ACC: Dustin Hopkins

We move on in our series looking at the weakest and strongest positions on each team in the ACC with Florida State.

Strongest position: Defensive back.

I considered a number of positions here, running back and offensive line chief among them. But then I looked at the secondary. The Noles return three of four starters AND have depth in spades. This should be the best group in the ACC. Xavier Rhodes is a big loss at cornerback. But otherwise, the backfield is loaded. Safety Karlos Williams, is a former five-star prospect with a boatload of game experience. He will be the only new starter, joining Lamarcus Joyner, Terrence Brooks and a combination of Nick Waisome/Ronald Darby returning at cornerback. Darby was the ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year. Joyner opted to return to school and then moved to cornerback, a position switch many believe will allow him to be even better his senior season. Florida State was the No. 1-ranked pass defense in the nation last season, allowed the second-lowest completion percentage of any team and allowed the fewest pass plays of 15 yards or more (41 in 14 games) of any team in the country. As for depth, Florida State has highly heralded guys like P.J. Williams, Tyler Hunter and five-star Jalen Ramsey waiting in the wings.

Weakest position: Kicker.

No matter how much promise Roberto Aguayo has shown so far, the Seminoles are trading in one of the most prolific kickers in NCAA history for a redshirt freshman with zero playing experience. Aguayo may end up being just as good as the departed Dustin Hopkins, but heading into the season kicker is a big-time question mark. Because with Hopkins, you always knew what to expect. With Aguayo? Not so much. Last season, Hopkins set a new NCAA career scoring record for kickers (466 points) and set NCAA, ACC and FSU records with 88 career field goals. He was as close to automatic as it comes. No doubt Aguayo has some huge cleats to fill this season and beyond.

For more on this series, click here.
2012 record: 12-2
2012 conference record: 7-1
Returning starters: Offense 6, Defense 5, Kicker/Punter 1

Top returners

WR Rashad Greene, LT Cameron Erving, C Bryan Stork, LB Christian Jones, LB Telvin Smith, DB Lamarcus Joyner, DT Timmy Jernigan

Key losses

QB EJ Manuel, RT Menelik Watson, RB Chris Thompson, DE Bjoern Werner, DE Cornellius Carradine, CB Xavier Rhodes, K Dustin Hopkins

2012 statistical leaders (*returning)

Rushing: Chris Thompson (687 yards)
Passing: EJ Manuel (3,392 yards)
Receiving: Rashad Greene* (741 yards)
Tackles: Christian Jones* (95)
Sacks: Bjoern Werner (13)
Interceptions: Xavier Rhodes, Tyler Hunter* (3)

Spring answers:

1. Changes on D: New coordinator Jeremy Pruitt brought a slew of new schemes with him from Alabama, meaning the FSU defense won't look all that much like the one that finished second in the nation in 2012. With the loss of five former starters from the defensive line, that's probably a good thing. Pruitt's scheme will be more aggressive and bring a lot more blitzes, allowing FSU to get pressure from other areas.

2. Beating Hart: When right tackle Menelik Watson made the somewhat surprising decision to leave FSU after just a year to enter the NFL draft, all eyes turned to junior Bobby Hart, whose turbulent career with the Seminoles was already well documented. Hart started as a 17-year-old freshman in 2011, but problems with his work ethic derailed his sophomore season and he found himself on the bench. He appeared to work his way back into line coach Rick Trickett's good graces by the end of the spring, however, and he'll be crucial to maintaining the continuity of the line without Watson.

3. Famous Jameis: Jimbo Fisher still isn't calling the contest over, but it certainly looks like redshirt freshman Jameis Winston is in the driver's seat to take over for Manuel as FSU's new starting quarterback. Winston shined throughout the spring and delivered a monster performance in the Seminoles' Garnet and Gold game, completing 13 of 15 passes for 205 yards and two touchdowns. A week later, junior QB Clint Trickett announced he was transferring.

Fall questions:

1. Winston, Part II: Yes, the spring was impressive for Winston, but as Fisher was quick to point out, he'll need to pick up right where he left off in the fall if FSU is going to make a smooth transition at a position that's been remarkably stable for the past five years. Jacob Coker remains in competition -- and he should be fully healed after breaking a bone in his foot that limited this spring -- but the loss of Trickett puts a lot of pressure on Winston to step up, particularly with a daunting road contest at new ACC member Pittsburgh looming in the season opener.

