ACC: Joel Figueroa

As mentioned in lunch links, Clemson announced the signings of undrafted lineman Landon Walker (Cincinnati Bengals) and punter Dawson Zimmerman (Atlanta Falcons). And a couple of generous readers have passed along a few more signings from ACC schools.

Virginia Tech guard Blake DeChristopher signed with the Cardinals, and Hokies defensive back Cris Hill signed with the Bills.

Big thanks to Matt from Alexandria, Va., Ben in Blacksburg, Va., and Lynn in Blacksburg, Va., for the head's up.

The updated, working list is below. Feel free to pass along any oversights.

BOSTON COLLEGE
CB Donnie Fletcher: New York Jets

CLEMSON
DE Kourtnei Brown: San Francisco 49ers
FB Chad Diehl: Baltimore Ravens
OL Antoine McClain: Baltimore Ravens
DT Rennie Moore: Houston Texans
OT Landon Walker: Cincinnati Bengals
P Dawson Zimmerman: Atlanta Falcons

DUKE
S Matt Daniels: St. Louis Rams

FSU
WR Bert Reed: Cleveland Browns
S Terrence Parks: Kansas City Chiefs
P Shawn Powell: Buffalo Bills

MARYLAND
CB Cameron Chism: Indianapolis Colts
RB Davin Meggett: Houston Texans

MIAMI
WR LaRon Byrd: Arizona Cardinals
OL Joel Figueroa: Miami Dolphins (rookie camp tryout)
TE Chase Ford: Philadelphia Eagles
DL Marcus Forston: New England Patriots
LB Jordan Futch: Tampa Bay Bucaneers
G Harland Gunn: Dallas Cowboys
QB Jacory Harris: Miami Dolphins (rookie camp tryout)
C Tyler Horn: Atlanta Falcons
S JoJo Nicolas: New York Giants
DL Adewale Ojomo: New York Giants
DT Micanor Regis: Atlanta Falcons

UNC
CB Charles Brown: Baltimore Ravens
C Cam Holland: Kansas City Chiefs
WR Dwight Jones: Houston Texans
S Matt Merletti: Indianapolis Colts
DT Tydreke Powell: Minnesota Vikings

NC STATE
TE George Bryan: Dallas Cowboys
FB Taylor Gentry: Kansas City Chiefs

VIRGINIA
CB Chase Minnifield: Washington Redskins
OG Austin Pasztor: Minnesota Vikings
S Rodney McLeod: St. Louis Rams
DT Matt Conrath: St. Louis Rams

VIRGINIA TECH
WR Jarrett Boykin: Jacksonville Jaguars
OT Jaymes Brooks: Green Bay Packers
G Blake DeChristopher: Arizona Cardinals
CB Cris Hill: Buffalo Bills
S Eddie Whitley: Dallas Cowboys

WAKE FOREST
TE Cameron Ford: Green Bay Packers
S Cyhl Quarles: Baltimore Ravens
Thirty-one players from ACC schools were drafted this past weekend, but many more signed free-agent deals with NFL teams in the aftermath of the draft.

The following is a list of ACC players, by school, who have signed undrafted free agent deals with NFL teams. It was compiled largely from NFL.com, along with official releases from NFL teams and ACC schools. Georgia Tech is the only ACC school currently without an undrafted free-agent signing.

By all means, feel free to let me know if I have overlooked anyone.

