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12:00
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Hope and concern: Clemson

May, 26, 2011
5/26/11
3:30
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The hope and concern series continues today with Clemson:

Biggest reason for hope: Defensive talent

Although only five starters return from last year’s stingy defense, there is plenty of talent returning and Clemson has also lured in some of the nation’s top defensive prospects in its 2011 recruiting class. Defensive coordinator Kevin Steele is one of the underrated assistants in the ACC, and his group should be even better now that they’re entering the third season in his system. Despite the departures of Da’Quan Bowers and Jarvis Jenkins on the defensive line, Andre Branch and Brandon Thompson are veterans. The addition of true freshmen linebackers Tony Steward and Stephone Anthony should give that position group a boost.

Biggest reason for concern: Offensive overhaul

The Tigers have a first-year starting quarterback in Tajh Boyd, a new offensive coordinator in Chad Morris, a new offensive line coach in Robbie Caldwell and an entirely new offensive scheme and philosophy to work with. The key to Clemson’s entire season rests on how quickly the players can adapt to the changes. The schedule doesn’t allow much room for error, as the Tigers will face defending national champion Auburn in Week 3, followed by back-to-back games against defending division champs Florida State and Virginia Tech. On second thought, maybe the schedule is the biggest reason for concern …

More in this series:

Clemson spring wrap

May, 5, 2011
5/05/11
11:00
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2010 overall record: 6-7

2010 conference record: 4-4

Returning starters

Offense: 8, defense: 5, punter/kicker: 2

Top returners

WR DeAndre Hopkins, RT Landon Walker, DE Andre Branch, DT Brandon Thompson, P Dawson Zimmerman, RB Andre Ellington, WR Jaron Brown, C Dalton Freeman, OG Antoine McClain, TE Dwayne Allen, MLB Corico Hawkins, S Rashard Hall

Key losses

DE Da’Quan Bowers, DT Jarvis Jenkins, FS DeAndre McDaniel, CB Marcus Gilchrist, RB Jamie Harper, QB Kyle Parker, LT Chris Hairston

2010 statistical leaders (* returners)

Rushing: Harper (760 yards)

Passing: Kyle Parker (2,213 yds)

Receiving: Hopkins* (637 yds)

Tackles: McDaniel (84)

Sacks: Bowers (15.5)

Interceptions: McDaniel (4)

Spring answers

1. Cole Stoudt is the backup quarterback. Until true freshmen Stoudt and Tony McNeal enrolled in January and arrived on campus, Tajh Boyd was the only scholarship quarterback on the roster. With Boyd the undisputed starter, the main competition was for his backup. Stoudt won the job over McNeal, who also played well and is a good runner, but Stoudt had the stronger arm.

2. Phillip Price will replace Chris Hairston at left tackle. The Tigers have four starters returning on the offensive line but big shoes to fill at left tackle, where Hairston was a three-year starter. Price, who joined the team as a walk-on tight end and moved to offensive line last year, beat Brandon Thomas for the job.

3. Players bought into the system. First-year offensive coordinator Chad Morris brought an up-tempo offense from Tulsa that is similar to what Auburn runs, and the players not only embraced it, they had fun with it this spring. Whether or not they can execute it on Saturdays? See below …

Fall questions

1. Execution of the offense. With a brand new scheme, a first-year starting quarterback and new offensive coordinator, the entire offense is a question mark heading into the fall. The Tigers also lost their leading rusher in Jamie Harper, who decided to leave early for a shot at the NFL. Can the Tigers get it together quickly enough to be a contender in the Atlantic Division again?

2. Will there be enough pressure on quarterbacks? With the departure of Bowers and his 15.5 sacks -- not to mention and 21 quarterback pressures -- the Tigers will have a lot of ground to make up. Bowers was a big reason Clemson was in top 20 in the nation in both scoring defense and total defense last year. With him gone, who’s going to step up and get after the quarterbacks? Malliciah Goodman and Andre Branch are expected to.

3. Will the Tigers find consistency in the kicking game? Clemson lost five games by a touchdown or less last year, including the overtime loss to Auburn, which slipped away with a missed field goal in overtime. Will Chandler Catanzaro pick up where he left off at the end of last season and show some consistency? He made six of his final seven field goals last year, but he also started slow this spring before finishing strong.