2. New-look secondary: Lamarcus Joyner appeared to make a relatively smooth transition from safety to corner, but FSU didn't get much of a look at what will constitute the secondary in 2013. Key players such as Tyler Hunter, Nick Waisome and Ronald Darby were all hurt, while promising freshman Jalen Ramsey had yet to arrive. The group will finally all work together during fall camp.

3. Just for kicks: Redshirt freshman Roberto Aguayo showed off his powerful leg during FSU's spring game, connecting on three long field goals, including a 58-yarder to close out the game. Still, replacing the NCAA's all-time leading scorer among kickers won't be an easy task. Dustin Hopkins was as reliable as it gets for FSU, and Aguayo still needs to show he can handle the pressure of making a big kick with the game on the line.
Florida State followed up its big first round with a huge NFL draft weekend, as the Seminoles led every program in the nation with 11 total picks, setting a new school record.

That's right. The Noles had more picks than national champion Alabama (nine) and SEC power LSU (nine), two schools that played for the national championship following the 2011 season. More than in-state rival Florida (eight), too.

Those numbers are clear validation the Seminoles have restocked their cupboards with an inordinate amount of talent as they re-emerge in the national conversation.

"It’s a great indication of how the program is truly developing," coach Jimbo Fisher said in a statement. “I think it shows we’re getting back to national prominence. Our players are doing a great job of representing themselves on and off the field leading to chances at the next level. I’m happy for all of these guys and want to thank them for helping return this program back to the national spotlight."

Overall, the ACC had 31 players taken for the ninth straight season, finishing second behind the SEC.

Here is a quick look back at all the selections:

First round
  • No. 7 Jonathan Cooper, OG, Arizona
  • No. 16 EJ Manuel, QB, Buffalo
  • No. 24 Bjoern Werner, DE, Indianapolis
  • No. 25 Xavier Rhodes, CB, Minnesota
  • No. 27 DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Houston
  • No. 28 Sylvester Williams, DT, Denver
Second round
  • No. 37 Giovani Bernard, RB, North Carolina
  • No. 40 Cornellius "Tank" Carradine, DE, San Francisco
  • No. 42 Menelik Watson, OT, Oakland
  • No. 51 David Amerson, CB, NC State
Third round
  • No. 73 Mike Glennon, QB, Tampa Bay
  • No. 89 Brennan Williams, OT, North Carolina
Fourth round
  • No. 127 Malliciah Goodman, DE, Atlanta
Fifth round
  • No. 136 Earl Wolff, S, Philadelphia
  • No. 141 Oday Aboushi, OG, New York Jets
  • No. 143 Jonathan Meeks, S, Buffalo
  • No. 149 Brandon McGee, CB, St. Louis
  • No. 154 Chris Thompson, RB, Washington
  • No. 162 Brandon Jenkins, LB, Washington
Sixth round
  • No. 171 Corey Fuller, WR, Detroit
  • No. 173 Vinston Painter, OT, Denver
  • No. 177 Dustin Hopkins, PK, Buffalo
  • No. 180 Nick Moody, LB, San Francisco
  • No. 187 Andre Ellington, RB, Arizona
  • No. 189 Mike James, RB, Tampa Bay
  • No. 206 Vince Williams, LB, Pittsburgh
Seventh round
  • No. 214 Travis Bond, OG, Minnesota
  • No. 215 Tommy Bohanon, FB, New York Jets
  • No. 224 Kevin Dorsey, WR, Green Bay
  • No. 229 Everett Dawkins, DT, Minnesota
  • No. 249 Sean Renfree, QB, Atlanta

Incoming member Syracuse had three players drafted as well: tackle Justin Pugh in the first round to the New York Giants; quarterback Ryan Nassib in the fourth round to the Giants; and safety Shamarko Thomas in the fourth round to Pittsburgh.