BOSTON COLLEGE
CB Donnie Fletcher - New York Jets

CLEMSON
DE Kourtnel Brown - San Francisco 49ers
FB Chad Diehl - Baltimore Ravens
OL Antoine McClain - Baltimore Ravens
DT Rennie Moore - Houston Texans

DUKE
S Matt Daniels - St. Louis Rams

FSU
WR Bert Reed - Cleveland Browns
S Terrence Parks - Kansas City Chiefs
P Shawn Powell - Buffalo Bills

MARYLAND
CB Cameron Chism - Indianapolis Colts
RB Davin Meggett - Houston Texans

MIAMI
WR LaRon Byrd - Arizona Cardinals
TE Chase Ford - Philadelphia Eagles
DL Marcus Forston - New England Patriots
LB Jordan Futch - Tampa Bay Bucaneers
G Harland Gunn - Dallas Cowboys
C Tyler Horn - Atlanta Falcons
S JoJo Nicolas - New York Giants
DL Adewale Ojomo - New York Giants
DT Micanor Regis - Atlanta Falcons

UNC
CB Charles Brown - Baltimore Ravens
C Cam Holland - Kansas City Chiefs
WR Dwight Jones - Houston Texans
S Matt Merletti - Indianapolis Colts
DT Tydreke Powell - Minnesota Vikings

NC STATE
TE George Bryan - Dallas Cowboys
FB Taylor Gentry - Kansas City Chiefs

VIRGINIA
CB Chase MinnifieldWashington Redskins
OG Austin Pasztor - Minnesota Vikings
S Rodney McLeod – St. Louis Rams
DT Matt Conrath – St. Louis Rams

VIRGINIA TECH
WR Jarrett Boykin - Jacksonville Jaguars
OT Jaymes Brooks - Green Bay Packers
S Eddie Whitley - Dallas Cowboys

WAKE FOREST
TE Cameron Ford - Green Bay Packers
S Chyl Quarles - Baltimore Ravens

The Hurricanes also announced that quarterback Jacory Harris and offensive lineman Joel Figueroa have both been invited to rookie camp tryouts with the Miami Dolphins.

Miami's Seantrel Henderson closer to return

September, 21, 2011
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Miami offensive lineman Seantrel Henderson, who had back surgery in August, is getting closer to being cleared to play again, according to coach Al Golden, but where Henderson will line up once he’s cleared remains a mystery.

In looking to try to get his five best linemen on the field, Golden said it’s possible Henderson could line up at tackle or guard. Henderson started nine of the 12 games he played in last year and lined up mostly at right tackle.

“I think there is still going to be some tinkering,” Golden said. “As Art [Kehoe] said this morning, when Seantrel comes back there will be even more competition. Fig [Joel Figueroa] and [Malcolm] Bunche are right there at six and seven. I always rank the offensive lineman, but they’re sitting there at six and seven. They have to play their way into the five. And, then, Seantrel is going to have something to say about it, too. Where he plays, tackle or guard, when he comes back will have a lot to do with the development of those other guys.”

“For me it’s about getting the best five out there,” Golden said. “We’re talking about a guy that hasn’t done much in a long time. We just have to make sure we’re careful with him and transition him back when he’s ready, but clearly we want to organize the two-deep so that it’s our best 10 and then our best five.”
Ranking offensive linemen is not easy. But hey, either is being an offensive lineman. Here are your best "big uglies."

1. North Carolina: Three starters and one part-time starter return from last year’s team, and this line could be the biggest and best since Butch Davis was hired. Guard Jonathan Cooper (22 starts), center Cam Holland (20) and tackle James Hurst (12) have combined for 54 career starts. Travis Bond has four starts and is the leading candidate to take over at the other guard position.

2. Miami: The Canes return nine of their top 10 offensive linemen including four starters from last year, and Joel Figueroa was granted a sixth season of eligibility. Even with the coaching change, the Canes should be strong up front. Center Tyler Horn is a veteran, Brandon Washington is a difference-maker, and there’s enough competition that Seantrel Henderson spent most of the spring as a backup.

3. Clemson: First-year offensive line coach Robbie Caldwell has four returning starters to work with in Landon Walker, Antoine McClain, Dalton Freeman and David Smith. They also have top reserve Mason Cloy, who has 19 career starts and has played in 38 games. There is plenty of depth for a dependable rotation.