Clemson NFL draft notes

May, 2, 2011
5/02/11
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Clemson had a total of six players drafted, tied for the third-most selections in a draft in Clemson history, and tied for fifth-most in the nation this year. Here are a few notes from Clemson's sports information department:
  • Four of Clemson’s six selections were defensive players. It is tied for the second-most defensive players in one draft from Clemson in school history. Clemson had a school-record six defensive players taken in the 1999 NFL draft.
  • Clemson was the only school in the nation to have three defensive players taken in the top 51 selections of the draft. It was the first time in school history that has happened.
  • Five of the six selections came over the first four rounds and it marks just the second time Clemson has had five players taken in the first four rounds. The only other time was at the 1991 draft.
  • Chris Hairston was taken in the fourth round by the Buffalo Bills, the second year in a row the Bills have taken a player from Clemson. Last year, the Bills took C.J. Spiller in the first round with the ninth overall pick. Prior to last season the Bills had not taken a player from Clemson since 1982 (Perry Tuttle).
  • Jamie Harper also went in the fourth round to the Tennessee Titans. Harper is just the second Clemson player taken by Tennessee since 1989. Keith Adams (2001) was the only other Tiger taken by the Tigers in the past 22 years.
  • With Harper’s selection, Clemson has had a running back drafted in each of the past three years. James Davis was drafted by Cleveland in 2009 and Spiller was taken by Buffalo last year.
  • Ten members of Clemson’s 2008 defense have now been drafted. Dorell Scott, Mike Hamlin and Chris Clemons were drafted in April of 2009, Ricky Sapp, Crezdon Butler and Kavell Conner were taken in 2010 and Jarvis Jenkins, Marcus Gilchrist, Da'Quan Bowers, and Byron Maxwell were all taken this year. Freshmen on that team could be drafted next year and could add to that total.

NFL draft rewind: ACC basics

May, 2, 2011
5/02/11
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ACC Players Taken in the NFL Draft

1 12 Christian Ponder, Florida State, QB Vikings
1 14 Robert Quinn, North Carolina, DE Rams
1 22 Anthony Castonzo, Boston College, T Colts
2 33 Ras-I Dowling, Virginia, CB Patriots
2 38 Ryan Williams, Virginia Tech, RB Cardinals
2 40 Bruce Carter, North Carolina, LB Cowboys
2 41 Jarvis Jenkins, Clemson, DT Redskins
2 46 Orlando Franklin, Miami, OL Broncos
2 50 Marcus Gilchrist, Clemson, CB Chargers
2 51 Da’ Quan Bowers, Clemson, DE Buccaneers
2 52 Marvin Austin, North Carolina, DT Giants
2 55 Rodney Hudson, Florida State, C-G Chiefs
2 58 Torrey Smith, Maryland, WR Ravens
2 59 Greg Little, North Carolina, WR Browns
2 60 Brandon Harris, Miami, CB Texans
3 67 Nate Irving, NC State, LB Broncos
3 79 Leonard Hankerson, Miami, WR Redskins
3 81 DeMarcus Van Dyke, Miami, CB Raiders
3 86 Allen Bailey, Miami, DE Chiefs
4 100 Da’Norris Searcy, North Carolina, S Bills
4 109 Colin McCarthy, Miami, ILB Titans
4 122 Chris Hairston, Clemson, T Bills
4 127 Rashad Carmichael, Virginia Tech, CB Texans
4 130 Jamie Harper, Clemson, RB Titans
5 133 Johnny White, North Carolina, RB Bills
5 152 T.J. Yates, North Carolina, QB Texans
6 171 Quan Sturdivant, North Carolina, LB Cardinals
6 173 Byron Maxwell, Clemson, DB Seahawks
6 180 Tyrod Taylor, Virginia Tech, QB Ravens
6 181 Richard Gordon, Miami, TE Raiders
6 192 Matt Bosher, Miami, P-PK Falcons
7 218 Ryan Taylor, North Carolina, TE Cowboys
7 221 Da’Rel Scott, Maryland, RB Giants
7 224 Markus White, Florida State, DE Redskins
7 225 Anthony Allen, Georgia Tech, RB Ravens