And now a few notes:
  • North Carolina had the second-most picks from the ACC with five -- its highest total since five were picked in 2011. The Tar Heels had three offensive linemen selected, the most from UNC in the draft since 1967.
  • Miami had its NFL draft streak extended to 39 consecutive seasons with Brandon McGee and Mike James both getting selected.
  • Virginia also had its draft streak extended to 30 straight seasons with Aboushi's selection.
  • Tommy Bohanon Bohanon became just the third Wake Forest fullback to have his name called in the draft, joining Ovie Mughelli (Ravens, 2003) and Neil MacLean (Eagles, 1958).
  • With four selections in this year's draft, Clemson has now had 23 players chosen over the last five years, and at least four every year Dabo Swinney has been head coach. It is the first time in history Clemson has had at least four players drafted each of the last five years.
  • Georgia Tech did not have a player selected for the first time since 2005. Three players with draft hopes ended up with free agent deals: T.J. Barnes (Jacksonville), Izaan Cross (Buffalo) and Rod Sweeting (New Orleans).
  • Pitt did not have a player drafted for the second consecutive season. Running back Ray Graham, who was the Panthers' best hope for selection, signed as an undrafted free agent with the Texans.
  • Here are a few other notable free-agent signings: Conner Vernon (Oakland), Chibuikem “Kenny” Okoro (San Diego), Marcus Davis (New York Giants), Lonnie Pryor (Jacksonville).
With half of the conference playing spring games this weekend, here’s a look at what to watch if you’re keeping an eye on the ACC as spring ball comes to a close:


When: 4 p.m. ET on Saturday (ESPN3)

What to watch:
  • Quarterbacks of the future. You know Tajh Boyd is good. Expect Cole Stoudt and Chad Kelly to take most of the snaps. Boyd played just four snaps in the last scrimmage. Let's see his backups.
  • The tight ends. Clemson tight ends Dwayne Allen and Brandon Ford have been the first team All-ACC tight ends the past two years. Clemson tight ends have 118 receptions and 21 touchdowns the past two years, perhaps the most underrated area in Chad Morris’ offense. So who moves in there this year? Sam Cooper is the most experienced, but freshman Jordan Leggett has been impressive this spring.
  • How much better is the defense? All eyes will be on Brent Venables' group to see how much progress it has made this spring. If the D gets better, it could be a special season in Death Valley.

When: 2 p.m. Saturday, (ESPN3)

What to watch:
  • The quarterbacks. It's been one of the hottest topics this spring in the ACC and arguably the biggest position battle in the conference. Check out Clint Trickett, Jacob Coker and Jameis Winston as they all battle to replace starter EJ Manuel.
  • The defensive line. The competition is on to replace Bjoern Werner and Tank Carradine. Mario Edwards Jr. is ready to jump in, along with Giorgio Newberry.
  • Don't forget the kicker. It's big at FSU. The Noles have to replace Dustin Hopkins, the ACC's all-time leading scorer and the NCAA's all-time kick scorer. It's your chance to see Roberto Aguayo, who was one of the nation's top kickers coming out of high school.

When: 7 p.m. on Friday in Byrd Stadium

Parking/admission: Free

What to watch:
  • The running backs. Both Brandon Ross and Albert Reid have had strong springs and will be competing for playing time come the fall.
  • The receivers. This group should be a strong point for the team this year, as Stefon Diggs, Deon Long and Nigel King are a talented trio.
  • New faces on defense. The Terps have to replace six starters on defense, including some of their best leaders in Joe Vellano and A.J. Francis.

When: 4 p.m. ET on Saturday (ESPN3) in Wallace Wade Stadium

Parking/admission: Free

What to watch:
  • Booooooone. Anthony Boone takes over at quarterback, and there have been rave reviews about him from within the program all spring. He's got a strong arm and is mobile.
  • New faces at safety. Some big names are gone, as Duke has to replace graduates Jordon Byas and Walt Canty, and Brandon Braxton, who moved back to receiver. Jeremy Cash, eligible now after transferring from Ohio State and sitting out last fall, headlines the group that includes sophomore Dwayne Norman (60 tackles in 2012 as true freshman) and redshirt freshman Corbin McCarthy.
  • Front and center: There is one hole to fill on the offensive line and Matt Skura takes over at center for Brian Moore.

When: 3 p.m. ET at Sun Life Stadium (ESPN3)

Gates open: 12:30 p.m.

Parking/admission: Free

What to watch:
  • Defensive improvement. Is there any? The Canes were one of the worst in the country last year, but they return every starter up front.
  • The No. 2 QB. Who is it? Gray Crow started the last scrimmage as the backup to Stephen Morris and completed 8 of 13 passes for 73 yards, with a touchdown and interception. Ryan Williams, who entered the spring as the expected No. 2, completed only six of his 12 passes with a touchdown and an interception. The coaches will be watching these guys closely on Saturday, so should you.
  • Running back Dallas Crawford. You know Duke Johnson. It's time to get to know this guy. Those within the program have said Crawford has had a great spring and could be a rising star this fall. He scored two touchdowns in a scrimmage in Naples earlier this month.

