ACC: Jimmy Graham

This has been a terrific postseason for former ACC receivers in the NFL playoffs. According to the ACC office, six of the top eight receivers in the playoffs came from the ACC, and they have accounted for 19 of 39 touchdown passes caught, and nine of the 15 100-yard receiving games.

Here's a more in-depth breakdown for you from the ACC office:
Through the NFL’s first 10 playoff games, receivers who have played collegiately at current ACC schools have accounted for 48.7 percent of all of the passing touchdowns thrown, 34 percent of the passing yardage and 25.5 percent of the pass completions.

In all, 15 former ACC players have totaled 113 catches for 1,899 yards and 19 touchdowns in the 10 NFL playoff games to date. They have averaged an eye-opening 16.8 yards per catch. By comparison, the non-ACC receivers in those games averaged just 11.2 yards per catch.

Of the top eight receivers in terms of yardage in the NFL playoffs, six are from current ACC schools including the top two in Hakeem Nicks (North Carolina) of the New York Giants with 335 yards and a 18.6 per-catch average and Demaryius Thomas (Georgia Tech) of Denver with 297 yards and a 29.7 per-catch average. They are followed by Vernon Davis (Maryland) of San Francisco (292), Marques Colston, who played collegiately at Hofstra, of New Orleans (256) and Victor Cruz of the New York Giants (242), who played collegiately at Massachusetts. But the next four are ACC products in Calvin Johnson (Georgia Tech) of Detroit (211); Andre Johnson (Miami) of Houston (201); Anquan Boldin (Florida State) of Baltimore (174) and Jimmy Graham (Miami) of New Orleans (158).

Nicks will be playing in next Sunday’s Super Bowl.

Nine of the 15 100-yard performances by NFL receivers in the playoffs have been from receivers from ACC schools. ACC receivers turned in the only 200-yard receiving efforts in the playoffs, when Georgia Tech’s Calvin Johnson had 12 catches for 211 yards for Detroit against New Orleans and Georgia Tech’s Demaryius Thomas had 204 yards on only four catches versus Pittsburgh. Hakeem Nicks and Vernon Davis are the only receivers in the playoffs to have topped the 100-yard mark twice.

Opening camp: Miami

August, 5, 2010
8/05/10
8:00
AM ET
Schedule: Practice starts at 8 a.m. Saturday’s 8 a.m. practice will be open to season-ticket holders and UM employees.

What’s new: Rick Petri takes over coaching what should be the deepest defensive line in Randy Shannon’s tenure. Petri has a reputation for developing some of the best linemen in college football, including former Canes Warren Sapp, Kevin Patrick, Kenny Holmes and Kenard Lang.

Sidelined: No players on the two-deep are expected to be missing, but running back Graig Cooper will be eased back into practices slowly and held out of the first scrimmage.

Key battle: Tight end. Richard Gordon is the only experienced player returning at the position, and he is more of a blocker. The Canes are looking for another receiving tight end like Jimmy Graham. Junior college transfer Chase Ford could help, and true freshmen Asante Cleveland, Andrew Tallman and Clive Walford will also compete for playing time.

New on the scene: TE Chase Ford. He came to Miami from Kilgore Junior College, where he led the Southwest Junior College Football Conference with 32 receptions and 545 receiving yards.

Breaking out: Redshirt freshman Lamar Miller. Miller has enough talent to separate himself from a crowded backfield. He was rated the No. 119 player in the ESPNU 150 class and the No. 12 running back in his class by ESPN.com. He led Dade County in rushing as a senior with 1,749 yards and 22 touchdowns.

Don’t forget about: Fullback Patrick Hill. He suffered a season-ending injury last year but earned a medical hardship waiver. Without him, the running game was limited, and the pass blocking struggled. Hill is an instrumental blocker whose health will make a difference this fall.

All eyes on: Quarterback Jacory Harris. The potential to throw for over 3,000 yards in a second straight season is there, but so is the potential for another boatload of interceptions. If Harris can cut down on his 17 turnovers and make better decisions (and also get better protection and more help from his receivers), Miami’s offense will flourish.

Quotable: “We’re a big offensive line. Not a fat offensive line. We’re huge. This is the first time we’ve been this big since I’ve been here, either as a player or as a coach.” -- Randy Shannon to the Palm Beach Post.

NFL draft rewind

April, 26, 2010
4/26/10
9:00
AM ET
Good morning, ACC fans, hope you guys had a good NFL draft weekend. The ACC put together a good wrap-up of this past weekend's draft activity for the conference. The ACC ranked third this year among conferences with 31 players chosen. The SEC led with 49, followed by the Big Ten (34). The Big 12 had 30, the Pac-10 29, the Big East 18 and the Mountain West 13.

