ACC: Darryl Sharpton
2009 overall record: 9-4
2009 conference record: 5-3
Offense: 6, defense: 8, punter/kicker: 2
QB Jacory Harris, T Orlando Franklin, WR Leonard Hankerson, WR LaRon Byrd, DE Allen Bailey, LB Sean Spence, LB Colin McCarthy, P/PK Matt Bosher, CB Brandon Harris, RB Graig Cooper (injured)
OT Jason Fox, C A.J. Trump, TE Dedrick Epps, RB Javarris James, S Randy Phillips, CB Sam Shields, LB Darryl Sharpton, DT Joe Joseph
2009 statistical leaders (* returners)
Rushing: Cooper* (695 yards)
Passing: Harris* (3,352 yds)
Receiving: Hankerson* (801 yds)
Tackles: Sharpton (106)
Sacks: Bailey* (7)
Interceptions: Harris, Phillips, Micanor Regis* (2)
1. Depth at running back. The running backs had arguably the best spring of any position group and proved they’re still deep, despite the loss of James and not having Cooper, who is recovering from a torn ACL. Lamar Miller, a redshirt freshman, was tough to bring down in the open field, and had good speed. Storm Johnson, a true freshman who enrolled early, picked up the offense quickly and ran hard. Damien Berry showed the same form he had at the end of the season when he finished strong, and Mike James returned to running back from fullback.
2. Deeper at QB. What a difference a year can make. After both backup quarterbacks transferred a year ago, this position has the best depth it’s seen under coach Randy Shannon. A.J. Highsmith, Spencer Whipple and Stephen Morris all moved the ball this spring. Highsmith seemed to be the front-runner for the No. 2 job behind Jacory Harris, as he took most of the first-team reps with Harris out.
3. Defensive line shines. First-year defensive line coach Rick Petri’s group was one of the Canes’ bright spots this spring. The defensive ends go about three deep on each side. Adewale Ojomo, who missed all of last season with a broken jaw, is back, and the tackles were solid.
1. Wanted: tight ends. Miami only had two tight ends this spring, but the Canes will add four in the fall, including Chase Ford, a junior college transfer. Richard Gordon and Billy Sanders will finally get some competition. Gordon has the most experience and he’s a senior, but he only played in one game last year. He was granted an extra year of eligibility and should have a bigger role this season. Sanders, a redshirt freshman, was on the scout team.
2. Transition at center. Tyler Horn isn’t a rookie, but it's unclear how he'll adjust to his new role in taking over for A.J. Trump. Horn was the top option at center this spring with true freshman Shane McDermott, an early enrollee, behind him. Horn has been there for three years, and it’s his job to lose.
3. Stuck in the middle. Who will take over at middle linebacker? Miami is still working out its depth issue here. Kylan Robinson started to emerge there in the spring, and Shayon Green was another option. At the end of spring, Colin McCarthy was still at strong side and Sean Spence was at weak side, but Shannon could make some moves to get the best group of linebackers in there. That could mean McCarthy moves to the middle. In the past two years, Shannon liked to put an older player there (Glenn Cook, Darryl Sharpton), but McCarthy played the majority of the spring at his usual spot. The return of Spence and Jordan Futch from injuries should help Shannon figure out the right combination.
Here are a few notes to tie it all together for you:
- For the sixth straight year, the ACC had more than 30 players selected.
- Since 2005, the ACC and the SEC are the only two leagues in the nation to have had 30 players selected in each of the past six years.
- Atlantic Division champion Clemson (C.J. Spiller, Jacoby Ford, Ricky Sapp, Crezdon Butler, Kavell Connor) and Coastal Division runner-up Virginia Tech (Jason Worilds, Kam Chancellor, Ed Wang, Brent Bowden, Cody Grimm) led all ACC schools each with five players chosen in the draft.
- ACC champion Georgia Tech (Derrick Morgan, Demaryius Thomas, Morgan Burnett, Jonathan Dwyer) and Miami (Jimmy Graham, Darryl Sharpton, Jason Fox, Dedrick Epps) were next, each with four players chosen.
- The ACC maintained its streak of having at least one top-10 selection in each of the past five years. Since 2006, the ACC is the only conference in the country to have had a top-10 selection in each year.
- In all, 18 NFL teams selected players from the ACC.
The good news for the ACC? Some of the conference's best players were juniors in 2009. Had it been the Georgia Tech/North Carolina Junior Bowl, this game might have been a different story. But without players like C.J. Spiller, Jonathan Dwyer, Derrick Morgan, Ryan Williams, etc., this game didn't paint a fair picture of what the ACC had to offer in 2009 talent-wise. Not that there weren't some talented seniors. According to Clemson sports information director Tim Bourret, Spiller was invited but chose to heal the turf toe that had been nagging him all season.