When: 3 p.m. ET on Saturday at Kenan Stadium (ESPN3)

Admission: Free

Parking: $5/vehicle

What to watch:
  • Gio's replacement(s). A.J. Blue and Romar Morris have been working to ease the loss of leading rusher Giovani Bernard. Can they be as effective as he was, how much progress have they made and who will replace Bernard in the return game?
  • The O-line. Former guard Jonathan Cooper should be a first-round draft pick later this month, and it won't matter how good Blue and Morris are if they can't find anyone to help block for them. A total of three starters have to be replaced on the offensive line.
  • Replacing big names on D. Cooper and Bernard aren't the only big names that will be missing. The defense is going to miss tackle Sylvester Williams, who could be another first-round draft pick, and linebacker Kevin Reddick (85 tackles, 8.5 for loss). How does the D look without them?

When: 7 p.m. ET on Friday at Bethel Park High School (ESPN3)

Gates open: 5:30 p.m.

Admission: Free

What to watch:
  • The quarterbacks. Fifth-year senior Tom Savage has taken most of the reps with the first team, and redshirt freshman Chad Voytik appears to be the backup, but coach Paul Chryst has yet to name a starter.
  • The running backs. Earlier this month, it was announced that Rushel Shell has decided to transfer. Since then, the bulk of the carries have gone to junior Isaac Bennett, sophomore Malcolm Crockett and senior Desmond Brown. How they fare will go a long way in determining how Pitt fares in its first season in the ACC.
  • The offensive line. It's been problematic for the Panthers in each of the past two seasons, and Pitt now has to break in two new starters in Gabe Roberts and Adam Bisnowaty.
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- There was no chance Roberto Aguayo would see action. Two months earlier, he wasn't even expecting a scholarship. This was simply a dry run, a small sample of what the life of a kicker might someday be like.

[+] EnlargeRoberto Aguayo
Courtesy of Brandon Mellor/Seminoles.comRoberto Aguayo didn't see any action last season, but was one of the top-ranked kickers in his recruiting class.
And yet, when Aguayo stepped through the tunnel last September and onto the field at Doak Campbell Stadium for warm-ups before Florida State's opener, the gravity of the proceedings overwhelmed him.

"My stomach -- butterflies just hit it," Aguayo said.

Eventually the nerves subsided, and while Aguayo made it through the game -- and then the season -- without ever lining up for a kick, the experience meant something.

For a team and a fan base that enjoyed the calm consistency of college football's most prolific kicker during the past four years, Aguayo is something new -- and that can be a frightening prospect. But for him, the experience already feels routine, and routine is a kicker's best friend.

"I feel confident," said Aguayo, who was set to greyshirt in 2012 before a scholarship opened up at the last minute. "I don't like to pressure myself. Right now I'm focused on school, spring ball is going well, and I'm taking it step by step."

Kicking has always come naturally to Aguayo, who started playing soccer when he was just 2. When he was 8, his Pop Warner team needed someone to boot extra points, and Aguayo was the only logical candidate.

"I kicked the farthest," he said. "Everybody else's would go 2 yards off the ground."

The rigors of the job didn't change much through high school, where Aguayo was considered one of the top kicking prospects in the nation. But when he arrived at Florida State, it quickly became clear that there was a nuance to the preparation that made all the difference on game day. It's a methodical approach Dustin Hopkins executed with precision.

In practice, Aguayo would boom kick after kick. Hopkins preached restraint. On game day, Aguayo soaked in the energy of the big stage. Hopkins relished the minutiae. Through the season, Aguayo watched and learned, while Hopkins decimated virtually every kicking mark in the NCAA record books.

(Read full post)

Florida State lost a ton of talent off its ACC title team, including two All-Americans.

Much of the focus this offseason has been on how the Noles will replace one of them -- defensive end Bjoern Werner. Much less has focused on a replacement for the other -- kicker Dustin Hopkins.

While it is true that more people focus on the star players like Werner, you cannot overlook what Hopkins meant to the Noles program. He was as automatic as you can get at the kicker position, setting a new NCAA career scoring record for kickers (466 points), while establishling new NCAA, ACC and school records with 88 career field goals.

Simply put, kicker has been a position the Noles have not had to worry about in years.

But let's just say the cupboard isn't bare. Coach Jimbo Fisher is supremely confident in the next man up -- redshirt freshman Roberto Aguayo, who was rated the sixth-best kicking prospect in the class of 2012.