4. Virginia Tech: All four returnees started every game last year, and there is enough depth that the Hokies should be able to rotate the most players up front they ever have. It’s a veteran group led by Blake DeChristopher, Andrew Lanier, Jaymes Brooks and Greg Nosal.

5. Florida State: Despite the losses of Rodney Hudson and Ryan McMahon, there’s experience up front. This fall, the starting lineup will consist of tackle Andrew Datko, left guard Bryan Stork or David Spurlock, center Jacob Fahrenkrug, right guard Spurlock or Stork, right tackle Zebrie Sanders. Just how good they’ll be remains to be seen as the majority of them were out with injuries this past spring.

6. NC State: The Pack lost Jake Vermiglio and will be without injured left guard Andrew Wallace for about half of the season, but Zach Allen, Camden Wentz and R.J. Mattes are returning starters. There’s also a lot of talent waiting to emerge with young players like Duran Christophe, Rob Crisp, Tyson Chandler, Torian Box and Andy Jomantas.

7. Virginia: Four players return with a combined 64 career starts in Anthony Mihota, Austin Pasztor, Oday Aboushi and Morgan Moses, who started the final seven games of the season as a true freshman. Pasztor is in his fourth season as a starter and has 32 career starts.

8. Boston College: Despite the losses of Anthony Castonzo, Thomas Claiborne and Rich Lapham, the Eagles are almost settled up front, it’s the experience behind the starters that’s reason for concern. The No. 2 offensive line is comprised entirely of redshirt freshmen. Mark Spinney returns at center, the projected starting guards are Nathan Richman and Ian White, who started three games as a freshman, and the tackles are Emmett Cleary and John Wetzel.

9. Maryland: It’s been an injury-prone group the past two seasons and that didn’t change this past spring. Left tackle Justin Gilbert, one of the top linemen on the team, reinjured the same knee he had ACL surgery on and will be out until October. R.J. Dill was also injured this spring, though he played in the spring game, and Justin Lewis was rehabbing from offseason surgery. Pete White also missed practices, so the group needs to solidify the two-deep roster.

10. Georgia Tech: The Jackets return three starters in guard Omoregie Uzzi, guard Will Jackson and tackle Phil Smith. Sophomore Jay Finch played extensively last season and Ray Beno and Nick McRae were key reserves. Redshirt freshmen Catlin Alford and Morgan Bailey could also work their way into the rotation. Uzzi will be the leader of the line, but they were outplayed by the defense this spring.

11. Wake Forest: Four starters are back, but the Deacs will sorely miss the experience and leadership of former center Russell Nenon. Garrick Williams started the final three games of 2010 -- two at guard and one at center, but he struggled with the snaps towards the end of spring and isn’t where the staff needs him to be yet.

12. Duke: The Blue Devils should take another step forward this season under offensive line coach Matt Luke, and they need to -- Duke’s running game was last in the ACC last year and 104th in the country. Brian Moore replaces a three-year starter at center, but given his experience at right guard the past two seasons, it should be a smooth transition. That will leave a hole, though, at the right guard position, where Laken Tomlinson and John Coleman are the top candidates.

Hope and concern: Miami

June, 3, 2011
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The hope and concern series continues today with Miami.

Biggest reason for hope: Strength up front

The offensive line will have a veteran look, led by senior center Tyler Horn, senior guard Harland Gunn and junior guard Brandon Washington, and if Seantrel Henderson is a backup? That’s some legitimate depth. With nine of the top 10 players returning and Joel Figueroa granted a sixth season of eligibility, this should be one of Miami’s better lines in recent years. Defensively, Miami was good last year and should be even better this season with juniors and seniors leading the way. Adewale Ojomo, Marcus Robinson, Micanor Regis, Marcus Forston and Olivier Vernon should prove to be one of the best defensive lines in the ACC.

