ACC: Hunter Haynes

Wake Forest spring wrap

May, 5, 2011
5/05/11
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WAKE FOREST

2010 overall record: 3-9

2010 conference record: 1-7

Returning starters

Offense: 7, defense: 9, kicker/punter: 1

Top returners

WR Chris Givens, G Joe Looney, DE Tristan Dorty, DE Kyle Wilber, SS Cyhl Quarles, PK Jimmy Newman, QB Tanner Price, RB Josh Harris, NG Nikita Whitlock

Key losses

C Russell Nenon, RB Josh Adams, WR Marshall Williams, WR Devon Brown, LB Hunter Haynes, LB Matt Woodlief, P Shane Popham

2010 statistical leaders (* returners)

Rushing: Harris* (720 yards)

Passing: Price* (1,349 yds)

Receiving: Brown (302 yds)

Tackles: Hunter Haynes (77)

Sacks: Wilber* (6)

Interceptions: Alex Frye (3)

Spring answers

1. Solidified secondary. All four starters return in CB Josh Bush, SS Cyhl Quarles, FS Daniel Mack and CB Kevin Johnson, and the Deacs are two-deep at every position. It’s a much better scenario than it was a year ago, when Wake had to start two true freshmen corners. The Deacs will also have Dominique Tate, who missed all of last year for academic reasons, and two players who redshirted last year in Desmond Cooper and Merrill Noel. The Deacs ranked 11th in the ACC in pass defense last year, but saw signs this spring of that improving.

2. Sold on the 3-4 defense. The staff is confident in the defensive tackles and committed to the scheme, which it began using last year. Nose guard Ramon Booi, the backup to Nikita Whitlock, might have been the most improved player on the roster this spring, and is a good contrast to Whitlock, who is 5-foot-10 and more of a speed guy. Booi is a 6-foot-6, 300-pound man-wall. At tackle, Grobe singled out defensive end Zach Thompson as a possible all-ACC candidate, and Tristan Dorty moved from linebacker to defensive end.

3. Staff changes were a positive. Without disrespecting former defensive coordinator Brad Lambert, who left to become head coach of the fledgling Charlotte program, Grobe said he was pleased with the promotions of Tim Billings and Brian Knorr to co-defensive coordinators, and Lonnie Galloway, who was hired to coach the wide receivers. Knorr’s knowledge of the 3-4 scheme has been an added bonus.

Fall questions

1. Which running back will take over? Josh Harris is the most talented back on the roster, but he missed several spring practices with a hamstring injury he suffered while competing in the 100-yard dash with the track team. He’ll have to get healthy and earn the starting job this summer despite competition from senior Brandon Pendergrass. Harris, though, scored the only touchdown of the spring game.

2. Will dependable receivers emerge? The Deacs didn’t chart every one, but there were about eight or 10 dropped passes by wide receivers in the spring game. Wake Forest is looking for a playmaker to emerge like Kenny Moore did in ’07 and D.J. Boldin in ’08. Chris Givens, Michael Campanaro, Danny Dembry and Terence Davis are lead candidates, but redshirt freshmen Matt James (6-foot-6) and Brandon Terry (6-5), could both work their way into the rotation.

3. Will the offensive line improve? Four starters are back, so it looks better on paper, but the Deacs will sorely miss the experience and leadership of former center Russell Nenon. Garrick Williams started the final three games of 2010 -- two at guard and one at center, but he struggled with the snaps towards the end of spring and isn’t where the staff needs him to be yet.

Season recap: Wake Forest

December, 7, 2010
12/07/10
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Growing pains were expected, considering the Wake Forest Demon Deacons had to replace the most winning quarterback in school history, but even coach Jim Grobe and his staff probably didn’t expect it to be quite so painful.

Wake Forest won its first two games and then tumbled into the season finale at Vanderbilt riding a nine-game losing streak. There is a myriad of reasons for the problems, but it started at quarterback when injuries to Ted Stachitas and Skylar Jones changed the offense and the course of the season. The Deacs were forced to turn to true freshman Tanner Price, and while he has given the staff reasons to be confident moving forward, he wasn’t ready to start his career with back-to-back road trips at Stanford and Florida State.

Statistically, Wake Forest was one of the worst teams in the country in nearly every major offensive and defensive category, but one of the most troubling was the 110th ranked scoring defense, which allowed 35.83 points per game. It couldn’t get off the field, and the offense couldn’t stay on.

A lack of fourth and fifth-year seniors forced Grobe to play more young players than he would have liked, but that experience should only help in the future.