"We’ll be very pleased with him," Fisher said earlier this week. "I expect great things out of Roberto. He’s extremely talented, extremely explosive, very strong leg, very similar to the guy we just lost. He hasn’t done the things Dustin’s done in a pressure situation but from a talent standpoint, a very good guy. That’s why we signed him a year ago. I loved him in camp and I thought it very beneficial for him to follow Dustin around, learning how to prepare, and how to work and do those things."

The hope, of course, is that Aguayo can end up starting for four years the way Hopkins did, and allow Seminoles coaches and fans to breathe easy every time he steps onto the field. If all goes according to plan, his first game as a Seminole will come in an intensely pressure filled situation -- on the road in Pittsburgh in a nationally televised game, at a stadium known for being unfriendly to kickers.
Drumroll please ...

No. 1. Tajh Boyd, QB, Clemson

2012 stats: He ranked No. 5 in the country in passing efficiency at 165.59, No. 10 in passing yards with 3,896, and No. 14 in passing yards per game at 299.69. He threw for an ACC-record 36 touchdowns with 13 interceptions, and was responsible for a total of 46 touchdowns, also an ACC record. He finished seventh in the country in total offense (339.23).

Previous ranking: No. 6

Making the case for Boyd: Just ask the ACC coaches, who voted Boyd as the ACC’s overall and offensive Player of the Year for 2012. Boyd was the leader of Clemson’s record-setting offense, and he showed significant improvement from 2011, including his decision-making and his ability to run. He delivered an ACC single-game record on Nov. 17 when he accounted for eight touchdowns against NC State. Boyd orchestrated an offense that set school records in scoring, with 41 points per game, and in total offense, averaging 512.7 yards. Clemson ranked ninth nationally in total offense and sixth in the nation in scoring. His decision to return instead of leave early for the NFL gave the program -- and the ACC -- a true Heisman contender for 2013.

The countdown
No. 3. Jonathan Cooper, OG, North Carolina

2012 stats: He started all 12 games, and in has final career game, Cooper had a team-best 10 knockdowns and graded out at 93 percent against Maryland. He played every snap against NC State and graded out at 90 percent with a team-high 18 knockdown blocks. He had no missed assignments in the win over East Carolina, and he twice earned ACC Offensive Lineman of the Week honors.

Previous ranking: No. 7

Making the case for Cooper: The 1,000+ yards of UNC running back Giovani Bernard, the No. 4 player on this list, makes the case for Cooper, who was his lead blocker. Cooper finished his career as one of the most decorated offensive linemen in school history. The consensus All-American will have his jersey honored in Kenan Stadium. He was UNC’s first Outland Trophy finalist, a first-team all-ACC selection, and he won the ACC Jacobs Blocking Trophy. Not only is Cooper one of the nation’s best linemen, he is also humble and a good student. Cooper was also a 2013 ACC Postgraduate Honorary Scholarship recipient.

The countdown
No. 5. DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson

2012 stats: He started all 13 games and finished with 82 catches for 1,405 yards and an ACC-record 18 touchdowns.

Previous ranking: NR

Making the case for Hopkins: Teammates Sammy Watkins and Andre Ellington stole the show in the previous ranking, and Hopkins was bumped from the list in favor of Wake Forest receiver Michael Campanaro. Not only did Hopkins play his way into the top five with a breakout season in 2012, Hopkins also earned his spot among the nation’s best receivers last season. He was better than Watkins, and few defenses could find an answer for him. Hopkins had at least one receiving touchdown in each of the last 10 games, the longest streak in ACC and school history. He finished the season ranked first in school history in receiving touchdowns, first in receiving yards, and first in receiving yards per game (108.1). He had 24 plays over 20 yards, and became the only Tiger in school history with multiple 100-yard receiving performances in bowl games. He has 32 receptions for 403 yards and three touchdowns in three career bowl games. His decision to leave early for the NFL draft was a significant hit to Clemson’s passing game.

The countdown

2012 postseason top 25 players: No. 7

February, 15, 2013
No. 7. Sylvester Williams, DT, UNC

2012 stats: He finished with 42 tackles (21 solo), including 13.5 tackles for loss, six sacks, and had six quarterback hurries.

