ACC: Kendal Thompkins

ACC pro days watch

March, 13, 2013
This month is filled with pro days across the ACC, and we're here to keep you updated with how the auditions have been going for those schools that provide releases. So far, Pittsburgh, Miami, Clemson and Syracuse have all held their pro days. Here's a look at some of their highlights:

  • Twelve Miami seniors auditioned for 30 NFL scouts.
  • S Vaughn Telemaque recorded the highest vertical jump at 36 inches.
  • DL Darius Smith was the lone participant to break the 30-rep plateau, recording 33 reps of 225 pounds.
  • Both RB Mike James and DB Brandon McGee took their official NFL combine 40 times. WR Kendal Thompkins had the best 40 time at pro day with 4.37.
  • LB Ramon Buchanan had the best broad jump at 10 feet, 8 inches.
  • Twelve seniors worked out in front of scouts from 17 NFL teams, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
  • The highlight, according to the paper, was Ray Graham's improvement in the 40. Graham ran a disappointing time of 4.8 seconds at the NFL combine, but improved to a range of 4.58 to 4.62.
  • Fifteen former players participated in pro day in front of 29 NFL scouts.
  • "Deon Goggins today really lit it up," said SU assistant athletics director for athletic performance Will Hicks in the release. "I mean, he verticaled 37.5 [inches]. He ran in the high 4.7s, so he put himself on the map today. But he also did that in the all-star game [2013 NFLPA Collegiate Game], he played in. He had a caused fumble, a sack, a tackle for loss, but what he did today was show his speed."

Here is the remaining pro day schedule for the rest of the ACC:

  • Maryland
  • Georgia Tech
March 18
  • Wake Forest
March 19
  • Florida State
  • Virginia
March 20
  • NC State
  • Virginia Tech
  • Boston College
March 25
  • Duke
March 26
  • North Carolina
Finally some good news for the Miami receiving corps: coach Al Golden said starting receiver Allen Hurns is “OK to play” on Saturday against South Florida, and Golden is not concerned about the depth of the position despite several injuries and a suspension.

Hurns, the team’s third-leading receiver, wore a hard cast on Tuesday to protect a cracked bone in his thumb, according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Hurns injured it in Saturday’s 41-40 road loss to Virginia. He had two receiving touchdowns in that game. Miami’s second-leading receiver, Rashawn Scott (35 catches, 512 yards, three touchdowns), is suspended, and freshman receiver Robert Lockhart is out for the season with an injury, as is freshman receiver Malcolm Lewis, according to the Miami Herald.

Golden said he is still waiting to learn the status of Davon Johnson, who was injured in Tuesday’s practice.

The Canes still have leading receiver Phillip Dorsett (42 catches, 648 yards, four touchdowns), Herb Waters (five catches), and Kendal Thompkins (two catches), and the staff also counts on Duke Johnson in the passing game. Dorsett had his third 100-yard receiving game of the season in the loss to Virginia. South Florida is ranked No. 68 in the country in pass defense.

“We’ve played multiple personnel groups, and obviously Phillip is having a good year,” Golden said. “Herb’s been playing much better of late, and Allen had one of his better games last week. We’re going to need some guys to step up for sure, because we lost Scott and Robert Lockhart in the last couple of weeks, but hopefully these guys will step up and answer the call.”

ACC: Did you know?

September, 14, 2012
Time for a final few notes and nuggets to get you ready for Week 3. As always, thanks to the awesome sports information staffs across the league, and ESPN Stats & Information for the assist.

BOSTON COLLEGE: Kicker Nate Freese, who was successful on field-goal attempts from 39 yards and 20 yards against Maine in Week 2, improved to 5-for-5 this season. He leads all ACC kickers in successful field goals and ranks tied for third among all kickers in the country in field goals made.

CLEMSON: Tajh Boyd has completed 78.8 percent (41-of-52) of his passes from the pocket this season (61.1 percent last season). Boyd was under duress on just four of his 52 attempts from the pocket and 7-of-57 attempts overall.

DUKE: Receiver Jamison Crowder is just the third Blue Devil to have 100 or more receiving yards in the first two weeks of a season, joining Clarkston Hines (1988) & Richmond Flowers (1998). In the loss to Stanford last week, Crowder (10) and Desmond Scott (11) had double digit receptions, the second time that has happened in school history.