Here are a few notes to tie it all together for you:

  • For the sixth straight year, the ACC had more than 30 players selected.
  • Since 2005, the ACC and the SEC are the only two leagues in the nation to have had 30 players selected in each of the past six years.
  • Atlantic Division champion Clemson (C.J. Spiller, Jacoby Ford, Ricky Sapp, Crezdon Butler, Kavell Connor) and Coastal Division runner-up Virginia Tech (Jason Worilds, Kam Chancellor, Ed Wang, Brent Bowden, Cody Grimm) led all ACC schools each with five players chosen in the draft.
  • ACC champion Georgia Tech (Derrick Morgan, Demaryius Thomas, Morgan Burnett, Jonathan Dwyer) and Miami (Jimmy Graham, Darryl Sharpton, Jason Fox, Dedrick Epps) were next, each with four players chosen.
  • The ACC maintained its streak of having at least one top-10 selection in each of the past five years. Since 2006, the ACC is the only conference in the country to have had a top-10 selection in each year.
  • In all, 18 NFL teams selected players from the ACC.

NFL draft: Round 2

April, 23, 2010
4/23/10
4:34
PM ET
ESPN's Mel Kiper has a few ACC players on his radar for tonight's second round of the NFL draft. Here's who made the cut in his second-round mock draft:


The analysts at Scouts Inc. project Cook higher, as the second pick in the second round, and he's the only ACC player they have in the second round. The third round seems to be where the ACC will have some good representation, according to Scouts Inc. That's where to find players like Clemson's Ricky Sapp, Virginia Tech's Jason Worilds, and Miami's Jimmy Graham.

ACC's lunchtime links

April, 20, 2010
4/20/10
12:30
PM ET
I'm not completely back yet -- we'll call it part-time -- but I'm getting there ...

Afternoon quick hits

March, 26, 2010
3/26/10
4:30
PM ET
• Miami offensive lineman Jason Fox had the most to gain of the Miami players scheduled to work out at Friday's pro day.

A knee injury kept him out of Miami's final two games in 2009, and prevented him from working out for scouts at the NFL scouting combine almost a month ago. But Fox tweaked his hamstring while running the 40 for scouts earlier today and struggled in position-specific workouts after the injury.

Tight end Jimmy Graham didn't run the 40 after posting a 4.56 40 time at the combine, second fastest among tight ends, but did participate in pass-catching drills.

• North Carolina's nonconference showdown with LSU in Atlanta is set to kick off at 8 p.m. ET on Sept. 4. The matchup is the first of three difficult nonconference matchups for the Tar Heels, who also face East Carolina and Rutgers next season.
We resume our series on the strongest and weakest units for each ACC team with Miami:

Strongest position: Wide receiver

Key returnees: Leonard Hankerson, LaRon Byrd, Travis Benjamin

Key departures: None.

The skinny: Despite the unimpressive performances in Saturday’s scrimmage, this is still one of the deepest groups in the ACC. Miami returns its three leading receivers from a year ago, including Hankerson, who had the most receiving yards (801) since Andre Johnson in 2002. Five receivers had at least 200 yards each last year, including Thearon Collier and Aldarius Johnson.

Weakest position: Tight end

Key returnees: Richard Gordon

Key departures: Jimmy Graham, Tervaris Johnson, Dedrick Epps

The skinny: This is where Miami will lose some of its receiving yards from a year ago, as this departed trio combined for 44 catches. Gordon, a senior with only four career starts who was injured the majority of last year, is one of just two tight ends the Canes have at spring practice. Redshirt freshman Billy Sanders is the other. Miami signed four tight ends in this recruiting class, but none of them were early enrollees.
You can find all of the NFL combine tests results here, but I thought I'd point out a few highlights -- and some lowlights -- for some of the former ACC players who participated the past few days.

[+] EnlargeFord
AP Photo/Michael ConroyJacoby Ford had the fastest time in the 40-yard dash of any player at the combine.
C.J. Spiller and Jacoby Ford showcased their blazing speed, as Ford posted the fasted 40-yard dash time (4.28) and Spiller was second among running backs (4.37). Kam Chancellor had a ball bounce off his hands and Crezdon Butler appeared "stiff in space" according to our Scouts Inc. report. Former Georgia Tech defensive end Derrick Morgan didn't do anything to jeopardize his spot as a high first-round pick, but safety Morgan Burnett missed the 40-yard dash with a hamstring injury.

• Steve Muench of Scouts Inc. on Virginia CB Chris Cook:
Virginia CB Chris Cook turned some heads at the Senior Bowl, and he's doing the same in Indianapolis. At 6-2 and 212 pounds Cook posted an unofficial 4.43 seconds. That's an excellent size-speed combination for a safety and rare to see in a corner. Cook also recorded a jaw-dropping 11-0 broad jump.