The final stats:
- Ford had one run for 6 yards, one catch for 7 yards and two punt returns for 46 yards.
- Virginia fullback Rashawn Jackson had one carry for 1 yard, and one catch for 9 yards.
- Florida State cornerback Patrick Robinson was second with six tackles and one pass breakup.
- FSU linebacker Dekoda Watson had three tackles.
- Miami linebacker Darryl Sharpton had three tackles.
- Former FSU safety Myron Rolle had three tackles.
- Maryland safety Terrell Skinner had three tackles.
- Virginia cornerback Chris Cook had two tackles.
- Maryland fullback Cory Jackson had two tackles.
- UNC defensive tackle Cam Thomas had one sack for a loss of 7 yards.
- Wake Forest cornerback Brandon Ghee had one tackle.
Chris Cook, CB, Virginia
Jacoby Ford, WR, Clemson
Brandon Ghee, CB, Wake Forest
Rashawn Jackson, FB, Virginia
Terrell Skinner, DB, Maryland
Matt Tennant, C, Boston College
Cam Thomas, DL, North Carolina
Ed Wang, OL, Virginia Tech
Jimmy Graham, TE, Miami
Ted Larsen, OL, NC State
Patrick Robinson, CB, Florida State
Myron Rolle, S, Florida State
Darryl Sharpton, LB, Miami
Dekoda Watson, LB, Florida State
Defensive linemen: Redshirt juniors and seniors comprised the bulk of the two-deep depth chart in 2009, and the recent dismissal of backup John Drew plus the graduation of Vince Oghobaase makes it a position of concern. The interior line needs the most help.
Running back: The Blue Devils never quite got their running game going in 2009 and will have to start to make a push at this position to help break in new starting quarterback Sean Renfree. Re’quan Boyette will have to be replaced.
Offensive line: In looking ahead, the Blue Devils will have six redshirt juniors or seniors up front in 2010. While that’s good news for the immediate future, Duke needs to work ahead for what it will lose in 2011.
Defensive backs: The biggest loss is obviously safety Morgan Burnett to the NFL draft, but the Jackets need to look ahead. Safeties Mario Edwards and Dominique Reese will be redshirt seniors this year, and cornerback Mario Butler will be a senior.
Defensive linemen: For the second year in a row it’s a concern, and thanks in large part to the NFL draft. Derrick Morgan will be missed, but overall this group needs an upgrade.
Offensive line: Three starters will have to be replaced, including the Canes’ top veteran, Jason Fox. Both guard positions are also short-timers, as Orlando Franklin and Joel Figueroa will both be seniors this fall.
Linebacker: Darryl Sharpton is the lone senior departing, but this unit could use more depth. It’s been a problem since Randy Shannon took over. And while the staff has made progress, injuries have continuously depleted the group.
Secondary: The Canes will have to replace Chavez Grant and Randy Phillips, and DeMarcus VanDyke will be a senior. Miami improved its interceptions in 2009, but not by much, ranking No. 87 in the country with nine. Of course, it helps to get pressure up front to force quarterbacks into those mistakes.
Offensive line: This is where the Tar Heels’ offensive improvement needs to start, and it didn’t help that this year’s unit was battered and bruised most of the season. Two starters will have to be replaced this year and five more of the top players in the rotation will be seniors in 2010.
Linebacker: UNC needs to reload at this position, and it's taking the right steps in that direction with this class. Although Quan Sturdivant and Bruce Carter elected to return, it’s only a matter of time before the talented seniors have to be replaced.
Quarterback: The Cavs have a lot of questions about this position heading into 2010 and beyond. The good news is that Michael Strauss has already enrolled this semester, so he’ll get an early start with spring ball.
Playmakers: Vague, yes, but it’s exactly what this program needs. Part of the reason Gregg Brandon’s spread offense didn’t work was because he didn’t have the personnel to execute it. Virginia will lose its most versatile player in Vic Hall, will have to replace fullback Rashawn Jackson, and needs more than just Mikell Simpson.
Linemen: The Hokies will need help on both sides of the ball, particularly interior defensive linemen. Six of the eight players on the 2009 two-deep defensive line were either juniors or seniors. Starters Ed Wang and Sergio Render will have to be replaced on the offensive line this year.
Defensive backs: This unit will be hit hard with departures in the next two seasons, as starters Kam Chancellor and Stephan Virgil have to be replaced in 2010, and Rashad Carmichael and Davon Morgan will be seniors.
