ACC: Jawand Blue

ACC lunchtime links

July, 9, 2014
Jul 9
12:15
PM ET
The way athletes begin working out at such a young age and the advances in sports training and nutrition, football players each year seem to be more physically gifted and impressive than ever before.

Some like to call them physical “freaks,” in a positive way. They’re uniquely talented and possess an athleticism that is rare among their peers.

This week, Bruce Feldman of FoxSports.com has offered his list of college football’s freaks, and several ACC players made the cut. While the ACC is on the wrong end of a lot of jokes, the conference has produced a large number of NFL draft picks and regularly is behind only the SEC in picks annually. With the talent bases in ACC recruiting hotbeds Florida, Georgia and throughout the South, conference schools have some of the country’s most athletic players in their own backyard.

With the genesis of GPS training, which our David Hale reported on last month, programs such as Florida State are now taking those elite physical athletes and helping them reach the next level. It’s no longer about just lifting weights and running sprints; it is a science.

The ACC names to make Feldman’s list:

Louisville WR DeVante Parker: Potentially the No. 1 receiver among 2015 NFL draft boards, Parker stands 6-foot-3 and Feldman lists a wingspan of 80 inches, which means few cornerbacks can compete with him on jump balls. Parker might not be a national name just yet, but under the tutelage of Bobby Petrino, Parker could put up freakish numbers to go along with that athleticism.

Georgia Tech RB Broderick Snoddy: Snoddy has run the 100-meter dash in 10.28 seconds and is a prep sprint champion. The Yellow Jackets are going to need that speed to translate to the field, and that could happen this fall as Snoddy figures to see more carries and has the potential to break a long run any time he touches the ball with his elite set of wheels. His school bio states he is only “likely” the team’s fastest player, but it’s probably a safe bet to give him that full distinction.

Syracuse OT Sean Hickey: If you need any explanation as to why I will point you in the direction of Andrea’s piece on Hickey’s intense training.

Florida State CBs Ronald Darby and P.J. Williams: It’s funny because on Twitter recently I was asked about who is better between Darby and Williams. I didn’t answer then and I won’t answer now, other than to say those two are projected to be among the first two cornerbacks taken in next year’s draft. The two lock down receivers, and they locked down the freak distinction at cornerback.

Miami CB Artie Burns: He is an elite sprinter and is hoping to qualify for the 2016 Olympics. He holds several prep sprinting records. On the football field, Burns was a solid returner and cornerback as a freshman and was a top 10 cornerback coming out of high school.

Here are a few other links to help you through the day:
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Miami linebackers Alex Figueroa and JaWand Blue were dismissed from the team Tuesday following their arrest on sexual battery charges.

Both players are accused of having sex with a "physically helpless" 17-year-old girl. According to the police report, both admitted to performing sexual acts on the victim without her consent.

Here are the statements issued from Miami officials:

School president Donna E. Shalala:

“The safety and welfare of our students is fundamental to our mission as a university. We have zero tolerance for sexual assault and gender-based violence. There is no confusion about our responsibility as a university: We will fully and compassionately support the victim of sexual assault. I have spoken to her myself and reassured her of our full support. We have suspended the men involved, and they have been barred from campus. Our athletic director has taken firm action ending their involvement in the football program. We have notified the individuals involved that the university is beginning an investigation immediately, which we expect to conclude quickly and fairly. We will also continue to cooperate with the police in their ongoing criminal investigation.”

Athletic director Blake James:

"Earlier today, I permanently dismissed JaWand Blue and Alexander Figueroa from the UM football team. The University has also suspended the students from school and barred them from all campus facilities while the University conducts an internal investigation and continues to cooperate with local law enforcement. Any allegation of a sexual assault is extremely serious, and the University will not tolerate conduct that threatens the sanctity and safety of our students and our campus. We hold all of our students – especially student athletes – to the highest standards of moral conduct. The University is committed to maintaining a safe campus environment for all."

Miami spring wrap

April, 29, 2014
Apr 29
8:00
AM ET
Three things we learned in the spring about the Miami Hurricanes:

1. Dallas Crawford will help on D. Miami surprised many when it decided to move Crawford from running back to safety. But the switch should end up benefiting both the Canes' D and Crawford in the long-term. Initially recruited to play safety, Crawford made himself at home in the defensive backfield and impressed coaches. He was named most improved player on defense for the spring.

2. Bulked-up Duke Johnson. While Johnson was held out of contact drills as he rehabbed a broken ankle, he did participate on a limited basis this spring. But bigger than that was the way he transformed his body. Johnson put on 10 pounds and is now up to 205. The hope is that more weight translates into better durability. Miami will need to rely on him more than ever in 2014.

3. Depth at linebacker. Coach Al Golden said one of the biggest accomplishments his team made this spring was building depth at linebacker. Miami hopes to count on all-ACC performer Denzel Perryman (now in the middle), along with Alex Figueroa, Raphael Kirby, Thurston Armbrister, Jermaine Grace, JaWand Blue and early enrollee freshmen Juwon Young and Darrion Owens.

Three questions for the fall:

1. Who will cut it at QB? Miami caught a tough break when projected starting quarterback Ryan Williams tore his ACL during a scrimmage and underwent surgery. Though there is some hope Williams could return before the season ends, Miami has to prepare Kevin Olsen and Gray Crow for the starting job. Olsen, the favorite to win the starting job, did not impress in the spring game. Neither did Crow.