Previous ranking: NR

Making the case for Williams: Williams, a first-team all-ACC selection by both the coaches and the media, was one of the ACC’s best stories of perseverance. He enrolled at Carolina in January 2011, after two seasons at Coffeyville (Kan.) Community College. Following high school, Williams thought his playing days were over. He got a job at Modine Manufacturing Company making radiator parts for large trucks before enrolling at Coffeyville. While at UNC, he established himself as one of the country’s best interior linemen and graduated in December. He was ranked among the top 50 players in the country in tackles for losses. He played through an ankle sprain midway through the season and still ended the year on a positive note. He had two tackles and a tackle for loss against Maryland in the season finale. A week earlier, in a nationally-televised Thursday night game at Virginia, Williams had a career-high eight stops, two tackles for losses and a 10-yard sack.

The countdown
No. 9. Andre Ellington, RB, Clemson

2012 stats: He started all 13 games and led the team in rushing with 1,081 yards and eight touchdowns. He also had 14 catches for 232 yards and a touchdown. He was second on the team in total offense with 1081 yards. He also had eight kickoff returns for 178 yards.

Previous ranking: No. 18

Making the case for Ellington: He became just the fourth player in Clemson history with two 1,000-yard rushing seasons. He was the leading active career rusher in the ACC in 2012 with 3,436 yards, including 2,259 yards in 2011 and 2012. He was also named to the ACC’s all-conference team by both the coaches and the media. He racked up 228 yards in the win against Auburn. He was second in the ACC in rushing yardage behind UNC’s Giovani Bernard with 83.2 yards per game. He and Bernard were tied for the conference lead in career 100-yard rushing games with 12 each, but Ellington was the only active player in the league with two career 200-yard rushing games.

The countdown

No. 11. Duke Johnson, RB, Miami

2012 stats: He had 28 kick returns for 892 yards (32 yards per game) and two touchdowns. He finished with 13 total touchdowns and 2,060 all-purpose yards. He had 947 rushing yards, 221 receiving yards. He also completed 1-of-2 passes for eight yards.

Previous ranking: NR

Making the case for Johnson: He merely finished what was arguably the greatest freshman season in the program’s history. There wasn’t much he didn’t do offensively, and the triple-threat true freshman was also one of the most explosive players in the country. He finished the regular season tied as the nation’s leader with 11 all-purpose plays of 50+ yards and was one of only 13 FBS players with at least two plays of 90+ yards. Johnson also led the nation with five kickoff returns of 50+ yards.

Not surprisingly, Johnson was named the ACC’s overall and offensive rookie of the year. He rushed for a school freshman record 947 yards and 10 touchdowns, breaking Clinton Portis’ 13-year-old school freshman rushing record. Johnson also set the school single-season record with 892 kick return yards and returned two kickoffs for touchdowns, tying a school record. He also set a single game ACC freshman record with 368 all-purpose yards on Nov. 10 at Virginia. He was named the ACC Rookie of the Week a league-best five times.

The countdown

No. 13. EJ Manuel, QB, Florida State

2012 stats: He completed 68 percent of his passes for 3,392 yards, 23 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He averaged 242.3 passing yards per game. He also ran for 310 yards and four touchdowns.

Previous ranking: No. 9

Making the case for Manuel: He led Florida State to its first ACC title since 2005, and a Discover Orange Bowl win against Northern Illinois. Despite his mom’s battle with breast cancer all season long, Manuel remained a steadfast leader to his teammates and helped the team bounce back from its road loss to NC State. He finished his career third in FSU history for career passing yards and third in career completions at FSU.

The countdown:

ACC players on NFL combine list

February, 7, 2013
The official list of players invited to the combine is out.

Out of the whopping 333 invited players, the ACC will have 42 representatives at the big event, scheduled for Feb. 23-26 in Indianapolis. Every ACC team is represented. Florida State has the most players invited with 12; Maryland, Virginia and Wake Forest have the fewest with one each.

Here is the complete list:
No. 15. Lamarcus Joyner, DB, Florida State

2012 stats: He finished the season with 51 total tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, one interception and six passes defended. He also had 18 kick returns for 424 yards.

Previous ranking: No. 19

Making the case for Joyner: Joyner’s decision to return for his senior season instead of leaving early for the NFL draft was a huge boost to the Noles’ defense. His combination of experience and talent will be invaluable. Joyner, a first-team All-ACC selection, started all 14 games at strong safety in 2012 and enters 2013 with a streak of 27 consecutive starts. He has played in every game since he arrived at Florida State as a freshman in 2010.

The countdown