Biggest reason for concern: Uncertainty at quarterback

The fact that Al Golden still doesn’t know who his starting quarterback will be for the season opener should be unsettling to fans, as should the fact that Miami quarterbacks combined for 27 interceptions last year. Whether it’s Jacory Harris or Stephen Morris, Miami needs a dependable leader to emerge this summer. Harris had 15 interceptions to 14 touchdowns last year, and it seems as if he’s never been the same since he’s suffered various injuries over the past few years. Both quarterbacks made progress this spring, but not enough was revealed in the spring game to convince anyone that 2011 will be any different or better than last year.

More in this series:

ACC's lunchtime links

May, 25, 2011
5/25/11
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Hopefully by now you guys have all noticed the new "blog roll" that's been added along the right side of the page to help keep you up-to-date with ACC news. The criteria to be added is legitimate news organizations that cover the team on a regular basis. In other words, credentialed members of the media who attend practices and games. I've got no problem adding more if they're approved and brought to my attention.

ACC's lunchtime links

May, 4, 2011
5/04/11
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Russell Wilson is keeping the headlines going this offseason ...

Figueroa granted extra year of eligibility

May, 3, 2011
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Miami offensive lineman Joel Figueroa has been granted a sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA, the school announced Tuesday afternoon. Figueroa, who missed most of last season with an injury, will be eligible to play during the 2011 season.

Figueroa played in Miami’s first four games, including starts at right tackle against Ohio State and Pittsburgh, before being sidelined the remainder of his senior season.

He has played in 36 games, with 15 career starts. His most significant impact came in 2009, when he graded out at 89 percent and recorded 33 pancake blocks as Miami’s regular right guard. Figueroa earned a redshirt his first year at Miami in 2006.

ACC's lunchtime links

February, 23, 2011
2/23/11
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Have I told you lately that I don't control which schools are written about? The Hokies are the news this week ...

Miami injury report

September, 21, 2010
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Here is Miami's injury report for Thursday night's game against Pitt:

Questionable

OL Joel Figueroa – Upper Extremity

DL Luther Robinson – Lower Extremity

DL Marcus Robinson – Lower Extremity

Doubtful

RB Graig Cooper – Lower Extremity

Out

OL Malcolm Bunche – Lower Extremity

LB Kelvin Cain - Dental

DB Lee Chambers – Upper Extremity

DL Curtis Porter – Lower Extremity

Surgery and Out for the Season

FB John Calhoun – Lower Extremity

LB Shayon Green – Upper Extremity

RB Darion Hall – Upper Extremity

DL Jeremy Lewis – Lower Extremity

LB Travis Williams – Lower Extremity

ACC's lunchtime links

August, 23, 2010
8/23/10
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Here we go ...
  • Clemson coach Dabo Swinney says quarterback Kyle Parker has a faster path to the pros in football.
  • Agent Gary Wichard is the key to the NCAA investigation, not former player Kentwan Balmer, writes Caulton Tudor.
  • While many teams across the country are playing creampuffs, Virginia Tech will have a lot at stake in Week 1.
  • Virginia linebacker Steve Greer will be required to play more in space in the 4-3 defense, and he's working hard on his new role.
  • Bigger story in Florida -- replacing Tim Tebow or Bobby Bowden? No contest.
  • Miami has bumped up redshirt freshman Jermaine Johnson to the first team as a result of injury to Joel Figueroa, but coach Randy Shannon isn't concerned.
  • Georgia Tech is beginning to turn its attention to South Carolina State.
  • Duke cornerback Chris Rwabukamba has more to accomplish at Duke before he sets off in search of a pro career.
  • The injury to Wake Forest receiver Devon Brown isn't as bad as they thought -- he's bruised, but back.
  • Duke center Bryan Morgan is passionate about both football and music, and he doesn't want to let either one of them go.
  • BC's injuries are piling up, but at least the Eagles know who their quarterback is.

ACC's lunchtime links

July, 29, 2010
7/29/10
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Somebody's gotta start practicing soon ...