ACC Selections by Rounds

First 3
Second 12
Third 4
Fourth 5
Fifth 2
Sixth 5
Seventh 4

ACC Selections by Teams

North Carolina 9
Miami 8
Clemson 6
Florida State 3
Virginia Tech 3
Maryland 2
Boston College 1
Georgia Tech 1
NC State 1
Virginia 1

Da'Quan Bowers says knee is '100 percent'

April, 1, 2011
4/01/11
1:35
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From Clemson's sports information department:

Former Clemson defensive end Da’Quan Bowers auditioned for NFL teams for about two hours on Friday morning, showcasing his skills in both the weight room and on the field in Memorial Stadium.

Bowers ran the 40-yard dash three times and also did a three-cone drill and various other agility drills that are designed to evaluate linemen. Former teammates Miguel Chavis, Jamie Cumbie and Jarvis Jenkins also worked out on Friday for the scouts.

A total of 41 people affiliated with NFL teams were in attendance on Friday. The list included one general manager, one head coach, three player personnel directors, one defensive coordinator, four defensive line coaches and 31 scouts. Twenty-four of the 32 NFL teams were represented. The Atlanta Falcons had the biggest contingent with six people, while the Arizona Cardinals had five.

“It was a good day," Bowers said, according to a release. "I could have done better with my 40-time, but I am about a month behind because of the knee surgery I had in January. I thought I did well in the drills. My knee feels 100 percent."

Bowers has been invited to the NFL draft in New York in late April, but has not decided if he will attend.

“This is a big thing for my hometown (Bamberg, SC) and for my family. I have thought about sharing it with them in Bamberg. I will make a decision the week of the draft.”

Bowers said he enjoyed one last workout in Death Valley.

“I am very glad that I got to do this workout in Death Valley. We thought about doing it on the practice field, but I wanted to do it in the stadium. It was great to be here one last time. It felt like home.”

Revised top 25 countdown: No. 1

March, 21, 2011
3/21/11
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No. 1. Tyrod Taylor, QB, Virginia Tech

Tyrod Taylor
AP Photo/John BazemoreVirginia Tech quarterback Tyrod Taylor was the ACC Player of the Year.
2010 numbers:He led the ACC and was No. 13 in the nation in passing efficiency with 154.8, was fourth in the league in total offense at 243 yards per game, and fifth in passing average per game at 195.9. He completed 59.7 percent of his passes for 2,743 yards, 24 touchdowns and just five interceptions. He also ran for 659 yards and five touchdowns.

Previous ranking: No. 17

Making the case for Taylor:It should come as no surprise that the ACC's Player of the Year landed the No. 1 spot. Not only did he throw the fewest interceptions and gain more rushing yards than any quarterback in the ACC, he was also invaluable as the leader of the team that became the first to go undefeated in conference play since Florida State in 2000. Taylor led the Hokies to the ACC championship game and had one of his best performances of the season in the win over Florida State. His trademark scrambles will be missed this year and impossible to duplicate, and what made him special this year was his improvement in the passing game. Taylor set school records in 2010 for career total offense, career passing yards, career rushing yards by a quarterback, career wins by a starting quarterback, career rushing touchdowns by a quarterback and touchdown passes in a season. Virginia Tech was once again No. 1 in the ACC, and couldn't have done it without this No. 1.

The countdown:

No. 2 Da'Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson
No. 3 Rodney Hudson, OG, Florida State

No. 4 Luke Kuechly, LB, Boston College

No. 5 Anthony Castonzo, OT, Boston College

No. 6 Russell Wilson, QB, NC State

No. 7 Jayron Hosley, CB, Virginia Tech

No. 8 Leonard Hankerson, WR, Miami

No. 9 Nate Irving, LB, NC State

No. 10 Greg Reid, CB, Florida State

No. 11 Torrey Smith, WR, Maryland

No. 12 Brandon Jenkins, DE, Florida State

No. 13 Quinton Coples, DT, North Carolina

No. 14 Kenny Tate, S, Maryland

No. 15 DeAndre McDaniel, S, Clemson

No. 16 Chase Minnifield, CB, Virginia

No. 17 Montel Harris, RB, Boston College

No. 18 T.J. Yates, QB, North Carolina

No. 19 Alex Wujciak, LB, Maryland

No. 20 Jarvis Jenkins, DT, Clemson

No. 21 Chris Hairston, OT, Clemson

No. 22 Anthony Allen, RB, Georgia Tech

No. 23 Brandon Washington, OL, Miami

No. 24 George Bryan, TE, NC State

No. 25 Conner Vernon, WR, Duke

Revised top 25 countdown: No. 2

March, 18, 2011
3/18/11
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No. 2. Da’Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson

[+] EnlargeDa'Quan Bowers
Kevin C. Cox/Getty ImagesDa'Quan Bowers was the ACC Defensive Player of the Year.
2010 numbers: He led the nation and the ACC with 15.5 sacks, and he led the ACC and was second in the country with 26 tackles for loss. He also had 20 quarterback pressures, two pass breakups, one interception, one forced fumble, and was second on the team with 74 tackles.

Previous ranking: Not ranked.

Making the case for Bowers: There's a reason Bowers wasn't on this list in the preseason. He had yet to live up to the hype he drew in 2008 as the nation's No. 1 recruit. That changed last year, when Bowers had a breakout season that led many to believe he could be the No. 1 overall pick in this year's NFL draft. That's because he was so disruptive in the passing game, he tackled well and was quick to get into opponents' backfields. He tossed blockers aside and also escaped double-teams. He won the Bronko Nagurski and Hendricks Awards, and was named ACC Defensive Player of the Year. Had Clemson fared better as a team, Bowers probably would have been No. 1 on this list.

The countdown:

No. 3 Rodney Hudson, OG, Florida State

No. 4 Luke Kuechly, LB, Boston College

No. 5 Anthony Castonzo, OT, Boston College

No. 6 Russell Wilson, QB, NC State

No. 7 Jayron Hosley, CB, Virginia Tech

No. 8 Leonard Hankerson, WR, Miami

No. 9 Nate Irving, LB, NC State

No. 10 Greg Reid, CB, Florida State

No. 11 Torrey Smith, WR, Maryland

No. 12 Brandon Jenkins, DE, Florida State

No. 13 Quinton Coples, DT, North Carolina

No. 14 Kenny Tate, S, Maryland

No. 15 DeAndre McDaniel, S, Clemson

No. 16 Chase Minnifield, CB, Virginia

No. 17 Montel Harris, RB, Boston College

No. 18 T.J. Yates, QB, North Carolina

No. 19 Alex Wujciak, LB, Maryland

No. 20 Jarvis Jenkins, DT, Clemson

No. 21 Chris Hairston, OT, Clemson

No. 22 Anthony Allen, RB, Georgia Tech

No. 23 Brandon Washington, OL, Miami

No. 24 George Bryan, TE, NC State

No. 25 Conner Vernon, WR, Duke

Revised top 25 countdown: No. 3

March, 17, 2011
3/17/11
10:30
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No. 3. Rodney Hudson, OG, Florida State

[+] EnlargeFlorida State offensive linesman Rodney Hudson
Chuck Cook/US PresswireFlorida State offensive linesman Rodney Hudson didn't allow a single sack last season.
2010 numbers: He started all 14 games at left guard, where he played 904 snaps and posted a team-leading grade of 88 percent. He also led the team with 48 knockdown blocks. He was penalized once all season and missed only four assignments. He was the lone Seminole lineman to not relinquish a sack.

Previous ranking: No. 9

Making the case for Hudson: He’s the most decorated offensive lineman in ACC history. He posted his highest grade -- 97 percent -- when it mattered most, in the ACC championship game against Virginia Tech. He was also a major reason why the Noles were able to rush for 218 yards against the SEC’s top rushing defense.