Quarterback. With Tyrod Taylor being a senior next year, the staff will have to look ahead. There’s a lot of inexperience and question marks behind him. The one thing they don’t need in Blacksburg? Running backs.
Boston College: LB Mike McLaughlin, C Matt Tennant.
Clemson: OLB Kavell Conner, WR Jacoby Ford, DE Ricky Sapp, RB C.J. Spiller.
Duke: QB Thaddeus Lewis, Vince Oghobaase.
Florida State: CB Patrick Robinson, S Myron Rolle, OLB Dekoda Watson.
Maryland: CB Nolan Carroll.
Miami: TE Dedrick Epps, OT Jason Fox, TE Jimmy Graham, RB Javarris James, LB Darryl Sharpton.
North Carolina: OT Kyle Jolly, DT Cam Thomas.
NC State: C Ted Larsen, DE Willie Young.
Virginia: CB Chris Cook, FB Rashawn Jackson.
Virginia Tech: P Brent Bowden, S Kam Chancellor, CB Stephan Virgil, OT Ed Wang.
Wake Forest: OT Chris DeGeare, CB Brandon Ghee.
QB: E.J. Manuel, Florida State: The Gator Bowl MVP completed 17 of 24 passes for 189 yards, had 73 rushing yards on 14 carries and one touchdown with zero turnovers. He led the Noles to 415 total yards in their 33-21 win over No. 18 West Virginia.
RB: Ryan Williams, Virginia Tech: Williams ran for 117 yards and two touchdowns in the Chick-fil-A Bowl win over Tennessee. He finished the season with 1,655 rushing yards and broke Kevin Jones' single-season school record (1,647).
RB: Jermaine Thomas, Florida State: He had 121 yards rushing on 25 carries and two touchdowns. He also had one catch for nine yards and posted his fourth 100-yard game of the season. He led FSU back from a 14-3 first quarter deficit against West Virginia in the Gator Bowl.
WR: Rich Gunnell, Boston College: Gunnell finished with six catches for 130 yards, breaking Pete Mitchell's school record for yards receiving with 2,659 in his career. His 61-yard touchdown reception in the second quarter closed the gap to 14-13 against USC in the Emerald Bowl.
WR: Greg Little, UNC: He finished with seven catches for 87 yards and two touchdowns in the loss to Pitt in the Meineke Car Care Bowl.
WR: Jarrett Boykin, Virginia Tech: His 64-yard reception to the Tennessee 3 in the final seconds of the first half was a major turning point in the game. The Vols had already begun to head to the locker room, but officials determined there were still two seconds left on the clock. The play led to Matt Waldron’s 21-yard field goal and a 17-14 halftime lead. Boykin finished with four catches for 120 yards.
TE: Jimmy Graham, Miami: He had three catches for 30 receiving yards against Wisconsin in the Champs Sports Bowl and became the seventh Hurricane to record at least 200 receiving yards this season. Graham closed out his only season with the Canes with 15 catches for 213 yards and five touchdowns.
OL: Ed Wang, Virginia Tech: In his final performance, Wang paved the way for a career-day for Williams, and helped the Hokies rack up 438 total yards of offense.
OL: Sergio Render, Virginia Tech: Like Wang, Render was impressive in his final performance as a Hokie, and helped Virginia Tech use a balanced offense and gave quarterback Tyrod Taylor the time he needed to make plays.
OL: Rodney Hudson, Florida State: The All-American returned to the lineup after missing two games with knee sprain and helped FSU rack up 415 total yards, 37 minutes time of possession and he did not allow a sack.
OL: Andrew Datko, Florida State: He teamed with Hudson on the left side (where two of three rushing touchdowns came) and kept a WVU team averaging 2.6 sacks per game without one.
OL: Dalton Freeman, Clemson: He graded out at 80 percent with seven knockdowns. Freeman was key to Clemson averaging 5.5 yards per rush and a Clemson bowl record 6.8 yards per play against Kentucky in the Music City Bowl.
K: Dustin Hopkins, Florida State: He tied a school bowl record converting 4 of 5 field goal attempts and scoring a season-high 15 points on a windy day. His 42-yarder at the end of the first half pulled FSU within 14-13.
P: Chandler Anderson, Georgia Tech: He had a career-high seven punts with an average of 49.1 yards and a long of 59 yards. Three of his punts were downed inside the 20 and only one was returned.
Spc: C.J. Spiller, Clemson: Spiller finished his career with 172 all-purpose yards (68 rushing, 57 receiving), giving him an ACC record 2,670 for the season and 7,588 for his career. He finished his career in second place in FBS history in all-purpose yards.