• Muench on former Virginia Tech linebacker Cody Grimm:
Virginia Tech's Cody Grimm is an interesting prospect. Grimm appears instinctive and relentless on film, but he played outside linebacker in college and is just not big enough to line up there in the NFL. He measured just 5-10^ and 203 pounds and would be a better fit at safety, where he would have the potential to develop into an adequate reserve and special-teams contributor. Grimm's 4.54 time in the 40 is encouraging because the average time for safeties last year was 4.63 seconds and in 2008 was 4.55 seconds.

• What to make of Jonathan Dwyer? He was listed as one of the 10 most polarizing players in the combine by Bruce Feldman:
There were a bunch of fast backs in Indy; Dwyer was not one of them. His size is good (228 pounds) and he looks dynamic on film, but some skeptics will wonder if much of that is due to the frenetic nature of the triple option scheme he played in at Tech. He didn't test as a particularly explosive guy, and he looked shaky in the position drills and didn't seem comfortable as a receiver.

• Here's an excerpt from Todd McShay on former FSU safety Myron Rolle:
Purely from a football standpoint, Rolle has the tools of a potential third-round pick who could be developed into an adequate starter two or three years down the road. However, while NFL teams love the Rhodes scholar's intelligence and work ethic, there is a growing concern regarding his long-term dedication to football. Rolle is in a truly unique situation and has a lot of convincing to do between now and the draft.

• The Sporting News listed Miami's Jimmy Graham, Maryland's Bruce Campbell and Clemson's Jacoby Ford among its offensive combine winners. Russ Lande of TSN listed Derrick Morgan and Virginia Tech's Jason Worilds among the defensive winners, but it doesn't sound good for Duke's Vince Oghobaase.

• Campbell really turned some heads with his 40 time. Chad Reuter of NFLDraftScout.com wrote:
Campbell also has 36.5-inch arms and bench-pressed 225 pounds 34 times. Said one scout said, "He has the best body of anyone I've ever seen."

• Of course, the question is whether he can block. Said NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock, "If there's a star so far in the combine, it's him. What he's going to have to overcome is the tape."

• Reuter on Miami's Graham:
Miami (Fla.) tight end Jimmy Graham ran a 4.56, according to NFL.com. Graham played only one season of football for the Hurricanes, but his basketball background intrigues scouts and his blistering 40 time could lift Graham as high as the second round.

ACC's All-Academic team announced

February, 17, 2010
2/17/10
11:13
AM ET
Here they are, your kings of the classroom.

And these guys aren't playing mop-up duty, either.

Quarterbacks Christian Ponder and Russell Wilson were among the 42 players selected to the 2009 ACC All-Academic team. And how about BC lineman Anthony Castonzo, a biochem major? E.J. Manuel, Jimmy Graham ... plenty of recognizable names on that list.

To be eligible for consideration, a player must have earned a 3.00 grade point average for the previous semester and maintained a 3.00 cumulative average during his academic career. All 12 ACC schools were represented by at least one player on the team.

No surprise here -- Duke led the conference with 11 selections. Clemson followed with seven. Virginia Tech and Boston College had four each, and Florida State, NC State and Maryland had three each.

Congrats to those players for proving that it's possible to be equally as successful in the classroom and on the field.

What to watch in the ACC this spring

February, 15, 2010
2/15/10
10:00
AM ET
Here's a breakdown of three issues facing each program heading into the spring:

BOSTON COLLEGE

Spring practice starts: March 18

Spring game: April 24

What to watch:

• How linebacker Mark Herzlich progresses. Herzlich, who was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma cancer last May, has been going through winter conditioning with his teammates, and he plans on participating in spring drills. How quickly he regains his form will be worth watching, as he and sophomore Luke Kuechly could give the Eagles one of the most formidable linebacking corps.

• The quarterback battle. After one season, Dave Shinskie has the most experience on the roster, but he’ll get some competition from Josh Bordner and Chase Rettig, two early enrollees. There were times last season when Shinskie looked like the future of the position and there were others when he looked like any other freshman.

• Defensive linemen. For the second straight year, BC is looking for some stability up front. The Eagles have to replace left tackle Austin Giles and defensive end Jim Ramella. They return Kaleb Ramsey, Giles’ backup, and Brad Newman, Ramella’s reserve, but some young faces are likely to be seen in the rotation.

CLEMSON

Spring practice starts: March 7

Spring game: April 10

What to watch:

• Life without C.J. Spiller officially begins. The backs behind him had a pretty good year, so there’s no need for full panic mode. Jamie Harper and Andre Ellington actually combined for a higher yards per carry average (6.1 to 5.6 yards). Clemson will also be looking to replace Spiller’s lost kickoff return yardage. The Tigers had a 13-yard advantage in average starting field position, as their start was their own 37-yard line compared to opponents’ 24-yard line. Ellington is a candidate in the return game.

• Kyle Parker’s batting average. No, really. How well Parker does this spring with the baseball team will help determine whether he remains Clemson’s quarterback or turns to the MLB draft. He didn’t have a great 2009 season, but he was still the fastest player to 25 home runs in school history. It remains to be seen this spring if he’ll become a high enough draft choice to give up college football.

