle, Cullen Harper, Willy Korn, Demetrius Hartsfield, Brad Lambert, Cannon Smith, Jamarr Robinson, Robert Marve, Mike Glennon, Nigel Carr, Tyrod Taylor, Adrian Moten, David Cutcliffe, Stephen St. John, Butch Davis, Hakeem Nicks, Tavares Pressley, Duke Blue Devils, Lamar Young, Chris DeGeare, Derek Nicholson, Kevin Harrison, Rashad Carmichael, T.J. Barnes, Josh Portis, Sean Renfree, Carlton Jones, Brett Warren, Nigel Bradham, Darren CHilds, Andre Brown, Edwin Williams, Jeremy Gray, Purnell Sturdivant, Dominique Davis, Johnny Williams, MIchael Tauiliili, Brandon Flowers, Jacory Harris, Anthony Allen, Trent Mackey, Virginia Tech Hokies, Cody Grimm, Gregg Brandon, Derrick Morgan, Vincent Rey, Virginia Cavaliers, Toney Baker, Antone Smith, spring primer 0902, Tyler Grisham, Clint Sintim, Wake Forest Demon Deacons, Victor 'Macho' Harris, Jonathan Dwyer, Maryland Terrapins, Coastal Division, Clem Johnson, Atlantic Division, Antonio Appleby, Jacoby Ford, Jameel Sewell, Mark Paschal, Frank Spaziani, Tony Carter, Quan Sturdivant, Damik Scafe, Steve Logan, Bruce Johnson, Antone Exum, Taylor Cook, Boston College Eagles, Cam Martin, Brooks Foster, Dabo Swinney, Austin Kelly, Darius McClure, Michael Wade, Mark Richt, Aaron Kelly, Jeff Jagodzinski, Thaddeus Lewis, Clemson Tigers, Anthony Reddick, Aaron Curry, C.J. Spiller, Alphonso Smith, Jon Copper, Stephan Virgil, Tyler Bowen, Ben Anderson, Alex Wujciak, Zack Asack, Justin Lewis, D\'Vontrey Richardson, Da\'Norris Searcy

ACC and the NFL combine

February, 3, 2009

Posted by'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:


Kevin Akins, cornerback/linebacker

Ron Brace, defensive tackle

B.J. Raji, defensive tackle


Chris Clemons, safety

James Davis, running back

Michael Hamlin, safety

Cullen Harper, quarterback

Aaron Kelly, receiver

Dorell Scott, defensive tackle


Everette Brown, defensive end

Graham Gano, punter/placekicker


Andrew Gardner, offensive tackle

Michael Johnson, defensive end

Darryl Richard, defensive tackle

Vance Walker, defensive tackle

Jahi Word-Daniels, cornerback


Kevin Barnes, cornerback

Moise Fokou, outside linebacker

Dan Gronkowski, tight end

Darrius Heyward-Bey, wide receiver

Jaimie Thomas, offensive guard

Edwin Williams, center


Bruce Johnson, cornerback


Brooks Foster, wide receiver

Hakeem Nicks, wide recevier

Richard Quinn, tight end

Garrett Reynolds, offensive tackle

Brandon Tate, wide receiver


Andre Brown, running back

Anthony Hill, tight end


Eugene Monroe, offensive tackle

Kevin Ogletree, wide receiver

Cedric Peerman, tailback

John Phillips, tight end

Clint Sintim, linebacker


Victor "Macho" Harris, cornerback

Orion Martin, defensive end


Stanley Arnoux, linebacker

Aaron Curry, linebacker

Alphonso Smith, cornerback

Sam Swank, punter/placekicker

Chip Vaughn, safety

ACC internal affairs

October, 1, 2008

Posted by's Heather Dinich

Boston College -- Yes, the Eagles' defense is among the best in the country on paper, allowing just 6.5 points per game, but defensive coordinator Frank Spaziani subtly pointed out it hasn't exactly faced the New England Patriots. "We're going to find out more about ourselves here in the next few games," he said. Regardless of who starts at quarterback for NC State, Spaziani will be focused on stopping the Wolfpack's running game first.

Florida State -- FSU coach Bobby Bowden said his young offensive line is run blocking well enough that the running game is starting to become the team's offensive identity. Antone Smith is coming off a strong rushing performance against Colorado, but Miami's defense is holding opponents to just 65 yards per game on the ground. Bowden said he is looking for more from all of his playmakers against Miami, not just Smith.

Miami -- Coach Randy Shannon told the Miami Herald he is considering making changes to the secondary, as cornerbacks Bruce Johnson, Chavez Grant and DeMarcus Van Dyke are "not doing what we want them to do." Problem is, Shannon only has five corners to choose from. Miami's secondary has already allowed eight touchdowns compared to 15 all of last season. The lone interception this season has come from defensive end Eric Moncur.

Georgia Tech -- The Yellow Jackets will be focused on containing Duke quarterback Thaddeus Lewis, and coach Paul Johnson has stressed staying in the rushing lanes and being prepared for the quarterback draw. He said until a week ago, that was the Blue Devils' best play. "I'm sure if our defensive ends are getting up-field and giving pressure we are going to see that a few times, so you have to have a plan for that," Johnson said. "They have to be smart about their rush lanes and if we aren't getting it done that way, we have to have a plan."

NC State -- Safety Clem Johnson, a projected starter this preseason, came back last week against South Florida for the first time since breaking his jaw in fall camp and played six snaps. With the other starters in the secondary taking so many snaps, the coaching staff is expected to work him in more and more each week. Johnson was originally expected to be out all season, but he could provide some much needed depth there. The four starters have played basically the whole game every week and could use some relief.

ACC position battles - Miami

July, 16, 2008

Posted by's Heather Dinich

Every day I've been breaking down the position battles to keep an eye on heading into summer camp. Here are the top spots up for grabs at Miami:

QUARTERBACK -- It's still a hot topic in Coral Gables. Redshirt freshman Robert Marve, freshman Jacory Harris and freshman Cannon Smith were all impressive during spring practices, and now freshman Taylor Cook is on campus.

RECEIVER -- There is a plethora of options here, but not one go-to guy returning. Redshirt freshman Jermaine McKenzie probably would have played last year had it not been for the car accident. Of the 12 candidates to start, seven are freshmen.

CORNERBACK -- Senior Bruce Johnson has the most starting experience, but DeMarcus Van Dyke saw significant time as a true freshman. Of the 13 defensive backs trying to win jobs in the secondary, the only true safeties are Lovon Ponder and Anthony Reddick, who will be back after missing last season with his second torn ACL. Chavez Grant is more of a nickel back, and Ryan Hill was moved back to receiver.

LINEBACKER -- This is wide open. While Colin McCarthy was out this spring, true freshmen Arthur Brown and Sean Spence impressed the coaching staff. Senior Glenn Cook is back after missing last season with a foot injury, and senior Romeo Davis also has experience. After ending 2007 with three healthy linebackers, Randy Shannon now has ample depth to choose from.

PLACE KICKER -- Matt Bosher got kicks in as the team's punter last year, but Jake Wieclaw and Alex Uribe are also in the mix.