DL: John Graves, Virginia Tech: He sacked Tennessee quarterback Jonathan Crompton in the second quarter for the first sack of his career. He also recovered a fumble, forced a fumble and finished with three solo tackles.
DL: E.J. Wilson, North Carolina: He forced two first-half fumbles and posted five on the season after registering just one over his first three years at Carolina. He finished with five tackles and one sack for a loss of eight yards.
DL: Derrick Morgan, Georgia Tech: Morgan's individual stats weren't all that impressive for his final game as a Jacket, but the Tech defense (surprise!) kept the Yellow Jackets in the game, allowing just seven points after the first quarter. Morgan did have three tackles and a half-tackle for loss, but he was double- and triple-teamed all night.
LB: Cody Grimm, Virginia Tech: The defensive MVP of the Chick-fil-A Bowl finished with seven tackles, including three tackles for loss and one sack.
LB: Luke Kuechly, Boston College: He had 16 tackles (6 solos, 10 assists), and 0.5 TFL in the Emerald Bowl.
LB: Darryl Sharpton, Miami: He recorded a career-high 15 tackles (10 solo, five assists). It marked the third straight game that Sharpton recorded double-digit tackles.
LB: Kavell Conner, Clemson: He had 15 tackles, including a sack and a forced fumble, which was the key play of the game. The fumble came with Clemson leading 14-13 and it set up Spiller’s touchdown to put the Tigers ahead 21-13.
CB: Rashad Carmichael, Virginia Tech: He intercepted Crompton’s pass in the first quarter and returned it to the Tennessee 44, setting up the Hokies’ first score of the game. The interception marked the sixth of the season for Carmichael, a team-high.
CB: Jerrard Tarrant, Georgia Tech: He returned an interception for a touchdown -- Tech's first points of the game against Iowa in the Orange Bowl -- and Tarrant's fourth non-offensive touchdown of the season. He also forced a fumble, broke up a pass and had six solo tackles.
S: Morgan Burnett, Georgia Tech: He had a team-high eight tackles, all of them solo tackles, and he forced a fumble.
S: DeAndre McDaniel, Clemson: He had 15 tackles, including two tackles for loss. He was a big reason Kentucky had just 277 yards total offense and just one touchdown, their second lowest figure of the year in terms of points in the 21-13 Clemson win.
Graham finished second on the team in touchdown receptions with five. His first three collegiate catches went for touchdowns and he totaled 17 catches for 213 yards, averaging 12.5 yards per catch.
As a forward for Miami's basketball team, Graham was one of only eight players in Miami history with 100 or more career blocks. He helped lead the team to back-to back trips to the postseason, making the NCAA tournament in 2008 and NIT in 2009.
“Jimmy is a rare talent who has not even scraped the surface of his potential in the game of football,” Senior Bowl President and CEO Steve Hale said in a prepared statement. “We expect him to really turn some heads down here later this month at the Senior Bowl.”Sharpton led the Canes in total tackles with 106 and averaged 12 tackles a game in the final four games. He was the first Miami linebacker in two seasons to break the 100-tackle mark and saved his best effort of the season for the Champs Sports Bowl. Against Wisconsin, Sharpton posted a career-high 15 tackles.
“I’m very excited just to be able to come play with some of the best players in the nation,” Sharpton said in a prepared statement. “I’m looking forward to showing them [scouts] my speed, explosiveness and ability to make plays, and it will be a great stage to do so.”
WHO TO WATCH: Miami left tackle Orlando Franklin vs. Wisconsin defensive end O’Brien Schofield. Without injured veteran starter Jason Fox, Miami will turn to Franklin to help contain Schofield, who is leading the Badgers in sacks (10.0), tackles for a loss (22.5 for 116 yards) and quarterback hurries (8). Franklin, who moved from guard to tackle, played well in the season finale against South Florida, when he took over for Fox who was out with an illness.
WHAT TO WATCH: Miami’s run defense. The key to the Canes’ chances at a win will be slowing down Wisconsin’s top option, John Clay, whose 1,396 yards and 16 touchdowns on the ground this year led the Big Ten. The Badgers are committed to the run, so it will be up to Miami’s leading linebackers, Colin McCarthy and Darryl Sharpton, to shed their blocks and make the stops. Miami is allowing 118.33 rushing yards per game, while Wisconsin averages 206.67 rushing yards.
WHY WATCH: A win over Wisconsin would give Miami its first double-digit win season since finishing 11-2 in 2003, and solidify a three-win improvement from last year under coach Randy Shannon. Earlier this season, Miami was in a position to earn an at-large BCS bid, and the Canes were able to defeat all of their nonconference opponents. This could be an important stepping stone for a young program looking to work its way back into national title contention.
