ACC: Joe Vellano

2012 record: 4-8

2012 conference record: 2-6 (fifth place in Atlantic Division)

Returning starters: Offense: 7; Defense: 5; kicker/punter: 2

Top returners:

QB C.J. Brown, WR Stefon Diggs, TB Brandon Ross, CB Dexter McDougle, LB Cole Farrand

Key losses:

WR Kevin Dorsey, TE Matt Furstenburg, G Bennett Fulper, DE Joe Vellano, DE A.J. Francis, LB Demetrius Hartsfield, LB Kenny Tate, S Eric Franklin, LB Darin Drakeford

2012 statistical leaders (*returners)

Rushing: Ross* (390 yards)

Passing: Perry Hills* (1, 336)

Receiving: Diggs* (848)

Tackles: Hartsfield/Farrand* (78)

Sacks: Vellano/Drakeford (6)

Interceptions: Four players with one each (Hartsfield, Vellano, Anthony Nixon*, Matt Robinson*)

Spring answers:

1. The running game is improving. The Terps’ running backs were a highlight this spring, as Ross, Albert Reid and Joe Riddle each had their moments -- and that was without Wes Brown, who sat out this spring with injuries. Coach Randy Edsall said one of the biggest differences was the increased competition among the group. It was a welcome change, as the running game ranked No. 112 in the country at 103 yards per game last year.

2. Healthy quarterbacks. Finally, the Terps have healed. C.J. Brown, Hills and Caleb Rowe, each who missed all or part of last season with a torn ACL, are expected to be cleared to participate in fall camp. Brown was back atop the post-spring depth chart, and former fifth-string quarterback, Shawn Petty, is back at his original position of linebacker.

3. The receivers should be a strength. Diggs is back, and he should again be one of the best players in the ACC this year, but it’s not a one-man show. The Terps are loaded at receiver with Diggs, Deon Long, Nigel King, Marcus Leak and others. Long is facing high expectations after his record-setting junior college season at Iowa Western, and Diggs is coming off an impressive performance as a true freshman in which he made a push for ACC Rookie of the Year.

Fall questions:

1. Rusty quarterbacks. Not only has Brown not played since 2011, but he has yet to be a full-time starter. That season, he was in the midst of a quarterback controversy with Danny O’Brien, who later transferred to Wisconsin. Brown has proven he can run, but will he have the arm strength and accuracy to make use of all of the talent at wide receiver? And will he have the time to throw it?

2. The offensive line. The Terps have three returning starters in Mike Madaras, De’Onte Arnett and Sal Conaboy, but Edsall said finding an eight- to 10-man rotation remains a priority heading into the summer. Maryland also still needs to replace Bennett Fulper and Justin Gilbert, who combined for 36 career starts, and the group's depth is a concern.

3. New faces on defense. Maryland has to replace six starters on defense, but it’s not just their playmaking abilities that will be missed, it’s also the leadership of guys like A.J. Francis and Joe Vellano, who became the faces of the program. There is only one returning starter on the defensive line, but the group did find some depth with Andre Monroe and Roman Braglio locking up the No. 2 spots at defensive end.

ACC's lunchtime links

April, 30, 2013
4/30/13
12:00
PM ET
Who's ready for the 2014 NFL draft?
With half of the conference playing spring games this weekend, here’s a look at what to watch if you’re keeping an eye on the ACC as spring ball comes to a close:

CLEMSON

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

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

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

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

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

Parking/admission: Free

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

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

Parking/admission: Free

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

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

Gates open: 12:30 p.m.

Parking/admission: Free

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

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

Admission: Free

Parking: $5/vehicle

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

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

Gates open: 5:30 p.m.

Admission: Free

What to watch:
  • The quarterbacks. Fifth-year senior Tom Savage has taken most of the reps with the first team, and redshirt freshman Chad Voytik appears to be the backup, but coach Paul Chryst has yet to name a starter.
  • The running backs. Earlier this month, it was announced that Rushel Shell has decided to transfer. Since then, the bulk of the carries have gone to junior Isaac Bennett, sophomore Malcolm Crockett and senior Desmond Brown. How they fare will go a long way in determining how Pitt fares in its first season in the ACC.
  • The offensive line. It's been problematic for the Panthers in each of the past two seasons, and Pitt now has to break in two new starters in Gabe Roberts and Adam Bisnowaty.
MARYLAND

If you’re just joining us, this series looks at the unranked teams in the ACC as either contenders or pretenders heading into the 2013 season. Florida State and Clemson are not included because they are the only two teams from the ACC expected to be ranked this preseason. Those rankings automatically qualify them as contenders.