The countdown:

No. 4 Luke Kuechly, LB, Boston College

No. 5 Anthony Castonzo, OT, Boston College
No. 6 Russell Wilson, QB, NC State

No. 7 Jayron Hosley, CB, Virginia Tech

No. 8 Leonard Hankerson, WR, Miami

No. 9 Nate Irving, LB, NC State

No. 10 Greg Reid, CB, Florida State

No. 11 Torrey Smith, WR, Maryland

No. 12 Brandon Jenkins, DE, Florida State

No. 13 Quinton Coples, DT, North Carolina

No. 14 Kenny Tate, S, Maryland

No. 15 DeAndre McDaniel, S, Clemson

No. 16 Chase Minnifield, CB, Virginia

No. 17 Montel Harris, RB, Boston College

No. 18 T.J. Yates, QB, North Carolina

No. 19 Alex Wujciak, LB, Maryland

No. 20 Jarvis Jenkins, DT, Clemson

No. 21 Chris Hairston, OT, Clemson

No. 22 Anthony Allen, RB, Georgia Tech

No. 23 Brandon Washington, OL, Miami

No. 24 George Bryan, TE, NC State

No. 25 Conner Vernon, WR, Duke

Revised top 25 countdown: No. 4

March, 16, 2011
3/16/11
2:00
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No. 4. Luke Kuechly, LB, Boston College

2010 numbers: He led the nation and his team in total tackles with 183 (14.08 per game) and solo tackles (110). He also had three interceptions, three fumble recoveries, two forced fumbles, 10.5 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks.

[+] EnlargeLuke Kuechly
Jason O. Watson/US PresswireLinebacker Luke Kuechly led the nation with 183 tackles.
Previous ranking: No. 14

Making the case for Kuechly: He is literally one of the best in the country. Kuechly earned unanimous All-America honors as a sophomore. He was all over the field in the bowl game against Nevada with 12 tackles and a key interception. Kuechly now has had 22 consecutive games in double figures in tackling, with 341 hits in a 26-game collegiate career, and is the NCAA’s leading active career tackler averaging 13.1 per game.

The countdown:

No. 5 Anthony Castonzo, OT, Boston College

No. 6 Russell Wilson, QB, NC State

No. 7 Jayron Hosley, CB, Virginia Tech

No. 8 Leonard Hankerson, WR, Miami

No. 9 Nate Irving, LB, NC State

No. 10 Greg Reid, CB, Florida State

No. 11 Torrey Smith, WR, Maryland

No. 12 Brandon Jenkins, DE, Florida State

No. 13 Quinton Coples, DT, North Carolina

No. 14 Kenny Tate, S, Maryland

No. 15 DeAndre McDaniel, S, Clemson

No. 16 Chase Minnifield, CB, Virginia

No. 17 Montel Harris, RB, Boston College

No. 18 T.J. Yates, QB, North Carolina

No. 19 Alex Wujciak, LB, Maryland

No. 20 Jarvis Jenkins, DT, Clemson

No. 21 Chris Hairston, OT, Clemson

No. 22 Anthony Allen, RB, Georgia Tech

No. 23 Brandon Washington, OL, Miami

No. 24 George Bryan, TE, NC State

No. 25 Conner Vernon, WR, Duke

Revised top 25 countdown: No. 5

March, 15, 2011
3/15/11
2:00
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No. 5. Anthony Castonzo, OT, Boston College

[+] EnlargeAnthony Castonzo
Jason O. Watson/US PresswireAnthony Castonzo has been the rock of the Boston College offensive line since arriving on campus.
2010 numbers: He started all 13 games and was the Eagles' most productive offensive lineman in eight of the 13 games. He gave up only one sack this past season and missed seven assignments. He had 40 knockdowns and consistently graded out as the highest on the offensive line. He had only two penalties in 820 plays.

Previous ranking: No. 10

Making the case for Castonzo: He's a smart, disciplined, durable player who was the anchor on the line that paved the way for the ACC's leading rusher, Montel Harris. Castonzo's 54 starts were the most of any current ACC player, and he started every game since arriving on campus in 2007. He was an all-conference selection as both a player and a student. Most importantly, he's a biochemistry major who hopes to conduct cancer research someday. All that and NFL potential. No doubt one of the ACC's top five.

