ACC: Chase Bullock

Maryland's Wujciak tackles new role as leader

June, 25, 2009
6/25/09
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Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

With former players like E.J. Henderson and D'Qwell Jackson, Maryland has quietly developed some of the ACC's elite middle linebackers during coach Ralph Friedgen's tenure, and Alex Wujciak could be the next in line now that he's finally fully recovered from a torn left ACL that sidelined him the entire 2007 season.

Wujciak, a junior, started all 13 games at middle linebacker last year and then missed the spring because he had his knee scoped to clean out some lingering scar tissue. With the loss of four linebackers and a new defensive coordinator, the Terps will look to Wujciak for more than just tackles this fall.

"I'm feeling really good," said Wujciak, who finished second in the ACC with 133 tackles last year. "It's not really a problem right now. It should be 100 percent by summer camp."

The loss of Dave Philistin, Moise Fokou, Chase Bullock and Rick Costa means the Terps have to replace experience that totaled 144 games, including 54 starts. With Wujciak and Ben Pooler out this spring, Adrian Moten was the only returning linebacker who had played in a game at that position. The two-deep featured three freshmen, junior Drew Gloster, who moved from tight end, and Hakeem Sule, who had been limited to special teams. Moten has played in 23 career games, but didn't get his first start until the Humanitarian Bowl. With the abundance of inexperience at linebacker, much will fall on Wujciak's shoulders.

"I think we need to find one or two who can help us," Wujciak said. "It's funny, because I was a young guy for a while, and now me and Moten have to take on a little more responsibility."

Wujciak brings a blue-collar work ethic from his home state of New Jersey, and said his goal this year is to make more momentum-swinging plays for his team. He's been a tackling machine -- he's the fifth-leading returning tackler in the country -- but he wants to get his hand on the ball more and disrupt the passing lanes. He had two pass breakups last year, one fumble recovery and one blocked kick. He's very strong and athletic and has the potential to make those game-changing plays.

"Last year being my first year, the first few games were fast," he said. "Hopefully heading into this year the game will start to slow down for me so can make more plays."

Wujciak said the team has welcomed first-year coordinator Don Brown's attacking defense.

"A lot of guys are eager to see how well we perform during games," he said. "Our offense has seen enough of it."

Former Terps, Blue Devils sign as free agents

April, 28, 2009
4/28/09
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Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

Six former Terps agreed to free-agent contracts Monday, according to the school.

Those who have either signed or are expected to sign deals in the coming days, include:

• LB Chase Bullock -- Arizona Cardinals
• OL Scott Burley -- Washington Redskins
• DL Jeremy Navarre -- Jacksonville Jaguars
• LB Dave Philistin -- Seattle Seahawks
• OL Edwin Williams -- Washington Redskins
• WR Isaiah Williams -- Baltimore Ravens

In addition, DL Dean Muhtadi and OL Dane Randolph earned free-agent tryouts with the Green Bay Packers, according to the school.

At Duke, seniors Cameron Goldberg and Eron Riley each agreed to free-agent contracts with NFL teams on Sunday evening. Goldberg, a three-year starter at left tackle for the Blue Devils, reached a deal with the Kansas City Chiefs. Riley, a two-time second team All-ACC performer at Duke, agreed to a contract with the Baltimore Ravens.

Wake Forest, ACC, poised for huge splash in NFL draft

March, 13, 2009
3/13/09
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Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

If there's one thing the ACC can brag about when it comes to competing against the other BCS conferences, it's NFL draft picks, and this year should be no exception. Over the past three years, the ACC has led all conferences with 25 players chosen in the first round of the NFL draft and the most players drafted overall (115). Half of the ACC could be represented in the first round this year.

The ACC has three of the top five NFL draft prospects, according to Scouts Inc.'s ranking of the top 32 draft-eligible players:

1. Aaron Curry, linebacker, Wake Forest

2. Michael Crabtree, wide receiver, Texas Tech

3. Jason Smith, offensive tackle, Baylor

4. B.J. Raji, defensive tackle, Boston College

5. Eugene Monroe, offensive tackle, Virginia

Florida State defensive end Everette Brown isn't far behind at No. 13, North Carolina receiver Hakeem Nicks is No. 26 and Maryland receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey is No. 27. Wake Forest cornerback Alphonso Smith made the cut at No. 32.

The fact that two Wake Forest players are even on the list -- let alone a possible No. 1 overall pick -- is evidence that the coaching staff has an eye for talent, and it is possible to lure players like Smith and Curry to Winston-Salem. Same with Boston College. Never in the history of the program has Wake Forest had a No. 1 overall pick. (Norm Snead was No. 2 in 1961). Their last first-round pick was defensive end Calvin Pace in 2003. In fact, Curry would be only the third player ever from Wake to be chosen in the first round.

Only Wake Forest and East Carolina showed an interest in Curry. At just over six feet, he was undersized, but ran really well. The staff liked his work ethic and love for the game. They took a chance on him because of those two qualities. There were a few other linebackers in the state that year -- Chase Rice went to UNC and Chase Bullock went to Maryland. Obviously neither of them had a career like Curry.

Detroit seems to be torn between former Georgia quarterback Matthew Stafford, Jason Smith and Curry. The Rams will probably take a lineman because they just cut Orlando Pace, so Curry probably won't go there, and could fall to No. 3, Kansas City. Regardless, it will be a huge paycheck for Curry and will pay dividends in recruiting and exposure for Wake Forest.

Maryland position battles

July, 15, 2008
7/15/08
1:49
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Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

The Terps are next in line for a breakdown of the remaining position battles to be fought during summer camp. Here's a look at the spots still open in College Park:

 
 Brian A. Westerholt/Getty Images
 Jordan Steffy (above) is competing with Chris Turner to be the Terrapins' No. 1 quarterback.

Quarterback: Chris Turner or Jordan Steffy. It seems like every season it's a mystery in College Park, even when there's a starter back. Turner successfully took over the offense when Steffy got hurt, but Steffy was impressive this spring.

Right guard: Jack Griffin or Phil Costa. There's only one spot open on the line, and these two guys are after it. Costa started one game here when Andrew Crummey got hurt , and then started the last six games for an injured Jaimie Thomas at left guard. Griffin eventually took over at right guard for Crummey.

Weakside linebacker: Dave Philistin or Chase Bullock. While Philistin was out this spring with an injury, Bullock was impressive, but Philistin started all 13 games and was fourth in the ACC in tackles last year (9.5 per game).

Strongside linebacker: Adrian Moten or Moise Fokou. Fokou was third on the team in tackles, but missed all of spring ball with an injury. Moten played all three linebacker positions last year because of injuries and tied for the team lead in sacks (5.5) and had 50 tackles without starting a game.

Safety: Antwine Perez or Terrell Skinner. There are high hopes for Perez, who sat out last season after transferring from USC. He was second on the depth chart behind Skinner at free safety, but most of Skinner's experience was on special teams.

Cornerback: Kevin Barnes, Anthony Wiseman and Nolan Carroll. Odds are Wiseman and Carroll end up in a competition for the spot opposite Barnes, who had a team-high four interceptions and was tied for fifth in the league in passes defended last season. Barnes is the only returning starter in the secondary.

Check back tomorrow for Miami.

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