Maryland? The Terps still have a long way to go.

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What do you expect out of Maryland in 2013?

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Discuss (Total votes: 2,901)

Why they're a contender: If the Terps are going to make some noise this season, they are going to have to rely on their offense out of the gate. Maryland has seven starters returning, including dazzling freshman Stefon Diggs, who finished No. 8 in the nation last season in all-purpose yards. The Terps have what they hope to be a nice complement at receiver as well, with transfer Deon Long, and what looks to be plenty of depth at the position. Their top two rushers are back in Brandon Ross and Wes Brown. And what's more, Maryland is hoping to avoid a repeat of the quarterback nightmare it had to navigate last season, when it ended the year with a linebacker playing the position. C.J. Brown is expected to be back and healthy for the start of the season. It goes without saying that his return is absolutely huge for this program. One more factor to keep an eye on: There is finally some staff stability, as both offensive coordinator Mike Locksley and defensive coordinator Brian Stewart are back for Year 2. A jump in production should be expected.

Why they're a pretender: There are some pretty major holes to fill on defense, with only five starters returning. Gone are All-ACC stalwart Joe Vellano, along with A.J. Francis, Kenneth Tate, Darin Drakeford, Eric Franklin and leading tackler Demetrius Hartsfield. There are definitely guys returning with playing experience, but how they all mesh and fit into starting roles remains to be seen. Also, who emerges as the leader of this group? The defense was the definite strength of this team last season -- ranking No. 3 in the league in total defense -- so there is work to be done. Then there is the offensive line, which was not very good last season. Coach Randy Edsall knows this is an area that needs some major improvement if some of the talent he has assembled on offense is going to do what it is capable of doing.

Final verdict: Pretender. I think Maryland has the capability of getting back to a bowl game this season after two straight losing campaigns, but I don't think the Terps will be able to contend for an ACC title in their final year in the league. There are too many question marks on defense and along the offensive line to stamp this team as a contender.

More in this series
Drumroll please ...

No. 1. Tajh Boyd, QB, Clemson

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

Previous ranking: No. 6

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

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

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

Previous ranking: No. 7

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

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

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

Previous ranking: NR

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

The countdown
BOSTON COLLEGE

Spring start: Feb. 28

Spring game: April 13

What to watch:
  1. The transition: Introductions will be necessary as first-year coach Steve Addazio takes over. The good news is that offensive coordinator Ryan Day is a familiar face as he was the receivers coach under Frank Spaziani. He should work well with quarterback Chase Rettig.
  2. The front seven. There used to be a time when BC’s defense was one of the best in the country. It wasn’t last year. The Eagles were No. 111 in the country in rushing defense and No. 120 in sacks and tackles for loss. First-year coordinator Don Brown has some work to do.
  3. The running backs. They were an inconsistent group last year as BC ranked No. 115 in the country in rushing offense at 90.92 yards per game. All of the key contributors return, including leading rusher Andre Williams, but the group has to do a better job of taking pressure off of Rettig.
CLEMSON

Spring start: March 6

Spring game: April 13

What to watch:
  1. Defensive progress: This is the second spring under coordinator Brent Venables, and the defense is the missing piece to the program becoming a contender on the national level. The defensive backs will have the most to prove as three starters have to be replaced.
  2. The new playmakers: Clemson lost two big names on offense in receiver DeAndre Hopkins, who left early for the NFL, and running back Andre Ellington. There is plenty of talent remaining in the wings, but it has to step out of the shadows this spring.
  3. Front and center: The Tigers return four starters to the offensive line, but have to replace their anchor in veteran center Dalton Freeman. While quarterback Tajh Boyd returns, the communication with the new center will be critical for calls and snaps.
FLORIDA STATE