• Secondary shuffling. It seems like eons ago since Crezdon Butler and Chris Chancellor weren’t the Tigers’ starting corners, as Butler started 40 straight games and Chancellor started 42. Butler finished his career second in school history in interception return yards. Now it’s time for a new duo. Will Marcus Gilchrist move to corner, which he’s capable of doing? Might Rashard Hall move to safety with DeAndre McDaniel?

DUKE

Spring practice starts: Feb. 14

Spring game: March 27

What to watch:

• Quarterback competition. Somebody has to take over for the graduated Thaddeus Lewis, but his backup – Sean Renfree – will miss the spring with a torn ACL. Redshirt freshman Sean Schroeder should be heavily in the mix to be the starter, pending Renfree’s recovery.

• Defensive line makeover. It’s wide open. Charlie Hatcher is entrenched at nose guard, but it’s really anyone’s game. The staff might move redshirt senior Wesley Oglesby, who played the majority of his career at defensive end, inside. Other options are defensive tackle Sydney Sarmiento, a redshirt freshman, and Curtis Hazelton, who played sparingly last season.

• Johnny Williams’ move from wide receiver to cornerback. He had 31 catches in 2009 – the fourth-best on the team. Now they need his help in the defensive backfield. Duke will lose starter Leon Wright and his 10 career interceptions, and the pass defense, which allowed 215.75 yards per game, could use a boost.

FLORIDA STATE

Spring practice starts: March 16

Spring game: April 10

What to watch:

• Christian Ponder’s return from shoulder surgery. Ponder is expected to practice this spring, though it could be on a limited basis, at least early. He’s ahead of schedule, but the coaches won’t subject him to any risks now. Yes, E.J. Manuel is talented and played well at the end of the season, but make no mistake – Ponder is FSU’s starter and a potential Heisman Trophy candidate.

• The defense under first-year coordinator Mark Stoops. His secondary, in particular, will be interesting to watch, as will how quickly he can help the front seven generate a pass rush and plug the middle. Stoops has been a secondary coach, and the Noles lost three starters there. The fourth, Ochuko Jenije, could be pushed to retain his job.

• New faces, new opportunities. In addition to the fab freshmen who are coming in, FSU has a handful of unfamiliar players already on the roster who played sparingly or not at all. We'll see how they fit in this spring. RS-So DT Anthony McCloud and RS-So RB Debrale Smiley are both junior college transfers and former teammates. Physically, freshman linebacker Jeff Luc is already a man, but how quickly can he mature on the field? Two young wide receivers worth watching are Rodney Smith and Willie Haulstead.

GEORGIA TECH

Spring practice starts: March 29

Spring game: April 24

What to watch:

• The defensive transformation. The Jackets will switch from the 4-3 to the 3-4 under first-year coordinator Al Groh. In addition to learning the new scheme, the staff has to figure out who goes where. Linebackers might play defensive end and vice versa, safeties might play outside linebacker. It’s anyone’s guess as to how this team lines up in the spring.

• The replacements. From Georgia Tech’s coaching staff to the new faces who will be tasked with filling in for the Fab Four -- Jonathan Dwyer, Derrick Morgan, Morgan Burnett and Demaryius Thomas -- the Jackets will need some “Hello My Name Is” tags this spring.

• The offensive line. Three offensive linemen redshirted who could start, and Georgia Tech might need them to, especially if guard Joseph Gilbert decides to transfer to pursue his MBA. The Jackets lose two starters on the offensive line, and Gilbert, who graduates this spring, would be a third if he leaves. Center Sean Bedford and tackle Austin Barrick return as seniors.

MARYLAND

Spring practice starts: March 23

Spring game: April 24

What to watch:

• The quarterback competition. Chris Turner has graduated, leaving Jamarr Robinson the top option going into the spring, but he has limited experience. The staff liked what he did when Turner was injured, but Danny O’Brien, Miami (Ohio) transfer Clay Belton and C.J. Brown will all be given an opportunity. Look for O’Brien to start the spring at No. 2 on the depth chart.

• Cornerback: Cameron Chism is the only returning starter in the secondary, but right now the staff has fewer concerns about the safeties. Maryland will have to find some bodies at corner, and Dexter McDougle, who redshirted as a true freshman last year, is one option. Michael Carter and Trenton Hughes, who was the third corner last year, are also among a handful of candidates.

• The offensive line. Losing Bruce Campbell to the NFL hurt, but the Terps also lost starter Phil Costa. Justin Gilbert, a redshirt sophomore, could inherit Campbell’s job. And there’s always Mr. Versatility -- Paul Pinegar. He has helped the Terps at both tackle spots and left guard, and this spring he’ll likely be given a shot at center.