PREDICTION: Miami’s speed, athleticism and multiple offensive options will be too much for Wisconsin to overcome. Clay will get his yards, and Wisconsin’s defense will force Jacory Harris to hang on to the ball longer than he would like at times, but Harris will have one of his calm-under-pressure fourth-quarter performances and lead Miami to a 31-28 win.
- FSU coach Bobby Bowden will be cutting ties with the university and cleaning out his office after the bowl game. Very sad, very sad for FSU.
- Sleep or celebrate? Georgia Tech opted for the rest, and it'll get plenty before the bowl game.
- Miami linebacker Darryl Sharpton has his sights set on the NFL.
- Virginia Tech linebacker Cody Grimm has been named the best FBS player in the state.
- The first task Virginia coach Mike London faces is recruiting.
- As a former high school band member (ahem), it is disappointing to read that Boston College will not be bringing the Screaming Eagles to the Emerald Bowl. To that I say scream, Eagles, scream.
QB: Josh Nesbitt, Georgia Tech (50)
RB: Jonathan Dwyer, Georgia Tech (67)
RB: Ryan Williams, Virginia Tech (63)
WR: Demaryius Thomas, Georgia Tech (63)
WR: Donovan Varner, Duke (50)
TE: George Bryan, NC State (39)
TE: Michael Palmer, Clemson (39)
OT: Jason Fox, Miami (57)
OT: Anthony Castonzo, Boston College (53)
OG: Rodney Hudson, Florida State (54)
OG: Cord Howard, Georgia Tech (47)
C: Sean Bedford, Georgia Tech (45)
K: Matt Waldron, Virginia Tech (27)
K: Matt Bosher, Miami (27)
Spc: C.J. Spiller, Clemson (76)
DE: Derrick Morgan, Georgia Tech (76)
DE: Robert Quinn, North Carolina (69)
DT: Nate Collins, Virginia (47)
DT: Allen Bailey, Miami (38)
LB: Cody Grimm, Virginia Tech (65)
LB: Luke Kuechly, Boston College (53)
LB: Quan Sturdivant, North Carolina (44)
LB: Alex Wujciak, Maryland (44)
CB: Kendric Burney, North Carolina (59)
CB: Brandon Harris, Miami (41)
S: DeAndre McDaniel, Clemson (57)
S: Deunta Williams, North Carolina (53)
P: Brent Bowden, Virginia Tech (57)
QB: Thaddeus Lewis, Duke (18)
RB: C.J. Spiller, Clemson (62)
RB: Montel Harris, Boston College (39)
WR: Torrey Smith, Maryland (25)
WR: Jacoby Ford, Clemson (24)
TE: Greg Boone, Virginia Tech (16)
OT: Ed Wang, Virginia Tech (31)
OT: Chris Hairston, Clemson (26)
OG: Thomas Austin, Clemson (39)
OG: Sergio Render, Virginia Tech (37)
C: Matt Tennant, Boston College (29)
K: Casey Barth, North Carolina (21)
K: Will Snyderwine, Duke (21)
Spc: Torrey Smith, Maryland (17)
DE: Ricky Sapp, Clemson (29)
DE: Willie Young, NC State (24)
DE: Jason Worilds, Virginia Tech (24)
DT: Marvin Austin, North Carolina (32)
DT: John Russell, Wake Forest (29)
LB: Vincent Rey, Duke (29)
LB: Darryl Sharpton, Miami (21)
LB: Bruce Carter, North Carolina (17)
LB: Colin McCarthy, Miami (17)
LB: Dekoda Watson, Florida State (17)
CB: Ras-I Dowling, Virginia (26)
CB: Patrick Robinson, Florida State (26)
S: Morgan Burnett, Georgia Tech (51)
S: Kam Chancellor, Virginia Tech (24)
P: Matt Bosher, Miami (37)
OFFENSIVE BACK: Riley Skinner, Wake Forest, QB, Sr., 6-1, 210, Jacksonville, Fla. (The Bolles School)
Wake Forest senior quarterback Riley Skinner completed 28-of-38 passes for a career-high 372 yards and a school record five touchdown passes in the final game of his career, a 45-34 win at Duke. Skinner threw for scoring strikes of 28, 8, 54, 13, and 49 yards. His first two touchdown passes tied the game at 7-7 and 14-14, respectively, while his third gave the Demon Deacons the lead for good. Skinner finished the season with 3,160 passing yards, becoming the first Wake Forest quarterback to eclipse the 3,000-yard mark in school history, and finished his career in fourth place in league history with 9,762 passing yards and 9,923 yards of total offense. He is also seventh with 60 touchdown passes.