2. Improvement on D? Coaches insisted this spring that they saw a better, more cohesive defensive unit, one in which leaders emerged in Perryman and Tracy Howard, among others. Will the progress coaches saw in the spring translate into more consistent performances during the season? Chief on the list of improvements is a better four-man rush and improving on third downs.

3. Pass rush. Speaking of pass rush, Miami was pleased with what it saw out of hybrid rush ends Al-Quadin Muhammad and Tyriq McCord this spring. Their emergence will be a huge key toward improving the Hurricanes’ pass rush. Ufomba Kamalu and Jelani Hamilton also started playing better as the spring went on, so Miami feels better about its depth across the line headed into the fall.

One way-too-early prediction:

Miami will take a step back this year. The Hurricanes go into the season with question marks at quarterback and continued questions on defense. Couple that with a difficult schedule -- featuring perhaps the most difficult crossover games in the ACC against Florida State, Louisville – and it will be tough for the Canes to match their nine-win total from last season.

Weekend rewind: Scrimmage reports

August, 13, 2012
8/13/12
10:00
AM ET
Not every school in the ACC gives scrimmage reports, but for those that do, I'll gladly post the highlights. Here's a look back at what happened in the ACC this weekend, according to each school's report:

BOSTON COLLEGE

Offensive highlights: Quarterback Chase Rettig completed 6 of 10 passes for 51 yards and a touchdown -- a 15-yard pass to running back Rolandan Finch, who also had eight carries for 37 yards. Freshman Harrison Jackson led the receivers with five receptions for 50 yards.

Defensive highlights: Defensive end Brian Mihalik had two tackles for a loss of 10 yards, including a sack. Senior captain Jim Noel had the lone interception.

Special-teams highlights: Kicker Nate Freese made all three of his field-goal attempts -- 30, 35 and 25 yards.

Quotable: “It was a good start, good first series and then it tailed off,” coach Frank Spaziani said. “We got soft and had some execution issues, but in general the scrimmage gives us a good idea where we’re at right and we’ll look to improve for the next one.”

CLEMSON

Offensive highlights: Sophomore receiver Charone Peake caught three passes for 64 yards and two touchdowns -- one a six-yarder from Cole Stoudt, the other 37 yards from Morgan Roberts. (Six quarterbacks got reps.) Jaron Brown caught the other touchdown pass of the scrimmage, a 56-yarder from first-team quarterback Tajh Boyd. Sammy Watkins had two receptions for 35 yards, the first two completions on the first drive of the scrimmage from Boyd. Boyd finished 5-for-10 for 105 yards and a touchdown with one interception. He also had a 32-yard rushing touchdown. Rod McDowell was the top rusher with nine attempts for 46 yards. Clemson’s running backs tallied 109 yards on 22 carries on the day, nearly a 5.0 average per carry. Andre Ellington played sparingly to give the other young backs some experience.

Defensive highlights: Xavier Brewer had seven tackles, a sack and a pass breakup. Kellen Jones, a transfer from Oklahoma who is not eligible this season, added six tackles, including two for loss, while Jonathan Meeks had five tackles. Tig Willard had three tackles and one of his two pass deflections led to an interception.

Special-teams highlights: Spencer Benton made a 55-yard field goal. Chandler Catanzaro made three of his four attempts, from 36, 39 and 41 yards.

Quotable: “It was a good first scrimmage,” said coach Dabo Swinney. “We made some mistakes, but they are correctable. I thought the defense played well. We saw a lot of activity around the ball. Xavier Brewer had a good scrimmage, as did Lateek Townsend. He was involved in three sacks and that was big.

“We have made good progress this first week. There is still much to do, but I like the attitude of this team. They come to work. They go about their business.”

MIAMI

Offensive highlights: Mike James rushed for a team-high 137 yards on 13 carries with three touchdowns, including a 51-yard burst down the sideline. Duke Johnson had 49 yards on nine carries and four touchdowns -- three rushing and one receiving. He took a screen pass from Stephen Morris 37 yards for a score.

Morris and Ryan Williams showed good footwork to elude pressure in the pocket and scramble for yards when needed. Morris completed 24 of 36 passes for 193 yards with four touchdowns, with one interception. Williams threw for 121 yards and three scores on 12-of-17 passing.

Johnson led all receivers with 44 yards. Malcolm Lewis caught three passes for 42 yards, while Kendal Thompkins hauled in a team-best five catches for 22 yards.

Defensive highlights: A.J. Highsmith had a team-high nine tackles, while Tyrone Cornileus, Tracy Howard and Ramon Buchanan all recorded seven tackles apiece. Anthony Chickillo, JaWand Blue and Cornileus each recorded a sack.

Quotable: “We’ve been saying it all camp: Mike [James] looks quicker,” coach Al Golden said. “He has always been strong but now he looks healthy.

“[Duke Johnson] found [the end zone] a couple of times today. He has a low center of gravity and a knack for diving and finding the end zone.”

ACC's lunchtime links

March, 5, 2012
3/05/12
12:00
PM ET
Heard there's a tournament this weekend ... who ya got?

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