MIAMI

Spring practice starts: Feb. 23

Spring game: March 27 (tentative)

What to watch:

• Tight end/offensive line: Jimmy Graham is gone, and the Canes don’t return any tight ends with any experience other than Richard Gordon, who was injured the majority of last season. Miami signed four tight ends in this recruiting class, but none of them were early enrollees. Miami has to replace three starters up front, including both tackles and the center.

• How the two young quarterbacks perform: The health of Jacory Harris was precious last year, as he had nobody behind him with any experience after the transfers of Taylor Cook and Cannon Smith. The depth has improved a bit with A.J. Highsmith, who played sparingly last year, and Stephen Morris, one of the early enrollees.

• Upgrade on the d-line? Progress up front began with the hire of Rick Petri as defensive line coach, and it’s up to Petri to help the Canes become better pass rushers. Miami will depend upon its two mainstays -- Allen Bailey and Josh Holmes. The right end position was a group effort last year, and Miami has to replace Joe Joseph and Eric Moncur.

NORTH CAROLINA

Spring practice starts: March 15

Spring game: April 10

What to watch:

• Quarterback T.J. Yates. It’s his job to lose, and the coaching staff still has confidence in him, but Bryn Renner is waiting in the wings, and Braden Hanson will also be given an opportunity. The staff is looking for the offense to improve its passing efficiency and cut down on turnovers.

• The offensive line. It was a patchwork effort in 2009, thanks to injuries and inexperience, and will be a major key in how much UNC improves offensively this year. The Heels have to replace two starters, and Jonathan Cooper is likely to move from guard to center, and right guard Alan Pelc will miss spring drills while recovering from shoulder surgery.

• Defensive line tweaks. There aren’t many questions on a defense that should be one of the best in the country, but somebody has to replace Cam Thomas and defensive end E.J. Wilson. Tydreke Powell is the frontrunner to take over at defensive tackle and Quinton Coples at defensive end. Both were backups last year at their respective positions.

NC STATE

Spring practice starts: March 9

Spring game: April 17

What to watch:

• Backup quarterback Mike Glennon. Russell Wilson is the starter, but he’s going to be playing baseball all spring. Keep an eye on his backup to see if Glennon can make it any more of a competition in Wilson’s absence.

• Chris Ward at punter. No, it’s not usually, the highlight of the spring, but in this case, it’s necessary. Ward is it -- he’s their only option right now, and it’s a position the Pack struggled with last year. Ward was expected to be the starter last season, but he was inconsistent. He’s definitely got the talent to be the guy.

• The recovery of linebacker Nate Irving. After being severely injured in a one-car crash last summer, Irving is hopeful he can go through spring drills. He has been lifting with the team and running with the sports medicine staff, but it’s still uncertain how limited his contact will be.

VIRGINIA

Spring practice starts: March 15

Spring game: April 10

What to watch:

• Quarterback competition. Marc Verica is the only one with any experience, and first-year offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Bill Lazor hasn’t been in Charlottesville long enough to evaluate any of the candidates. That’s what the spring is for, and true freshman Michael Strauss is the lone incoming quarterback on campus, so he’ll have a head start on the playbook. Of the four quarterbacks Virginia signed in this year’s class, Strauss is the only one listed as a true quarterback. The Cavs also have Ross Metheny, who redshirted last year, and Riko Smalls, who redshirted in ‘08 and was No. 2 on the depth chart when Verica was out with a concussion.

• Coaching transition. First-year coach Mike London has hired almost an entirely new staff, and they’ll bring changes in philosophy and scheme. London has said he wants to get the defense back to the traditional 4-3, and revert to the tradition of featuring the tight ends, offensive linemen and running backs.

• Running back. The Cavs will have the help up front, but they need to replace their four leading rushers in Mikell Simpson, Rashawn Jackson, Vic Hall and Jameel Sewell. The staff will look at true freshman Kevin Parks, but also have Torrey Mack and Dominique Wallace, who had just seemed to be coming on at Southern Miss when he was injured and missed the rest of the season.

VIRGINIA TECH

Spring practice starts: March 31

Spring game: April 24

What to watch:

• Revamped defensive line. The Hokies have to replace three of four starters up front. The only defensive ends with significant playing time are Chris Drager, who the staff wanted to move back to tight end, and Steven Friday. Redshirt freshmen will be given a chance – Duan Perez-Means, Tyrel Wilson, James Gayle and J.R. Collins – but they’ve never played. Isaiah Hamlette is the only other end who’s played and that was a skinny minute. At defensive tackle, Antoine Hopkins will be the frontrunner to replace Cordarrow Thompson.

• Darren Evans’ comeback. Evans, the team’s leading rusher in 2008, is working his way back from a season-ending ACL injury, and one of the biggest questions in Blacksburg is how the staff will divide the carries in such a talented backfield that includes Ryan Williams. With two returning 1,000-yard rushers, will David Wilson decide to redshirt? The spring will help him in that decision.