Offensive MVP: Running back Josh Harris. He led the team with 720 yards rushing including 241 at Virginia Tech and 138 at Vanderbilt. He had a team-high seven rushing touchdowns and 65.5 yards per game.

Defensive MVP: Linebacker Hunter Haynes. He was the Deacs’ most consistent defender and led the team with 77 tackles. He also had 6.5 TFL and 2.5 sacks.

Turning point: The 28-27 loss to Navy was so disheartening to the Deacs they might have let it beat them more than once. For the second straight week, Wake had lost to a triple option team with less than 30 seconds left to play. This loss decreased the program’s chances of getting to a bowl game, and sunk the Deacs to 2-4 with back-to-back road trips to Virginia Tech and Maryland looming.

What’s next: Wake Forest can take some positive momentum from its win over Vanderbilt into the offseason, but in the bigger picture, the program needs to rebuild the depth that has afforded Grobe the luxury of redshirting almost every player who comes into the program. The staff needs to finish this recruiting class strong and continue to develop the younger players who were forced to help early this year.

Week 5: Did you know?

October, 1, 2010
10/01/10
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Here’s your weekly dose of ACC fun facts, thanks to sports information directors in the league:
  • NC State wideout Jarvis Williams has averaged a touchdown every 5.9 catches for his career, the best mark in school history. Tight end George Bryan’s mark of 6.3 ranks third. In fifth place is Owen Spencer, who has scored every 7.3 times he makes a grab.
  • Georgia Tech has not lost back-to-back games in three seasons under coach Paul Johnson.
  • Georgia Tech and Wake Forest have identical turnover margins -- zero. The Jackets have gained six and lost six, while the Deacs have gained seven and lost seven.
  • Florida State’s Jimbo Fisher and Virginia coach Mike London have the same birthday, Oct. 9. Fisher’s FSU team will face rival Miami that day, while the Cavaliers will play at Georgia Tech. Dabo Swinney’s Clemson squad will play at Wake Forest on his 41st birthday.
  • Wake Forest has three sets of brothers on the team this year: senior linebacker Hunter Haynes and sophomore linebacker Riley Haynes from Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.; sophomore wide receiver Chris Givens and freshman running back Nick Knott from Wylie, Texas; and redshirt freshman defensive end Zach Thompson and true freshman quarterback Patrick Thompson from Ashburn, Va. The Thompson brothers are twins who joined the Demon Deacons a year apart.
  • Boston College saw its consecutive game scoring streak stopped at 148 games last week in a 19-0 loss to Virginia Tech. BC had gone 12 years without failing to score; the last time the Eagles were shutout was on October 8, 1998 by Virginia Tech.
  • Since 2005 when the ACC began competing in divisions, Virginia Tech has been the most successful team in interdivisional play. The Hokies are 14-5 against the Atlantic Division during that time, a .737 winning percentage.
  • Clemson and Miami have played to overtime each of the past three meetings, just the second FBS series that has occurred in. The only other series that took place was the Central Michigan vs. Eastern Michigan series. Those two schools played overtime games every year between 2004-06. What is even more strange about the Clemson vs. Miami series is that the visiting team has won all three overtime games. That includes last year when Clemson won 40-37 in overtime in “walk-off” fashion on a Kyle Parker to Jacoby Ford 26-yard touchdown pass.
  • Maryland has been one of the top scoring teams in the league (34.5 ppg) despite posting 319.0 yards per game in total offense thanks to the big play. The Terps already have 27 plays of 20 yards or longer this year, which has resulted in 10 touchdowns. In 2009, Maryland had just 13 touchdowns off explosive plays. The Terps had four scoring plays over 50 yards against FIU last week. The Terps have 10 plays of 50 yards or longer this year (three on punt returns, three on passes, three on rushes and one on an interception return) after only eight last season.
  • This is only the second time since 1994 that an unranked Virginia Tech team will play a true road game at a ranked opponent’s stadium (using the AP poll). The only other time came in 2008 when Tech lost at No. 24 Florida State. Under head coach Frank Beamer, this has happened only 13 times and the Hokies’ only win in this scenario came in 1989 when the Hokies went to Morgantown and beat No. 9 West Virginia, 12-10.
  • Virginia’s 1995 33-28 win against then-No. 2 Florida State featured a total of 62 players (32 FSU, 30 UVA) who went on to the NFL. Of the 62 players, 45 combined actually played in the game. Surprisingly, 24 were Virginia players and 21 were from FSU. Paul London, Mike London's brother, started as a cornerback and made four tackles in that game - two assisted and two unassisted.
  • This is the latest start to the ACC schedule for Clemson since 1982 when the Tigers had their first league game on Oct. 9 at Virginia. The Miami game will be the first of eight straight ACC games on eight straight Saturdays. It is the first time since 2003 that Clemson has played eight straight ACC games, and the first time in history Clemson will play eight straight league opponents in eight consecutive weeks.
  • In the first two games of the season, three different Tar Heels played center, including sophomore Jonathan Cooper, junior Cam Holland and senior Alan Pelc. The Tar Heels have played at least eight linemen in each of the first three games. Against LSU, 10 different linemen played at least one offensive series.
  • Duke coach David Cutcliffe has an overall head coaching record of 21-9 (.700) in the month of October. Cutcliffe led Ole Miss to a 17-6 record in October and is 4-3 in the month at Duke.
  • Over the past two seasons, the Blue Devils are 3-1 in road games played in October with wins against Vanderbilt (2008), NC State (2009) and Virginia (2009). The lone loss was a 27-0 defeat at Georgia Tech in 2008.