The countdown:

No. 6 Russell Wilson, QB, NC State

No. 7 Jayron Hosley, CB, Virginia Tech

No. 8 Leonard Hankerson, WR, Miami

No. 9 Nate Irving, LB, NC State

No. 10 Greg Reid, CB, Florida State

No. 11 Torrey Smith, WR, Maryland

No. 12 Brandon Jenkins, DE, Florida State

No. 13 Quinton Coples, DT, North Carolina

No. 14 Kenny Tate, S, Maryland

No. 15 DeAndre McDaniel, S, Clemson

No. 16 Chase Minnifield, CB, Virginia

No. 17 Montel Harris, RB, Boston College

No. 18 T.J. Yates, QB, North Carolina

No. 19 Alex Wujciak, LB, Maryland

No. 20 Jarvis Jenkins, DT, Clemson

No. 21 Chris Hairston, OT, Clemson

No. 22 Anthony Allen, RB, Georgia Tech

No. 23 Brandon Washington, OL, Miami

No. 24 George Bryan, TE, NC State

No. 25 Conner Vernon, WR, Duke

Revised top 25 countdown: No. 6

March, 14, 2011
3/14/11
9:00
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No. 6. Russell Wilson, QB, NC State

[+] EnlargeRussell Wilson
Mitch Stringer/US PresswireThe Wolfpack's Russell Wilson led the ACC with 3,563 passing yards this past season.
2010 numbers: He led the ACC in passing average per game with 274.1. He was fifth in passing efficiency (127.5), and completed 58.4 percent of his passes for a league-high 3,563 yards and 28 touchdowns.

Previous ranking: No. 7

Making the case for Wilson: He’s a record-setter, a phenomenal two-sport athlete, and the best quarterback the program has seen since Philip Rivers. In 2010, Wilson ranked among the top 15 in the country in passing, passing yards per game and total passing yards. Wilson tied Rivers for the single-season record in touchdown responsibility with 37, while his 3,563 passing yards and 308 completions rank as the second-highest marks in school history. His 527 pass attempts for the season set a new school record, and his 3,998 yards of total offense is the second-highest ever for an NC State player.

The countdown:

No. 7 Jayron Hosley, CB, Virginia Tech

No. 8 Leonard Hankerson, WR, Miami

No. 9 Nate Irving, LB, NC State

No. 10 Greg Reid, CB, Florida State

No. 11 Torrey Smith, WR, Maryland

No. 12 Brandon Jenkins, DE, Florida State

No. 13 Quinton Coples, DT, North Carolina

No. 14 Kenny Tate, S, Maryland

No. 15 DeAndre McDaniel, S, Clemson

No. 16 Chase Minnifield, CB, Virginia

No. 17 Montel Harris, RB, Boston College

No. 18 T.J. Yates, QB, North Carolina

No. 19 Alex Wujciak, LB, Maryland

No. 20 Jarvis Jenkins, DT, Clemson

No. 21 Chris Hairston, OT, Clemson

No. 22 Anthony Allen, RB, Georgia Tech

No. 23 Brandon Washington, OL, Miami

No. 24 George Bryan, TE, NC State

No. 25 Conner Vernon, WR, Duke

Revised top 25 countdown: No. 7

March, 11, 2011
3/11/11
5:00
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No. 7. Jayron Hosley, CB, Virginia Tech

[+] EnlargeVirginia Tech cornerback Jayron Hosley
AP Photo/Steve HelberVirginia Tech cornerback Jayron Hosley had a league-high 17 passes defended last season.
2010 numbers: He led the team, the country and the ACC with nine interceptions for 110 yards, and eight pass breakups and a league-high 17 passes defended (fifth in the country). He was second in the ACC in punt return average. He had 19 punt returns for 239 yards (12.6) and a touchdown, and nine kick returns for 190 yards (21.1). He started all 13 games and had 39 tackles.

Previous ranking: Not ranked.

Making the case for Hosley: He was the top player at the field corner position on the team that went undefeated in ACC play. He was a first-team all-conference selection, and as his stats indicate, he was also one of the best players in the country. He made game-changing plays as a corner and return man, and is also a solid tackler. Some of his best plays came in clutch situations.