• The evolution of Tyrod Taylor. He’s going to be a senior, and with so many questions on defense heading into the season, the offense will be leading the way. This should be a breakout year for Taylor, who by now should have mastered the offense and should consistently be a passing threat to compliment his running abilities.

WAKE FOREST

Spring practice starts: March 16

Spring game: April 17

What to watch:

• The quarterback competition. It’s the most glaring hole the Deacs have to fill this spring, as they’re tasked with replacing the winningest quarterback in school history, Riley Skinner, and his backup, Ryan McManus. Redshirt sophomores Ted Stachitas and Skylar Jones, and sophomore Brendan Cross, will compete with rookie Tanner Price for the top spot.

• Offensive line. The Deacs will take a huge hit here, as seven players in the two-deep depth chart were redshirt seniors, including all four tackles. Three starters have to be replaced.

• The interior defensive line. Nose guard Boo Robinson and John Russell have graduated, and Russell’s backup, Michael Lockett, was also a redshirt senior. The Deacs are in good shape at the ends, but will need some help inside.
Tags:

Boston College Eagles, Duke Blue Devils, Virginia Tech Hokies, Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, North Carolina Tar Heels, Clemson Tigers, Florida State Seminoles, North Carolina State Wolfpack, Maryland Terrapins, Virginia Cavaliers, Wake Forest Demon Deacons, Coastal Division, Atlantic Division, Miami Hurricanes, Wesley Oglesby, Alan Pelc, Russell Wilson, Darren Evans, Christian Ponder, Ochuko Jenije, Chris Drager, Cam Thomas, Demaryius THomas, Justin Gilbert, Isaiah Hamlette, Marc Verica, Rashawn Jackson, A.J. Highsmith, Boo Robinson, Torrey Mack, Trenton Hughes, Quinton Coples, Chris turner, Phil Costa, Cannon Smith, Jamarr Robinson, Al Groh, Mike Glennon, Tyrod Taylor, David Wilson, Jimmy Graham, Cameron Chism, Jamie Harper, CHris Chancellor, Michael Carter, Ryan McManus, Joseph Gilbert, Brad Newman, Antoine Hopkins, Sean Renfree, Dave Shinskie, Cordarrow Thompson, Richard Gordon, Mikell Simpson, Austin Barrick, Johnny Williams, Morgan Burnett, E.J. Wilson, Paul Pinegar, Tydreke Powell, Bryn Renner, Jacory Harris, Riley Skinner, Joe Joseph, Skylar Jones, Derrick Morgan, T.J. Yates, Braden Hanson, Sean Bedford, Jonathan Dwyer, C.J. Brown, John Russell, Jameel Sewell, Allen Bailey, Mike London, Nate Irving, Rodney Smith, Marcus Gilchrist, Mark Herzlich, Taylor Cook, Willie Haulstead, Andre Ellington, Josh Holmes, Thaddeus Lewis, E.J. Manuel, Leon Wright, Crezdon Butler, Ryan Williams, C.J. Spiller, Kaleb Ramsey, Vic Hall, James Gayle, Eric Moncur, Jonathan Cooper, Bruce Campbell, Ted Stachitas, Jim Ramella, Danny O'Brien, Luke Kuechly, Sean Schroeder, Tyrel Wilson, Dominique Wallace, Austin Giles, Jeff Luc, Mark Stoops, Brendan Cross, Stephen Morris, Rick Petri, Bill Lazor, Chase Rettig, Michael Strauss, Tanner Price, Anthony McCloud, Debrale Smiley, Josh Bordner, Kyle Paker, Rahsard Hall, DeAndrew McDaniel, Charlie Hatcher, Sydney Sarmiento, Chris Hazelton, Clay Belton, Dexter McDougle, Chris Ward, Ross Metheny, Roko Smalls, Kevin Parks, Duan Perez-Means, J.R. Collins, Michael Lockett

Each team has plenty of questions to answer heading into spring practice, so let the competition begin. Here are five position battles worth watching in the ACC this spring:

1. Wake Forest quarterback – Replacing Riley Skinner, the winningest quarterback in school history won’t be easy. The job is wide open, and the candidates include Ted Stachitas, Skylar Jones, Brendan Cross, walk-on Turner Faulk, and true freshman Tanner Price.

2. Virginia Tech defensive ends – Experience is at a premium here after the early departure of Jason Worilds to the NFL. Chris Drager and Steven Friday are now the veterans of the group, but there are also several redshirt freshmen in the mix. The staff has high hopes for Duan Perez-Means, Tyrel Wilson, James Gayle and J.R. Collins, but could also make some position changes to fill the need.

3. Virginia’s quarterback – The Cavaliers are also starting from scratch after the departure of Jameel Sewell, and Marc Verica is the most experienced of the bunch. There were four quarterbacks in this year’s recruiting class, but only Michael Strauss enrolled early. The Cavs also have Ross Metheny and Riko Smalls.