Don't underestimate Wake's defense

September, 5, 2009
9/05/09
2:30
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Posted by ESPN.com’s Heather Dinich


WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. –- Yes, the Wake Forest defense has some questions to answer, but don’t count the Deacs out because they lost some of their best players in school history.

After all, how many programs have a Butkus Award winner on their roster, along with an Alphonso Smith?

What Wake Forest has is a group of redshirt juniors and seniors up front who are disciplined players and know the system? Their biggest question mark might be in the secondary, where they had to replace three of four starters, save for redshirt senior Brandon Ghee.

But this is where Jim Grobe’s redshirting philosophy pays off. Look at the new linebackers –- there is not a freshman or a sophomore in the starting lineup. Jonathan Jones, who is taking over for Aaron Curry, is a redshirt senior. Matt Woodlief in the middle is a redshirt junior, as is weakside linebacker Hunter Haynes. It’s not like these guys are taking their first collegiate snaps.

There’s no question Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin is a special player, and one who will test each unit on Wake’s defense, but if the Demon Deacons play the kind of disciplined football Grobe usually demands, and if they rely on their strength up front, there’s no reason Wake Forest can’t come up with another win over the Big 12.

Deacs head into scrimmage with players emerging

August, 20, 2009
8/20/09
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Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

As Wake Forest heads into its afternoon scrimmage Thursday, it does so with several key issues still lingering before the Sept. 5 Baylor game. If the Demon Deacons get consistency at the following positions, there's no reason they shouldn't be a dark-horse candidate in the Atlantic Division. I got a chance to speak with coach Jim Grobe on Thursday morning and he helped break down which players are starting to emerge at some of the key spots.

BACKUP QUARTERBACK

Like almost everyone else in the ACC, the Deacs don't have any experience behind their starter, and keeping Riley Skinner healthy this fall will be critical. Following the season-ending injury to receiver Terence Davis, backup quarterback candidate Skylar Jones moved to receiver to help that group. Ryan McManus, a former walk-on who has earned a scholarship, is the backup right now.

"The only thing with any of our kids, we've never seen them in live fire against another football team," Grobe said. "They get comfortable going against each other. They know who the defensive guys are. With no fans in the stands, nobody really watching them play, you start getting an idea who you think might be the quarterback, but more than any other position, a quarterback position you've just got to have something special about you."

The third-string quarterback right now is Ted Stachitas, who had shoulder surgery his senior year in high school and a second surgery on it once he got to Wake Forest. He went for about an entire year without throwing a football and looked like it when he made his first throws last spring.

"This fall he's been good," Grobe said. "His arm's healthy, his shoulder feels good now. I wouldn't say he's back to where it used to be, but we liked him in high school as a thrower and a runner and he's starting to throw the ball better and he's pain free. So now he's smiling once in a while."

If they needed to, Grobe would bring Jones back to quarterback. That would give them a different offensive look, though, and the Deacs would add more option to their offense.

One thing is clear: Grobe isn't thinking like NC State coach Tom O'Brien, or Duke coach David Cutcliffe in that he is intent on ushering in the next Wake Forest starting quarterback with playing time this fall.

"He's pretty much it and everybody knows it," Grobe said of Sinner. "It's not a deal where anybody is hopeful of taking snaps away from Riley. He's our guy."