Spring start: Mar. 20

Spring game: April 13

What to watch:
  1. The QB battle: It's a three-way race to replace EJ Manuel, and while Clint Trickett will enter spring practice as the nominal No. 1, there's no clear favorite to win the job. Sophomore Jacob Coker has perhaps the best mix of arm strength, athleticism and experience, but redshirt freshman Jameis Winston was the country's top QB recruit two years ago and could blossom into a superstar.
  2. The new coaches. There will be a much different feel on the practice fields at FSU this spring with six new assistant coaches running the show. Four of the assistants have previous coordinator experience, making it a veteran group, and new defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt brings an Alabama pedigree to a unit that was already among the best in the nation.
  3. The new faces. A year ago, there weren't a ton of jobs open in the spring thanks to a hefty dose of veterans. Things are different this time around, meaning youngsters like WR Kelvin Benjamin, DE Mario Edwards Jr. and CB Ronald Darby will get their opportunities to solidify key roles on this year's team.
MARYLAND

Spring start: March 2

Spring game: April 12

What to watch:
  1. Quarterbacks. The Terps’ unprecedented run of injuries at the position was one of the ACC’s biggest storylines last year. C.J. Brown, the projected starter, will be limited and won’t play in the spring game, but he can throw and participate in some drills. Ricardo Young, who sat out all year after transferring, will be the top healthy quarterback on the roster this spring and take the majority of the snaps. He played for offensive coordinator Mike Locksley at New Mexico and is familiar with the system. Perry Hills and Caleb Rowe aren’t nearly as ready or healthy as Brown is. Dustin Dailey, who also sat out last year because of NCAA transfer rules, is healthy and available.
  2. Early enrollees: Three recruits enrolled early, including two junior college transfers who can help immediately. Maryland fans should be eager to see how junior college transfer Deon Long, a receiver, adds to the offense. Silvano Altamirano, another junior college transfer, will compete immediately for playing time at offensive guard.
  3. Defensive competition: Maryland has some big names to replace in defensive linemen Joe Vellano and A.J. Francis, and middle linebacker Demetrius Hartsfield, all of whom were mainstays on the defense. Cole Farrand will be the veteran linebacker now, and Darius Kilgo is the only returning starter on the defensive line.
NC STATE

Spring start: March 19

Spring game: April 20

What to watch:
  1. The quarterback competition. The Mike Glennon era is over, and Manny Stocker and Pete Thomas are the top options to replace him. Thomas, a former transfer from Colorado State, was a two-year starter there and threw for 4,269 yards and 18 touchdowns. Stocker, a sophomore, has yet to take a collegiate snap.
  2. The staff transition. First-year coach Dave Doeren is taking over and he has hired an almost entirely new staff. How the players adjust to the change in terminology, schemes and personalities will be critical to the transition.
  3. A revamped secondary: NC State will have to replace three starters, including Earl Wolff, Brandan Bishop and David Amerson, the school’s career interception leader. Cornerback Dontae Johnson returns, along with Juston Burris, who played in the nickel package. There are also several redshirts and younger players who will compete.
SYRACUSE

Spring start: March 19

Spring game: April 20

What to watch:
  1. Staff changes: First-year coach Scott Shafer, who replaced Doug Marrone, has been with the program for four years, so it’s not a drastic change for the players, but it is Shafer’s first as a head coach. He has a chance to put his stamp on the program as it enters the first season in the ACC.
  2. Quarterback competition: The Orange have to replace record-setting quarterback Ryan Nassib, and it’s a wide-open competition. Backup Charley Loeb, junior John Kinder, and dual-threat Terrel Hunt are the top candidates, but Ashton Broyld, who moved to running back in 2012, could be in the mix as well.
  3. Replacing SS Shamarko Thomas: The Orange have to replace their leading tackler and top defender, as Thomas had 84 tackles last year. He was a game-changer who also had two interceptions and three forced fumbles. He was a first-team All-Big East selection.
WAKE FOREST

Spring start: March 19

Spring game: April 20

What to watch:
  1. The health of the O-line: Wake was hit hard by injuries last year, and keeping this group healthy this offseason will be critical. The Deacs only lost one senior -- center Garrick Williams, but last year injuries forced the staff to play a significant number of redshirt freshmen, which it doesn’t like to do. Whit Barnes, for example, started 11 games at left guard. He was supposed to be a backup center.
  2. Camp’s complement: The Deacs have to find a complement to star receiver Michael Campanaro. He’s the go-to guy, but quarterback Tanner Price needs a few more reliable targets to emerge this spring. Sherman Ragland, Matt James, Brandon Terry and Airyn Willis are all options.
  3. Improving inside: The Deacs’ inside linebackers need a boost after losing Riley Haynes and Scott Betros. Redshirt junior Mike Olson will be a starter, but Wake needs to find another starter there and develop some dependable backups.