4. BC defensive line – The Eagles have to replace left tackle Austin Giles and defensive end Jim Ramella, who was one of the top leaders. They return Kaleb Ramsey, Giles’ backup, and Brad Newman, Ramella’s reserve, but several newcomers should work their way into the mix.

5. Miami tight ends/offensive line – The Canes have to replace three starters up front, and tight end Jimmy Graham has graduated. Miami brought in four tight ends in this recruiting class, but none of them were early enrollees. Richard Gordon, who was injured the majority of last season, is the only returning tight end with experience.

ACC's lunchtime links

January, 29, 2010
1/29/10
12:30
PM ET
Don't forget to watch the Senior Bowl on Saturday -- it could be a big audition for former Miami tight end Jimmy Graham.
  • Being a native of Pennsylvania I'm probably biased, but recruits out of Wilson High near Reading are usually pretty good. Meet Maryland commitment Tyler Smith.
  • Then again, any bruising running back named Mustafa doesn't sound like a guy to mess with either. Score another one for NC State.
  • Mike London got one step closer to sorting out his staff when hehired Bill Lazor as his offensive coordinator. He needs just one more hire to complete his staff.
  • Thanks to NC State, David Akinniyi is one of the fortunate players who will continue to play football after his previous school, Northeastern, cut the program.
  • Florida State has already put together an outstanding recruiting class, yet somehow, within the next few days, it could get even better.

Final Senior Bowl rosters released

January, 25, 2010
1/25/10
4:06
PM ET
The final rosters for the Under Armour Senior Bowl have been posted. The game is scheduled for 4 p.m. ET on Jan. 30 at Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile, Ala. Duke and Georgia Tech are the only ACC schools that aren't represented in the game. The following is a list of ACC players who will participate:

NORTH

Chris Cook, CB, Virginia

Jacoby Ford, WR, Clemson

Brandon Ghee, CB, Wake Forest

Rashawn Jackson, FB, Virginia

Terrell Skinner, DB, Maryland

Matt Tennant, C, Boston College

Cam Thomas, DL, North Carolina

Ed Wang, OL, Virginia Tech

SOUTH

Jimmy Graham, TE, Miami

Ted Larsen, OL, NC State

Patrick Robinson, CB, Florida State

Myron Rolle, S, Florida State

Darryl Sharpton, LB, Miami

Dekoda Watson, LB, Florida State
The Sporting News published a list of seniors invited to participate in the 2010 NFL scouting combine, Feb. 24 to March 2 at Indianapolis. Here are the ACC's representatives, but keep in mind it's not an official -- or final -- list.

Boston College: LB Mike McLaughlin, C Matt Tennant.

Clemson: OLB Kavell Conner, WR Jacoby Ford, DE Ricky Sapp, RB C.J. Spiller.

Duke: QB Thaddeus Lewis, Vince Oghobaase.

Florida State: CB Patrick Robinson, S Myron Rolle, OLB Dekoda Watson.

Maryland: CB Nolan Carroll.

Miami: TE Dedrick Epps, OT Jason Fox, TE Jimmy Graham, RB Javarris James, LB Darryl Sharpton.

North Carolina: OT Kyle Jolly, DT Cam Thomas.

NC State: C Ted Larsen, DE Willie Young.

Virginia: CB Chris Cook, FB Rashawn Jackson.

Virginia Tech: P Brent Bowden, S Kam Chancellor, CB Stephan Virgil, OT Ed Wang.

Wake Forest: OT Chris DeGeare, CB Brandon Ghee.

All-ACC bowl team

January, 12, 2010
1/12/10
11:02
AM ET
Bowl season deserves more than just helmet stickers. It deserves its own team. Regardless of whether they won or lost, these ACC players had an impact this postseason. Here is your 2009 All-ACC bowl team:

[+] EnlargeRyan Williams
Todd Kirkland/Icon SMIRyan Williams ran for 117 yards and two touchdowns in the Chick-fil-A Bowl.
Offense and Special Teams

QB: E.J. Manuel, Florida State: The Gator Bowl MVP completed 17 of 24 passes for 189 yards, had 73 rushing yards on 14 carries and one touchdown with zero turnovers. He led the Noles to 415 total yards in their 33-21 win over No. 18 West Virginia.

RB: Ryan Williams, Virginia Tech: Williams ran for 117 yards and two touchdowns in the Chick-fil-A Bowl win over Tennessee. He finished the season with 1,655 rushing yards and broke Kevin Jones' single-season school record (1,647).

RB: Jermaine Thomas, Florida State: He had 121 yards rushing on 25 carries and two touchdowns. He also had one catch for nine yards and posted his fourth 100-yard game of the season. He led FSU back from a 14-3 first quarter deficit against West Virginia in the Gator Bowl.