SECONDARY

The upcoming players to watch are on the defense, starting with Mike Williams at corner. He and Josh Bush are splitting reps at the one corner. Brandon Ghee has locked down the other. Grobe will likely play more than one corner and more than one safety, so Kenny Okoro will get some snaps. Bush has also been playing some safety, as the staff isn't necessarily as comfortable at safety, where Alex Fry and Cyhl Quarles are listed as the starters on the preseason depth chart. Junior Petit-Jean can be a good safety, but he'll have an occasional "mental bust."

LINEBACKER

Matt Woodlief and Hunter Haynes are the two players the staff feels most confident in, as they both got significant snaps last year despite being behind a trio of outstanding veterans. One player who has been a pleasant surprise this camp was Jonathan Jones, who is slated to take over for Aaron Curry. At the beginning of August, Jones hadn't showed the durability or consistency the staff was looking for. He started as a wide receiver, moved to the secondary and kept getting bigger, so they moved him again to linebacker.

"He's been pretty physical this August," Grobe said. "He's made quite a few plays. The other day in the scrimmage he probably had as many bonus points as any of the other defensive players. He's just come on a little bit. I think he sees it as his turn. That's been fun."

"The thing we don't have is, we don't have any Aaron Curry in that group," Grobe said. "Of course not too many people have an Aaron Curry. We don't have one of those kind of guys right now, but we do have a bunch of guys like Stan Arnoux and Chantz McClinic, guys we had last year. We've got a lot of good solid players who aren't flashy, maybe not quite the big-play guy Aaron Curry was, but they're good football players, and we've got a handful of guys fighting for spots. Even though we don't have the marquee guy, we've probably got as good a depth as we've ever had at linebacker."

RECEIVER

Grobe wasn't happy with this group last year, and the loss of Davis to a torn ACL earlier this week didn't help, as Davis had a good scrimmage and was starting to come on. Marshall Williams has been the leader of the group, and Grobe has been impressed with his work ethic and toughness.

Another player who's fallen off the radar since playing as a true freshman but has made an impact this spring is Jordan Williams. Devon Brown, who had a bad back last year and wore a brace in all of the games, wasn't as effective because he was hurt last year but has started to contribute more this summer. He and Chris Givens have been playing the slot positions.
Another player who's been in the background that might come to the forefront is Danny Dembry.

"A lot of these guys are OK with being on the back burner," Grobe said. "They're OK with sitting back there on simmer for a while. As they get older, they start seeing their career disappear. Danny's one of those guys that wants to play now. It's important to him, and he's stepped up."

Skylar Jones is one of the faster players on the football team, and could also contribute immediately as long as he learns the position quickly.

KICKER/PUNTER

"I hate to say anything," Grobe said with a laugh. "As soon as I say something good, they'll come out today at the scrimmage and kick like goats."

So far, though, so good.

Cline Beam, a former soccer player, came out in the spring and kicked a bit with the team, and looked average but clearly had a strong leg. He worked all summer, though, and has become a contender this August.

"He has a chance to be our kicker if we started tomorrow," Grobe said. "He's that close. He's got a really good leg. He's kicking off good, he's hitting some long field goals for us, so he looks good."

Freshman Jimmy Newman also shows a lot of promise and is competing with Beam for the kicking duties.

Grobe wants to get back to the days of having a kicker and a punter, instead of depending on one player -- like Sam Swank -- to pull double duty. Their situation this year will likely allow them to do that, with Shane Popham handling the punting. Grobe said he'll take anothe
r week or so to make a final decision.

Scouting Wake Forest

August, 7, 2009
8/07/09
1:00
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Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

Anyone who has counted out Wake Forest coach Jim Grobe in the past should have learned by now that the man can work some magic.

The offense, though, won't need any of that.

It's the defense that's under reconstruction. Defensive coordinator Brad Lambert will spend this summer searching for the players who can replace a pair of All-Americans, the entire linebacking corps and three of four starters in the secondary. Not many teams got hit as hard by the NFL Draft as Wake Forest did (now there's a sentence you once probably never thought you'd read). It's true, though - The Deacs lost Aaron Curry, Stanley Arnoux and safety Chip Vaughn to the NFL. This is the kind of year when Grobe's redshirting pays off, as there are still numerous upperclassmen for Lambert to lean on. The strength of the entire team might be the defensive line, where seniors John Russell and Boo Robinson return.

For the first time in years, though, roles have reversed and Wake's offense will be helping out the defense. Only two starters are gone from the offense, but they were both receivers in D.J. Boldin and Chip Brinkman. Marshall Williams and Devon Brown topped the preseason depth chart as their replacements. Williams is the top returning receiver from a year ago, as he started two games and made 26 catches for 390 yards.