OFFENSIVE LINEMEN: Orlando Franklin, Miami, OL, Jr., 6-7, 318, Delray Beach, Fla. (Atlantic)
Miami junior offensive tackle Orlando Franklin, making his first career start at left tackle, helped anchor the Hurricane offensive line that paved the way for 401 total yards of offense, the fifth time in the last games Miami has racked up at least 400 total yards, in a 31-10 win over in-state rival South Florida. Franklin also cleared space for a Hurricane rushing attack that recorded 240 yards, including 100-yard rusher Damien Berry, and graded out at 95 percent with four pancake blocks. He also limited South Florida’s two-time All-American defensive end George Selvie to three tackles.
DEFENSIVE LINEMAN: Darryl Sharpton, Miami, Sr., MLB, 6-0, 235, Coral Gables, Fla. (Coral Gables)
Miami middle linebacker Darryl Sharpton was honored as the Defensive Lineman of the Week for the second time in a row as he matched a career-high with 12 tackles in Miami’s win over South Florida. Sharpton also notched 12 tackles last week in the Hurricanes’ win against Duke. He also caused a fumble, which led to Miami’s second touchdown of the game and a 14-0 lead over the Bulls. Sharpton leads all Hurricanes with 91 tackles, including 55 solo stops, and seven tackles for loss this season.
DEFENSIVE BACK: Luke Kuechly, Boston College, OLB, Fr., 6-3, 220, Cincinnati, Ohio (St. Xavier)
Boston College freshman outside linebacker Luke Kuechly earned his second consecutive Player of the Week honor (Rookie) and second Defensive Back of the Week accolade of the season for his efforts in a 19-17 win over Maryland in which he registered a game-high 16 tackles, including seven solo stops. He now leads the ACC and ranks second nationally with 142 total tackles, and has recorded 10 or more hits in nine games this season, including the last eight straight. Kuechly came up with a big stop for the Eagles as Maryland trailed 16-10 and faced a fourth-and-inches with less than five minutes to when he hurdled the Terrapin offensive line to tackle Maryland quarterback Jamarr Robinson. The turnover set up a Boston College field goal that gave the Eagles a nine-point lead.
SPECIALIST: Matt Bosher, Miami, K/P, Jr., 6-5, 205, Jupiter, Fla. (Jupiter)
Miami junior kicker/punter Matt Bosher’s second Specialist of the Week honor of 2009 comes after he connected on a 32-yard field goal and converted all four of his point-after-touchdown attempts in the Hurricanes’ victory against South Florida. His made kicks extend his streak to 12 consecutive field goals, which ranks second both for a single season and a career, and 88 consecutive PATs, which ranks third all-time in school history. Bosher also punted four times and totaled 179 yards for a 44.8 yards per punt average, and landed two kicks inside South Florida’s 20-yard line.
ROOKIE: Ryan Williams, Virginia Tech, RB, Fr. 5-9, 205, Manassas, Va. (Stonewall Jackson)
For the seventh time this season, Virginia Tech freshman running back Ryan Williams had the top performance by a freshman with a season-high 183 rushing yards on 24 carries for a 7.6 yards per rush average in a 42-13 win at Virginia. Williams scored four touchdowns in the game for the second straight week to break the ACC freshman record for touchdowns with scoring runs of 5, 20, 4, and 2 yards and became just the second Hokie in school history to accomplish the feat. Williams’ 19 rushing touchdowns this season are tied for the most in a single season in ACC history and his 1,538 rushing yards leave him 110 yards away from breaking the school single-season record, and rank as the fourth most in ACC history.
OFFENSIVE BACK: Jacory Harris, Miami, QB, So., 6-4, 190, Miami, Fla. (Northwestern)
For the fourth time this season, Miami sophomore quarterback Jacory Harris had the top performance by an offensive back after completing 25-of-43 passes for 348 yards and two touchdowns in No. 20 Miami’s 34-16 win against visiting Duke. Harris’ 348 passing yards gives him four 300-yard passing games this season, including three in his last four games. Harris also went over the 3,000-yard passing mark in 2009 to become the seventh Hurricane in school history to post 3,000 passing yards in a season, and first since Ken Dorsey in 2002. Through 11 games this season, Harris has totaled 3,003 passing yards and 21 touchdown passes.
