ACC: Dalton Botts

Miami will open spring practice Saturday without eight players -- including five projected starters -- the school announced Friday.

Starters Thurston Armbrister, Malcolm Lewis, Shane McDermott and Gabe Terry will be held out, along with running back Eduardo Clements, receiver Robert Lockhart Jr. and defensive lineman Dave Perry. Linebacker Eddie Johnson remains suspended indefinitely.

Among the most notable items on the preseason depth chart:
  • Freshman Alex Figueroa is listed as the No. 1 strongside linebacker with Armbrister and Johnson out.
  • Sophomore Raphael Kirby is listed as the No. 1 middle linebacker ahead of Jimmy Gaines.
  • Sophomore Matt Goudis is listed at both kicker and punter as the Canes have to replace punter Dalton Botts and kicker Jake Wieclaw.
  • Tracy Howard is listed No. 1 at cornerback in the spot departed by senior Brandon McGee played last season.

ACC's lunchtime links

September, 25, 2012
9/25/12
12:00
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I am available to referee an NFL game Sunday. My dog, too.

ESPN.com's preseason All-ACC team

August, 29, 2012
8/29/12
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ESPN.com is announcing its all-conference teams today. Offensively, there was only one difference from what the media chose in July at the ACC football kickoff in Greensboro, N.C., but it was a big difference -- at quarterback. Virginia Tech’s Logan Thomas got the nod over Clemson’s Tajh Boyd. Defensively, there also were a few tweaks, as Florida State swept the defensive end position and Georgia Tech’s Jeremiah Attaochu earned his spot at linebacker. With the dismissal of former FSU cornerback Greg Reid, though, Clemson’s Sammy Watkins was promoted to the top return man.

Here’s a look at ESPN.com’s preseason All-ACC team:

OFFENSE

WR Conner Vernon, Duke

WR Sammy Watkins, Clemson

TE Matt Furstenburg, Maryland

T James Hurst, North Carolina

T Oday Aboushi, Virginia

G Omoregie Uzzi, Georgia Tech

G Jonathan Cooper, North Carolina

C Dalton Freeman, Clemson

QB Logan Thomas, Virginia Tech

RB Giovani Bernard, North Carolina

RB Andre Ellington, Clemson

DEFENSE

DE Brandon Jenkins, Florida State

DE Bjoern Werner, Florida State

DT Joe Vellano, Maryland

DT Nikita Whitlock, Wake Forest

LB Bruce Taylor, Virginia Tech

LB Kevin Reddick, North Carolina

LB Jeremiah Attaochu, Georgia Tech

CB David Amerson, NC State

CB Kyle Fuller, Virginia Tech

S Lamarcus Joyner, Florida State

S Earl Wolff, NC State

SPECIALISTS

PK Dustin Hopkins, Florida State

P Dalton Botts, Miami

SP Sammy Watkins, Clemson
The ACC today announced its preseason all-conference team, which was chosen by media members this week at the ACC Football Kickoff on Sunday and Monday at the Grandover Resort in Greensboro, N.C. Florida State, Clemson and North Carolina led all schools with four players each.

Clemson wide receiver Sammy Watkins, who was named by the media as the ACC preseason Player of the Year on Monday, was the only unanimous selection on the team, being named on all 68 ballots.

Walter Camp watch list announced

July, 20, 2012
7/20/12
4:30
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The Walter Camp Football Foundation has announced the names of 50 players to watch for its 2012 Player of the Year award. Here are your ACC representatives:

Walter Camp Award (Presented to the nation’s most outstanding player by the Walter Camp Football Foundation)

The Walter Camp Award watch list was the final watch list scheduled to be announced by the National College Football Awards Association. As promised, I have been keeping a running list of your ACC players who are up for awards this year. Here is a compliation of the awards released over the past two weeks. Best of luck to those who were nominated:

Doak Walker Award (Presented to the nation's premier running back by the PwC SMU Athletic Forum)
Davey O'Brien Award (Presented to the nation's best quarterback by the Davey O'Brien Foundation)
Biletnikoff Award (Presented to the nation's most outstanding receiver by the Tallahassee Quarterback Club Foundation)
Butkus Award (Presented to the nation's most outstanding linebacker by the Butkus Foundation)
Rotary Lombardi Award (Presented to the college lineman of the year by the Rotary Club of Houston)

Jim Thorpe Award (Presented to the nation's best defensive back by the Jim Thorpe Association)
Bronko Nagurski Trophy (Presented to the nation's most outstanding defensive player by the Charlotte Touchdown Club)
Outland Trophy (Presented to the nation's most outstanding interior lineman by the Football Writers Association of America)
Lou Groza Award (Presented to the nation's top place-kicker by the Palm Beach County [Fla.] Sports Commission)
Ray Guy Award (Presented to the nation's best punter by the Augusta [Ga.] Sports Council)
Mackey Award (Presented to the nation’s most outstanding tight end by the Nassau County [N.Y.] Sports Commission)
Rimington Trophy (Presented to the nation’s premier center by the Boomer Esiason Foundation)
Bednarik Award (Presented to the college defensive player of the year by the Maxwell Football Club)
Maxwell Award (Presented to the college player of the year by the Maxwell Football Club)

Groza, Guy Award watch lists announced

July, 11, 2012
7/11/12
2:30
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The National College Football Awards Association today announced the watch lists for the Lou Groza and Ray Guy awards. Here are your ACC representatives:

Lou Groza Award (Presented to the nation's top place-kicker by the Palm Beach County Sports Commission)
Ray Guy Award (Presented to the nation's best punter by the Augusta [Ga.] Sports Council)

Here is the schedule for the rest of the lists:

July 12
  • Bronko Nagurski Trophy (Presented to the nation's most outstanding defensive player by the Charlotte Touchdown Club)
  • Outland Trophy (Presented to the nation's most outstanding interior lineman by the FWAA)
July 13
  • Jim Thorpe Award (Presented to the nation's best defensive back by the Jim Thorpe Association)
July 16
  • Butkus Award (Presented to the nation's most outstanding linebacker by the Butkus Foundation)
  • Rotary Lombardi Award (Presented to the college lineman of the year by the Rotary Club of Houston)
July 17
  • Biletnikoff Award (Presented to the nation's most outstanding receiver by the Tallahassee Quarterback Club Foundation)
July 18
  • Davey O'Brien Award (Presented to the nation's best quarterback by the Davey O'Brien Foundation)
July 19
  • Doak Walker Award (Presented to the nation's premier running back by the PwC SMU Athletic Forum).
July 20
  • Walter Camp Award (Presented to the nation's most outstanding player by the Walter Camp Football Foundation)
We've gone over mock drafts, position rankings, draft boards and all the other stuff out there that's fun to predict this far away from the next NFL draft. Today, Mel Kiper does all of that. And, he is very high on Virginia Tech quarterback Logan Thomas.

Kiper ranks Thomas as the No. 4 overall prospect on his 25-man Big Board. Insider NC State's David Amerson (No. 8) and Florida State's Xavier Rhodes (No. 20) are the other ACC players on the board.

Virginia's Oday Aboushi just missed the cut. Insider

Kiper also ranks the top-5 players at each position, this time breaking it down by senior Insider and junior classes. Insider The ACC contingent:

SENIORS
Mike Glennon (NC State), No. 4 QB
Andre Ellington (Clemson), No. 4 RB
Marcus Davis (Virginia Tech), No. 3 WR
Aboushi, No. 2 OT
Jonathan Cooper (UNC), No. 1 OG
Omoregie Uzzi (Georgia Tech), No. 5 OG
Brandon Jenkins (FSU), No. 4 DE
Kevin Reddick (UNC), No. 2 ILB
Ray-Ray Armstrong (Miami), No. 5 S
Dustin Hopkins (FSU), No. 5 K

JUNIORS
Thomas, No. 1 QB
James Hurst (UNC), No. 4 OT
Andrew Miller (Virginia Tech), No. 5 C
Christian Jones (FSU), No. 4 OLB
Amerson, No. 1 CB
Rhodes, No. 2 CB
Chandler Catanzaro (Clemson), No. 5 K
Dalton Botts (Miami), No. 2 P

Miami spring wrap

May, 5, 2011
5/05/11
8:30
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MIAMI

2010 overall record: 7-6

2010 conference record: 5-3

Returning starters

Offense: 6, defense: 7, punter/kicker: 0

Top returners

WR Travis Benjamin, RG Brandon Washington, C Tyler Horn, QB Jacory Harris, QB Stephen Morris, DE Olivier Vernon, DT Micanor Regis, DT Marcus Forston, LB Sean Spence, S Vaughn Telemaque, S JoJo Nicolas, RB Lamar Miller, RB Mike James

Key losses

WR Leonard Hankerson, LT Orlando Franklin, RB Damien Berry, P/PK Matt Bosher, DT Allen Bailey, LB Colin McCarthy, CB Brandon Harris

2010 statistical leaders (* returners)

Rushing: Berry (899 yards)

Passing: Harris* (1,793 yds)

Receiving: Hankerson (1,156 yds)

Tackles: McCarthy (119)

Sacks: Bailey (7)

Interceptions: Ryan Hill, Vaughn Telemaque* and Ray-Ray Armstrong* (3)

Spring answers

1. Stacked at running back. Lamar Miller finished the spring atop a depth chart deep with talent at running back, including Mike James and Storm Johnson. All three have different styles, as James is the power/slasher, Johnson gets the tough yards and is elusive in the open field, and Miller is the fastest and the home run threat.

2. The Golden era has been embraced. First-year coach Al Golden made his debut this spring with a new staff and new schemes, and all of the players have bought in. The Canes now eat breakfast together every day, and the seniors were the first to latch on to Golden, as they know time is running out to win. They seem willing to follow whoever wants to lead, and the players also started to take ownership this spring.

3. Jordan Futch has helped the linebacker depth. He was a role player for most of his career and was going to move to tight end, but, as it turns out, he can play inside or outside linebacker, and he played well enough this spring to convince Golden he deserves a spot somewhere on the field. Colin McCarthy was the only starter who had to be replaced, and there was some shuffling of positions, but Futch or Gaines emerged as the leaders to take over that spot.

Fall questions

1. And the quarterback is? Golden said the quarterback competition will likely go into mid-August, as neither Jacory Harris nor Stephen Morris separated himself. It’s one of the main storylines in the ACC, and could be the difference in Miami’s season. Both struggled in the spring game, as they threw two interceptions each, but first-year offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch is evaluating them on more than just picks.

2. Who will take over the secondary? It’s so wide open that true freshman Thomas Finnie enrolled early and worked his way onto the two deep. It’s a young, inexperienced group with big shoes to fill after the departures of Brandon Harris and Ryan Hill. Lee Chambers, Nicolas, Telemaque and Armstrong will have to rise to the occasion or leave it to the rookies like Finnie. This spring, Golden said Nicolas and Armstrong were the leaders of the secondary.

3. Baffled without Bosher. Matt Bosher, an all-conference kicker and punter during his career, did it all, and the kicking game is a major question without him. Jake Wieclaw is next in line, but he only played against Florida A&M and has yet to attempt a collegiate kick. Incoming freshmen kickers Matt Loudis and Dalton Botts will challenge Wieclaw for the starting job.

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