Questions loom for Miami's offensive line

March, 2, 2010
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It wasn’t intended to be a trick question, but it was one that Miami senior left tackle Orlando Franklin struggled to answer: Who is the leader of this year’s offensive line?

“I don’t know,” Franklin said. “I guess you could say it’s me.”

[+] EnlargeOrlando Franklin
Richard C. Lewis/Icon SMISenior left tackle Orlando Franklin will likely assume more a leadership role in 2010.
He might not have much of a choice.

After two years in a starting role, Franklin said he’s ready to take on more responsibility, and with new faces in new places, the offensive line could use a veteran to depend upon. The Canes have to replace three starters up front, including both tackles and center A.J. Trump. Franklin said he watched graduated veteran Jason Fox anchor the group the past two years, and learned what it takes to be a leader.

“I’m ready for that role, and I’m ready to get it done,” Franklin said. “You’re going to always have challenges going into spring, but I’m not really worried about it. I’m confident in these guys coming in. … We’ve got guys who have played already or haven’t played but have been around and know a lot of football. It’s exciting to see what they’re going to do.”

Coach Randy Shannon is equally as interested, especially in the center position, where Tyler Horn is expected to take over. Horn has been taking snaps at center for the past three years, but he lacks game experience.

“We’ve got some guys who are big, athletic, and we feel really good about who can keep us going on the offensive line,” Shannon said. “But like anything, you’re always worried about the quarterback and the guy who snaps the ball to the quarterback. Those are the two most key positions probably on the football team. It will be interesting to see. They’re going to be tough, physical practices this spring.”

Shannon said that part of the problem last year was depth, and that freshmen were the backups at every position. This year, Miami should have 15 offensive linemen on its roster by summer camp. The Canes can turn to Franklin, Harland Gunn, Brandon Washington and Joel Figueroa, who is out this spring while recovering from shoulder surgery, for some experience. Shane McDermott is a true freshman who enrolled in January and is competing with Horn for the starting job at center.

Franklin said the offensive line takes a lot of pride in keeping quarterback Jacory Harris healthy, but as a team, they failed to do that consistently last year. Miami ranked No. 100 in the country, allowing 2.69 sacks per game, but Franklin pointed out that the linemen aren’t the only ones doing the blocking, and the entire offense has to be clicking in order for everything to work.

“When that kid’s healthy and he has time,” Franklin said of Harris, “we sure did see the results.”

“A lot of things did go wrong at times because we didn’t do as good as we should’ve done. With pass plays, if a receiver runs a wrong route, too far or too short, or Jacory takes the wrong step, or a running back misses a block, it’s a sack. We all have to be on the same page, or it’s going to be a bad situation.”

Communication shouldn’t be a problem up front.

For years, the offensive linemen have always met on Thursdays to eat together, changing places each week. This past season the starters added Wednesday meals to their routine. Recently, Horn sent Franklin a text message about “pool day” at his house. They planned to “throw some food on the grill.”

They’ve gotten to know each other pretty well as they waited in the wings for their turn in the spotlight, which is now.

“We have a lot of guys who have been in the system for a couple of years now,” Franklin said. “They’ve been waiting to get in. I’m quite confident they’re going to do a good job.”

Miami spring injury report

February, 18, 2010
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It's time to find out who Miami's backup quarterback will be.

Starter Jacory Harris will miss the spring as he recovers from thumb surgery, leaving A.J. Highsmith, early enrollee Stephen Morris and Spencer Whipple the majority of snaps. As a senior at Monsignor Edward Pace High School, Morris completed 144 of 225 attempts (64 percent) for 2,005 yards, 19 touchdowns and nine interceptions. Whipple transferred from UMass to be with his father, Miami offensive coordinator Mark Whipple.