OFFENSIVE LINEMEN: Sergio Render, Virginia Tech, G, Sr., 6-3, 313, Newnan, Ga. (Newnan)
Virginia Tech senior guard Sergio Render graded out at 82 percent and recorded a season-high 10 knockdown blocks in 16th-ranked Virginia Tech’s 38-10 win over visiting NC State. Render helped the Hokie offensive line lead the way for a Virginia Tech offense that piled up 397 yards of total offense, including 200 yards on the ground and 100-yard rusher Ryan Williams (120).
DEFENSIVE LINEMAN: Darryl Sharpton, Miami, Sr., MLB, 6-0, 235, Coral Gables, Fla. (Coral Gables)
Miami senior middle linebacker Darryl Sharpton ended his last home game with a career-high 12 tackles, including a career-best 11 solo stops and two tackles for loss, in the Hurricanes’ win over Duke. Sharpton’s performance included his first career interception, which he returned for a 73-yard touchdown. He is second among Hurricanes and ninth in the ACC with 79 tackles this season, including seven for loss.
DEFENSIVE BACK: Cody Grimm, Virginia Tech, OLB, Sr., 5-11, 202, Fairfax, Va. (Oakton)
Virginia Tech senior outside linebacker Cody Grimm’s third Defensive Back of the Week honor came after he set an ACC single-season record and tied a Football Bowl Subdivision single-game record with three forced fumbles—all of which came in NC State’s first four plays—in the Hokies’ win over the Wolfpack. Grimm helped the Virginia Tech defense limit NC State’s high-powered offensive attack to just 259 yards of total offense by recording eight tackles, two sacks, a quarterback hurry, and a fumble recovery. Grimm leads the nation with seven forced fumbles.
SPECIALIST: Greg Reid, Florida State, CB, Fr., 5-9, 175, Valdosta, Ga. (Lowndes)
Florida State freshman cornerback Greg Reid earned his second Specialist of the Week honor and third weekly accolade this season (Defensive Back of the Week, Sept. 19) after racking up 113 yards on punt and kick returns in Florida State’s 29-26 bowl eligibility-clinching win over visiting Maryland. Reid returned three punts for 88 yards to take control over the national lead (18.4 yards per return), including a 48-yard return to the Terrapin 44-yard line that set up the Seminoles’ game-winning touchdown with just 1:46 to play in the fourth quarter. Reid’s first punt return was a 33-yarder in the first quarter that set up Florida State’s first touchdown of the afternoon. He also returned his lone kickoff for 25 yards. Reid leads all Seminoles in all-purpose yardage this season with 947 yards.
ROOKIE: Luke Kuechly, Boston College, OLB, Fr., 6-3, 220, Cincinnati, Ohio (St. Xavier)
Boston College freshman outside linebacker Luke Kuechly registered an ACC season-high 19 tackles, including eight solo hits and 2.5 tackles for loss, in the Eagles’ 31-13 loss to No. 25 North Carolina. Despite the loss, Kuechly helped anchor an Eagle defense that limited the Tar Heels to 278 total yards and 96 rushing yards. With a team-leading 126 tackles, Kuechly holds the school freshman record for tackles, and is looking to become the first Boston College true freshman to lead the team in tackles in school history.
Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich
This would be an entirely different list if the top two linebackers in the league -- Mark Herzlich and Nate Irving -- weren't sidelined right now. There are still a lot of standout linebackers in the conference, but this season just won't be the same without those two guys, not that Irving's return has been completely ruled out yet. Having spoken with NC State defensive coordinator Mike Archer Wednesday, though, it's simply a miracle that Irving is even alive. In looking at the rest of the conference, it's tough to find teams that are deep at this position. It's a question mark for a lot of teams, and there's a lot of inexperience.
Here's a shot at ranking the best linebacking corps in the ACC:
1. Miami -- Sean Spence was one of the hardest hitters in the conference as a true freshman and will only be better this year, but the key to this group will probably be the return of a healthy Colin McCarthy, who injured his shoulder in the first half of the season last year. Darryl Sharpton, Arthur Brown and Jordan Futch still have something to prove.
2. North Carolina -- Quan Sturdivant and Bruce Carter started every game last year, and there are high expectations for sophomore Zach Brown. Sturdivant led the nation with 87 solo tackles last year and ranked third in the ACC in total tackles per game. This is one of the deepest groups the Tar Heels have had recently, but they are lacking some experience.
3. Virginia Tech -- Cam Martin and Cody Grimm combined to play all but nine plays at the whip linebacker spot, but they've got to replace Purnell Sturdivant and Brett Warren. Barquell Rivers proved he's up to the task when he filled in in the Orange Bowl, and Jake Johnson will have an increased role, too. There's a lot of potential in this group.