WR: Rich Gunnell, Boston College: Gunnell finished with six catches for 130 yards, breaking Pete Mitchell's school record for yards receiving with 2,659 in his career. His 61-yard touchdown reception in the second quarter closed the gap to 14-13 against USC in the Emerald Bowl.

WR: Greg Little, UNC: He finished with seven catches for 87 yards and two touchdowns in the loss to Pitt in the Meineke Car Care Bowl.

WR: Jarrett Boykin, Virginia Tech: His 64-yard reception to the Tennessee 3 in the final seconds of the first half was a major turning point in the game. The Vols had already begun to head to the locker room, but officials determined there were still two seconds left on the clock. The play led to Matt Waldron’s 21-yard field goal and a 17-14 halftime lead. Boykin finished with four catches for 120 yards.

TE: Jimmy Graham, Miami: He had three catches for 30 receiving yards against Wisconsin in the Champs Sports Bowl and became the seventh Hurricane to record at least 200 receiving yards this season. Graham closed out his only season with the Canes with 15 catches for 213 yards and five touchdowns.

OL: Ed Wang, Virginia Tech: In his final performance, Wang paved the way for a career-day for Williams, and helped the Hokies rack up 438 total yards of offense.

OL: Sergio Render, Virginia Tech: Like Wang, Render was impressive in his final performance as a Hokie, and helped Virginia Tech use a balanced offense and gave quarterback Tyrod Taylor the time he needed to make plays.

OL: Rodney Hudson, Florida State: The All-American returned to the lineup after missing two games with knee sprain and helped FSU rack up 415 total yards, 37 minutes time of possession and he did not allow a sack.

OL: Andrew Datko, Florida State: He teamed with Hudson on the left side (where two of three rushing touchdowns came) and kept a WVU team averaging 2.6 sacks per game without one.

OL: Dalton Freeman, Clemson: He graded out at 80 percent with seven knockdowns. Freeman was key to Clemson averaging 5.5 yards per rush and a Clemson bowl record 6.8 yards per play against Kentucky in the Music City Bowl.

K: Dustin Hopkins, Florida State: He tied a school bowl record converting 4 of 5 field goal attempts and scoring a season-high 15 points on a windy day. His 42-yarder at the end of the first half pulled FSU within 14-13.

P: Chandler Anderson, Georgia Tech: He had a career-high seven punts with an average of 49.1 yards and a long of 59 yards. Three of his punts were downed inside the 20 and only one was returned.

Spc: C.J. Spiller, Clemson: Spiller finished his career with 172 all-purpose yards (68 rushing, 57 receiving), giving him an ACC record 2,670 for the season and 7,588 for his career. He finished his career in second place in FBS history in all-purpose yards.

Defense

DL: John Graves, Virginia Tech: He sacked Tennessee quarterback Jonathan Crompton in the second quarter for the first sack of his career. He also recovered a fumble, forced a fumble and finished with three solo tackles.

DL: E.J. Wilson, North Carolina: He forced two first-half fumbles and posted five on the season after registering just one over his first three years at Carolina. He finished with five tackles and one sack for a loss of eight yards.

DL: Derrick Morgan, Georgia Tech: Morgan's individual stats weren't all that impressive for his final game as a Jacket, but the Tech defense (surprise!) kept the Yellow Jackets in the game, allowing just seven points after the first quarter. Morgan did have three tackles and a half-tackle for loss, but he was double- and triple-teamed all night.

LB: Cody Grimm, Virginia Tech: The defensive MVP of the Chick-fil-A Bowl finished with seven tackles, including three tackles for loss and one sack.

LB: Luke Kuechly, Boston College: He had 16 tackles (6 solos, 10 assists), and 0.5 TFL in the Emerald Bowl.

LB: Darryl Sharpton, Miami: He recorded a career-high 15 tackles (10 solo, five assists). It marked the third straight game that Sharpton recorded double-digit tackles.

LB: Kavell Conner, Clemson: He had 15 tackles, including a sack and a forced fumble, which was the key play of the game. The fumble came with Clemson leading 14-13 and it set up Spiller’s touchdown to put the Tigers ahead 21-13.

CB: Rashad Carmichael, Virginia Tech: He intercepted Crompton’s pass in the first quarter and returned it to the Tennessee 44, setting up the Hokies’ first score of the game. The interception marked the sixth of the season for Carmichael, a team-high.

CB: Jerrard Tarrant, Georgia Tech: He returned an interception for a touchdown -- Tech's first points of the game against Iowa in the Orange Bowl -- and Tarrant's fourth non-offensive touchdown of the season. He also forced a fumble, broke up a pass and had six solo tackles.

S: Morgan Burnett, Georgia Tech: He had a team-high eight tackles, all of them solo tackles, and he forced a fumble.

S: DeAndre McDaniel, Clemson: He had 15 tackles, including two tackles for loss. He was a big reason Kentucky had just 277 yards total offense and just one touchdown, their second lowest figure of the year in terms of points in the 21-13 Clemson win.

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