Miami will begin spring practice on Feb. 23. The following players will not take part in spring practice:

Out

P/PK Matt Bosher – upper extremity
LB Ramon Buchanan -- upper extremity
RB Graig Cooper – lower extremity
OL Joel Figueroa -- upper extremity
LB Jordan Futch -- lower extremity
DL Levi Paalua -- upper extremity
RB Lee Chambers -- lower extremity
QB Jacory Harris -- upper extremity

Limited

DL Marcus Forston – upper extremity
DB Ryan Hill -- upper extremity
DB JoJo Nicolas -- upper extremity

ACC recruiting needs: Coastal Division

January, 25, 2010
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Here's a look at what the Coastal Division coaches need to address in this year's signing class:

DUKE

Defensive linemen: Redshirt juniors and seniors comprised the bulk of the two-deep depth chart in 2009, and the recent dismissal of backup John Drew plus the graduation of Vince Oghobaase makes it a position of concern. The interior line needs the most help.

Running back: The Blue Devils never quite got their running game going in 2009 and will have to start to make a push at this position to help break in new starting quarterback Sean Renfree. Re’quan Boyette will have to be replaced.

Offensive line: In looking ahead, the Blue Devils will have six redshirt juniors or seniors up front in 2010. While that’s good news for the immediate future, Duke needs to work ahead for what it will lose in 2011.

GEORGIA TECH

Defensive backs: The biggest loss is obviously safety Morgan Burnett to the NFL draft, but the Jackets need to look ahead. Safeties Mario Edwards and Dominique Reese will be redshirt seniors this year, and cornerback Mario Butler will be a senior.

Defensive linemen: For the second year in a row it’s a concern, and thanks in large part to the NFL draft. Derrick Morgan will be missed, but overall this group needs an upgrade.

MIAMI

Offensive line: Three starters will have to be replaced, including the Canes’ top veteran, Jason Fox. Both guard positions are also short-timers, as Orlando Franklin and Joel Figueroa will both be seniors this fall.

Linebacker: Darryl Sharpton is the lone senior departing, but this unit could use more depth. It’s been a problem since Randy Shannon took over. And while the staff has made progress, injuries have continuously depleted the group.

Secondary: The Canes will have to replace Chavez Grant and Randy Phillips, and DeMarcus VanDyke will be a senior. Miami improved its interceptions in 2009, but not by much, ranking No. 87 in the country with nine. Of course, it helps to get pressure up front to force quarterbacks into those mistakes.

NORTH CAROLINA

Offensive line: This is where the Tar Heels’ offensive improvement needs to start, and it didn’t help that this year’s unit was battered and bruised most of the season. Two starters will have to be replaced this year and five more of the top players in the rotation will be seniors in 2010.

Linebacker: UNC needs to reload at this position, and it's taking the right steps in that direction with this class. Although Quan Sturdivant and Bruce Carter elected to return, it’s only a matter of time before the talented seniors have to be replaced.

VIRGINIA

Quarterback: The Cavs have a lot of questions about this position heading into 2010 and beyond. The good news is that Michael Strauss has already enrolled this semester, so he’ll get an early start with spring ball.

Playmakers: Vague, yes, but it’s exactly what this program needs. Part of the reason Gregg Brandon’s spread offense didn’t work was because he didn’t have the personnel to execute it. Virginia will lose its most versatile player in Vic Hall, will have to replace fullback Rashawn Jackson, and needs more than just Mikell Simpson.

VIRGINIA TECH

Linemen: The Hokies will need help on both sides of the ball, particularly interior defensive linemen. Six of the eight players on the 2009 two-deep defensive line were either juniors or seniors. Starters Ed Wang and Sergio Render will have to be replaced on the offensive line this year.

Defensive backs: This unit will be hit hard with departures in the next two seasons, as starters Kam Chancellor and Stephan Virgil have to be replaced in 2010, and Rashad Carmichael and Davon Morgan will be seniors.

Quarterback. With Tyrod Taylor being a senior next year, the staff will have to look ahead. There’s a lot of inexperience and question marks behind him. The one thing they don’t need in Blacksburg? Running backs.

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