2012 postseason top 25 players: No. 7

February, 15, 2013
2/15/13
10:30
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No. 7. Sylvester Williams, DT, UNC

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

Previous ranking: NR

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

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

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

Previous ranking: No. 18

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

The countdown

 
No. 11. Duke Johnson, RB, Miami

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

Previous ranking: NR

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

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

The countdown

 
No. 13. EJ Manuel, QB, Florida State

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

Previous ranking: No. 9

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

The countdown:
No. 14 Joe Vellano, DL, Maryland

2012 stats: Vellano made the coaches and media All-ACC first team after finishing fifth in the league with a career-high 14 tackles for loss and tied for eighth with a career-high six sacks. He also had 61 tackles in 12 games. His average of 5.1 tackles per game was good enough to list him among the Top 50 ACC tacklers.

Previous ranking: No. 8

Making the case: Though Vellano had fewer total tackles in 2012 than he did the year before (94), he was much more productive behind the line of scrimmage, and that might have been a result of a scheme change under new defensive coordinator Brian Stewart. Consider he nearly doubled his total tackles for loss, and had 3.5 more sacks than last season. But perhaps even more impressive was his ability to play through injury virtually the entire season.

Vellano sprained his ankle in early November and was not nearly as effective in the final month of the season because of it. Still, he never missed a start and made as many plays as he could, a testament to the type of leader he has been for the Terps over the past several seasons. That injury did not preclude him from making the ACC first-team for the second straight season.

The countdown

2012 report cards: Maryland

January, 24, 2013
1/24/13
9:00
AM ET
Let's move on to Maryland.

OFFENSE: Woe is Maryland, right? The truth is, the Terps really had no chance to get any consistency going on offense because of all the quarterback injuries. It was bad enough losing projected starter C.J. Brown in the preseason. But then to see Perry Hills get hurt, and then Devin Burns, and then Caleb Rowe, well, some strange voodoo was going on in College Park. Three of those players, by the way, tore their ACLs, leaving coach Randy Edsall in a position to defend his strength and conditioning staff when questions were raised about why there was a rash of that specific injury to his quarterbacks. The Terps ended the season with converted linebacker Shawn Petty playing quarterback for the final four games, all losses. Given all the turmoil, you understand why Maryland ranked last in total offense, No. 107 in scoring offense, No. 112 in rushing offense, and No. 100 in passing offense. The lone bright spot was the emergence of Stefon Diggs, one of the more dynamic freshmen in the country. But even he is not enough to keep Maryland from getting a failing grade, even if it comes with extenuating circumstances. OFFENSE: F.

DEFENSE: The Terps were much improved on defense in 2012, turning a group that was the worst in the ACC in 2011 into one of the best in 2012. Maryland finished the season ranked No. 3 in the ACC in total defense, allowing 121 yards fewer than a year ago. Joe Vellano anchored the inside, and won All-ACC honors as expected. Linebacker Demetrius Hartsfield also had an excellent season, but it ended up being cut short because of -- you guessed it, a torn ACL. He still made it on the coaches' All-ACC second team after averaging 8.7 tackles per game. Still, Maryland was much stronger in the first half of the season than it was in the second. The final four games were the toughest in the league, against teams with winning records. Given the offense's malaise, more and more pressure was placed on the defense until it broke. The strides, though, cannot be overlooked. GRADE: B-minus.

OVERALL: Maryland got off to a 4-2 start, one of the more pleasant surprises in the ACC to that point. But it was all a mirage. None of those wins came against FBS opponents with winning records, and the injury situation at quarterback completely did this team in. So did the brutal end-of-the season schedule against Georgia Tech, Clemson, Florida State and North Carolina with no break in between. Maryland doubled its win total from a year ago, but it did end the season on a six-game losing streak and suffer its third losing season in four years (including two straight). Not a winning grade in this book. GRADE: D.

More grades

ACC reps in East-West Shrine Game

January, 10, 2013
1/10/13
5:00
PM ET
The 88th East-West Shrine Game will be played at 4 p.m. ET on Jan. 19 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. The East roster is loaded with ACC players from a wide range of schools. Wake Forest was the only school not represented:

EAST
WEST

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