The countdown:

No. 8 Leonard Hankerson, WR, Miami

No. 9 Nate Irving, LB, NC State

No. 10 Greg Reid, CB, Florida State

No. 11 Torrey Smith, WR, Maryland

No. 12 Brandon Jenkins, DE, Florida State

No. 13 Quinton Coples, DT, North Carolina

No. 14 Kenny Tate, S, Maryland

No. 15 DeAndre McDaniel, S, Clemson

No. 16 Chase Minnifield, CB, Virginia

No. 17 Montel Harris, RB, Boston College

No. 18 T.J. Yates, QB, North Carolina

No. 19 Alex Wujciak, LB, Maryland

No. 20 Jarvis Jenkins, DT, Clemson

No. 21 Chris Hairston, OT, Clemson

No. 22 Anthony Allen, RB, Georgia Tech

No. 23 Brandon Washington, OL, Miami

No. 24 George Bryan, TE, NC State

No. 25 Conner Vernon, WR, Duke

Revised top 25 countdown: No. 8

March, 10, 2011
3/10/11
2:00
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No. 8. Leonard Hankerson, WR, Miami

2010 numbers: He caught 72 passes for 1,156 yards and 13 touchdowns. He averaged 88.9 receiving yards per game.

[+] EnlargeLeonard Hankerson
AP Photo/Lynne SladkLeonard Hankerson had one of the most productive seasons ever for a wideout at Miami.
Previous ranking: Not ranked.

Making the case for Hankerson: Hankerson is coming off one of, if not the most productive season for a wide receiver in school history. His 12 touchdown catches this season is a Miami record, breaking Michael Irvin's mark of 11 set in 1986. In the Hurricanes' regular-season finale, Hankerson became just the third player in program history to record a 1,000-yard receiving season and the first to have 2,000 yards for a career and 1,000 yards in a season.

The countdown:

No. 9 Nate Irving, LB, NC State


No. 10 Greg Reid, CB, Florida State


No. 11 Torrey Smith, WR, Maryland

No. 12 Brandon Jenkins, DE, Florida State

No. 13 Quinton Coples, DT, North Carolina

No. 14 Kenny Tate, S, Maryland

No. 15 DeAndre McDaniel, S, Clemson

No. 16 Chase Minnifield, CB, Virginia

No. 17 Montel Harris, RB, Boston College

No. 18 T.J. Yates, QB, North Carolina

No. 19 Alex Wujciak, LB, Maryland

No. 20 Jarvis Jenkins, DT, Clemson

No. 21 Chris Hairston, OT, Clemson

No. 22 Anthony Allen, RB, Georgia Tech

No. 23 Brandon Washington, OL, Miami

No. 24 George Bryan, TE, NC State

No. 25 Conner Vernon, WR, Duke

Revised top 25 countdown: No. 9

March, 9, 2011
3/09/11
9:00
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No. 9. Nate Irving, LB, NC State

[+] EnlargeNate Irving
Douglas Jones/US PresswireLinebacker Nate Irving, left, was a playmaker for the Wolfpack last season.
2010 numbers: He set a memorable FBS record of eight tackles for loss against Wake Forest. He led the team with 97 tackles, including 20.5 tackles for loss (second in the ACC) and 6.5 sacks. He also had seven quarterback pressures, three pass breakups, three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.

Previous ranking: Not ranked.

Making the case for Irving: After suffering serious injuries in a car crash that sidelined him for the entire 2009 season, Irving made a remarkable comeback last season. There’s no question he has made an impact during his career, as NC State was 18-8 with him in the lineup. He made game-changing plays like the fumble recovery that sealed the win against FSU, and he was a team captain and leader.

The countdown:

No. 10 Greg Reid, CB, Florida State

No. 11 Torrey Smith, WR, Maryland

No. 12 Brandon Jenkins, DE, Florida State

No. 13 Quinton Coples, DT, North Carolina

No. 14 Kenny Tate, S, Maryland

No. 15 DeAndre McDaniel, S, Clemson

No. 16 Chase Minnifield, CB, Virginia

No. 17 Montel Harris, RB, Boston College

No. 18 T.J. Yates, QB, North Carolina

No. 19 Alex Wujciak, LB, Maryland

No. 20 Jarvis Jenkins, DT, Clemson

No. 21 Chris Hairston, OT, Clemson

No. 22 Anthony Allen, RB, Georgia Tech

No. 23 Brandon Washington, OL, Miami

No. 24 George Bryan, TE, NC State

No. 25 Conner Vernon, WR, Duke

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