Aside from the return of veteran quarterback Riley Skinner, possibly the best news for Wake is that seven players return to the offensive line who have starting experience. The biggest difference there will be the return of Chris DeGeare, who missed last year for academic reasons.

Another thing that will help is that Grobe has decided on his offensive philosophy. Last year, he said he put too much on Skinner, and then went too run-heavy at Miami. This year, he's looking for a little more balance, and Wake has the speed and talent to make that happen.

Of course, everyone's got issues:

1. Who will plug the holes in the secondary? Cornerbacks Josh Bush and Kenny Okoro both looked impressive this spring while competing for Alphonso Smith's old position. They got a lot of reps with injured starter Brandon Ghee out and began to establish themselves as capable replacements. Ghee will be back this summer, though, and is going to be the leader of that group.

2. Can the Demon Deacons really compete for the Atlantic Division title? Definitely. In fact, because Wake has so much talent returning on offense, it wouldn't surprise me if they had one of the most productive offenses in the conference along with Georgia Tech. Obviously the key is how the defense comes together, but it all starts up front, and Wake's defensive line should be one of the best in the ACC.

3. How long will it take the linebackers to come together? First let's figure out who they are. Jonathan Jones, Matt Woodlief and Hunter Haynes are the players listed at the top of the preseason depth chart, but combined they've started two career games. Realistically, this is a wide-open contest.

Ranking the ACC units: Linebackers

July, 22, 2009
7/22/09
5:03
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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.

SOS in the ACC

May, 26, 2009
5/26/09
9:00
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Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

Each team is going to need a little bit of help this fall (some more than others). Here's a look at where everyone in the ACC needs the most help heading into summer camp:

BOSTON COLLEGE -- Quarterback. It's easily the biggest question mark in Chestnut Hill, and it will also be one of Frank Spaziani's first major decisions as head coach. Regardless of whom he picks -- Dominique Davis, Codi Boek or Justin Tuggle -- experience will be at a minimum.

CLEMSON -- Wide receivers. Somebody needs to help Jacoby Ford, and Aaron Kelly and Tyler Grisham are no longer around to do it. Xavier Dye didn't quite have the consistency he'd hoped for this spring. Marquan Jones and Terrence Ashe could also be factors.

DUKE -- Offensive line. The Blue Devils lost three starters there and moved a fourth (Kyle Hill from left guard to left tackle), so it will have an entirely new look. The one player back in his original position is center Bryan Morgan.

FLORIDA STATE -- Receivers. FSU is waiting until the legal process unfolds to determine the length of Rod Owens' suspension, and it's uncertain how quickly Taiwan Easterling will be cleared to play after an injury to his Achilles. Bert Reed, Louis Givens and Jarmon Fortson will be heavily depended upon.

GEORGIA TECH -- Linemen. The Yellow Jackets have to replace three of four starters on the defensive line, and injuries to Cord Howard, Dan Voss and Nick Claytor slowed the progress on the offensive line this spring.

MARYLAND -- Offensive line. The Terps lost three starters and will have four players in new positions. Phil Costa should be the leader of an otherwise inexperienced group.

MIAMI -- Linebacker depth. There were a few position changes, and Colin McCarthy missed the spring. Sean Spence is proven, but depth remains a concern.

NORTH CAROLINA -- Receivers. This group had to be completely rebuilt, as UNC lost players who accounted for 17 of 21 receiving touchdowns last year. Greg Little had a good spring and should be the leader now, and freshman Joshua Adams benefitted from enrolling early.

NC STATE -- Safety. This is coach Tom O'Brien's biggest concern, and the Pack need Javon Walker, who tore his ACL and missed the spring, back and healthy. Clem Johnson played well last year despite being hindered by several injuries. O'Brien is looking for more from Jimmaul Simmons and Justin Byers.

VIRGINIA -- Linebackers. The backups to Antonio Appleby, Jon Copper and Clint Sintim rarely played, as Al Groh wanted to keep his best players on the field. Darren Childs, Steve Greer, Aaron Taliaferro, Cam Johnson, and Darnell Carter will have to grow up quickly.

VIRGINIA TECH -- Kicker. For the third straight year, Frank Beamer is in search of a new kicker, this time to replace Dustin Keys. Matt Waldron was the leading candidate out of the spring, but the competition is wide open.

WAKE FOREST -- Linebackers. Gone are Aaron Curry, Stanley Arnoux and Chantz McClinic. Introducing Gelo Orange. Yes, that's his name. Orange, along with Hunter Haynes, Jonathan Jones and a host of others have some big shoes to fill.

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