4. Clemson -- The Tigers return two starters plus a third player with starting experience. Kavell Connor started all 13 games last year and was the team's top tackler with 125. Brandon Maye had an impressive season as a redshirt freshman, and finished with 87 tackles. Scotty Cooper was a part-time starter at strongside linebacker.
5. Georgia Tech -- Even with Kyle Jackson possibly out for the whole summer with an injured right foot, the Yellow Jackets till have plenty of depth with Sedric Griffin, Brad Jefferson, Anthony Barnes and Steven Sylvester. Barnes and Jefferson are both finally healthy after injury-plagued seasons and there should be good competition for starting jobs. This group can't afford anymore injuries though.
6. Florida State -- With the graduation of Derek Nicholson and Toddrick Verdell, the Noles lose their top two tacklers. Dekoda Watson will be back from elbow surgery this spring, but it's a young group counting on sophomores like Nigel Bradham and Nigel Carr. Junior Kendall Smith is the only other upperclassman on the two-deep roster.
7. Maryland -- Alex Wujciak could be a star at this position for the Terps, and he'll definitely need to be a leader there this fall. Maryland lost four linebackers who combined to play 144 games and 54 starts. Adrian Moten is one of the few experienced faces in the group, and he earned his first start last year in the Humanitarian Bowl.
8. Duke -- The Blue Devils have to replace the ACC's leading tackler in Michael Tauiliili, but they've still got Vincent Rey, who made 109 tackles last year. The problem is, Rey is the only experienced linebacker they've got. Competition remains among Damian Thornton, Abraham Kromah, and Adam Banks.
9. NC State -- It's not clear when Nate Irving will return, but for as long as he's out, the Wolfpack will be missing their best player on both sides of the ball. The Pack still have senior Ray Michel, who is a returning starter in the middle, and Dwayne Maddox started in place of Irving when he was out last year. But this is an entirely different group -- and defense -- without Irving.
10. Boston College -- The Eagles' linebacking corps took a huge hit when Mark Herzlich was diagnosed with cancer, and they still don't know when Mike McLaughlin will be cleared to play from a torn Achilles. BC has a reputation for its defense, so odds are this group will be OK, but there are too many unknowns right now.
11. Wake Forest -- All three starters from last year are gone, and the Demon Deacons have big shoes to fill after the departure of Butkus Award winner Aaron Curry. It's going to have to be a group effort, but there's still some athleticism and depth to work with. Matt Woodlief and Hunter Haynes are the most experienced players retuning.
12. Virginia -- The Cavaliers graduated the veteran group of Jon Copper, Clint Sintim and Antonio Appleby, and because they were so good, their backups didn't see much playing time. This group is the feature in Al Groh's 3-4 defense, and it's going to have a whole new look. There were good reports about Steve Greer this spring, and Groh said Greer tried to mimic his game after Copper, which is reason for hope.
Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich
Final Illinois 18 Louisiana Tech 35 Final Rutgers 40 North Carolina 21 Final North Carolina State 34 UCF 27
Final Nevada 3 Louisiana-Lafayette 16 Final Utah State 21 UTEP 6 Final 22 Utah 45 Colorado State 10 Final Western Michigan 24 Air Force 38 Final South Alabama 28 Bowling Green 33
Final Marshall 52 Northern Illinois 23 Final Navy 17 San Diego State 16
Final Central Michigan 48 Western Kentucky 49 Final Fresno State 6 Rice 30
1:00 PM ET Cincinnati Virginia Tech 2:00 PM ET 15 Arizona State Duke 3:30 PM ET Miami (FL) South Carolina 4:30 PM ET Boston College Penn State 8:00 PM ET Nebraska 24 USC
2:00 PM ET Texas A&M West Virginia 5:30 PM ET Oklahoma 17 Clemson 9:00 PM ET Arkansas Texas
3:00 PM ET Notre Dame 23 LSU 6:30 PM ET 13 Georgia 21 Louisville 10:00 PM ET Maryland Stanford
12:30 PM ET 9 Ole Miss 6 TCU 4:00 PM ET 20 Boise State 10 Arizona 8:00 PM ET 7 Mississippi State 12 Georgia Tech
12:00 PM ET 19 Auburn 18 Wisconsin 12:30 PM ET 8 Michigan State 5 Baylor 1:00 PM ET 16 Missouri 25 Minnesota 5:00 PM ET 2 Oregon 3 Florida State 8:30 PM ET 1 Alabama 4 Ohio State
12:00 PM ET Houston Pittsburgh 3:20 PM ET Iowa Tennessee 6:45 PM ET 11 Kansas State 14 UCLA 10:15 PM ET Washington Oklahoma State