FLORIDA STATE: EJ Manuel is 5-of-5 with a touchdown on throws of 20 yards or longer this season. Last season, Manuel completed 34.7 percent of his 20-yard throws with seven touchdowns and three interceptions. ... Florida State has allowed just 24.2 percent of its opponents’ rushes to gain five yards or more since the start of last season, second-lowest percentage in FBS behind Alabama.

GEORGIA TECH: Before its 20-17 loss in overtime at Virginia Tech, the last time Georgia Tech lost a season opener came in 2006. The Yellow Jackets lost to Notre Dame, then went on to win the ACC Coastal Division title. The last time Tech opened a season with a five-day turnaround, 2009, was also a year in which the Jackets won the ACC Coastal crown.

MARYLAND: Joe Vellano and Demetrius Hartseld have helped the Maryland front seven get extremely stingy against the run. The Terps are holding opponents to an average of just 1.95 yards per rush and of the opponents’ 80 rushes this season, 56 have been for 3 yards or fewer. That effort has led to Maryland ranking ninth nationally in total defense, a big reason for its 2-0 record.

MIAMI: The Hurricanes have 12 different players with at least one reception in the first two games of the season: Allen Hurns, Rashawn Scott, Phillip Dorsett, Clive Walford, Malcolm Lewis, Duke Johnson, Devon Johnson, Mike James, Asante Cleveland, Kendal Thompkins, Eduardo Clements and Herb Waters.

NORTH CAROLINA: Coach Larry Fedora and Louisville head coach Charlie Strong both served on Ron Zook’s Florida staff in 2003-04. Fedora was the offensive coordinator and Strong was the defensive coordinator. UNC assistant Dan Disch was the secondary coach coach for the Gators in 2004 and strength and conditioning coach Lou Hernandez had a similar role in Gainesville from 2002-04. Fedora and Louisville defensive coordinator Vance Bedford were on the Oklahoma State staff in 2007. Fedora was the offensive coordinator and Bedford was the defensive coordinator. UNC wide receivers coach Gunter Brewer was also on that staff. Brewer and Strong were on the same staff at Mississippi in 1990.

NC STATE: In the rst two games of the season, 11 spots on offense and defense have been manned by seniors who have had starting experience prior to 2012. That number is almost double the most senior starting experience coach Tom O’Brien has had during his rst ve years with the Wolfpack. The number is particularly high on offense, where seven of the 11 starting spots are slated to be lled by seniors with previous starting experience.

VIRGINIA: So far in 2012, UVa has nine pass plays that have gone to wide receivers or tight ends for 20 yards or more -- an average of 4.5 per game. Compare that number to 2011, when the entire season saw 35 passes of 20 yards or more to wide receivers or tight ends for a rate of 2.69 per game. The 2010 season resulted in 38 total receptions by wide receivers or tight ends of 20 yards or more for an average of 3.17 per game.

VIRGINIA TECH: The Hokies' current 219-game scoring streak from 1995 to the present is tied for the 15th-longest in Division I-A college history. In the 219-game run, Tech scored on its first offensive possession 73 times, plus another three occasions where it scored on returns on its first touch of the game. The Hokies have scored in the first quarter 160 times during the streak.

WAKE FOREST: The Deacs' last two wins over ranked teams have come against FSU. The Deacs beat the No. 22 Noles 35-30 last year, and also recorded a 12-3 victory in Tallahassee on Sept. 20, 2008. Wake Forest is 3-14 against ranked Seminole teams and 1-8 against ranked FSU teams in Tallahassee.

ACC's lunchtime links

August, 24, 2012
Run all your errands this weekend before the season officially begins.

Weekend rewind: Scrimmage reports

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

ACC's lunchtime links

August, 7, 2012
It's a good news day ...

Miami OC Jedd Fisch previews spring ball

March, 2, 2012
Miami’s offense will have an entirely new look this spring, as the Canes have to replace eight starters from last year’s team. I spoke with offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch about the challenges his group will face when spring practices begin on Saturday. Here are the highlights of our conversation. (Note: This interview was done before the spring depth chart was released on Thursday.)

What does Stephen Morris have to do to grasp the reins of that offense, and how much is he going to be pushed by the other guys on the roster?

Jedd Fisch: Well, what he has to do is grab the reigns of the offense. He has to have total command of it. I thought he did a tremendous job of everything we asked him to do last year on the practice field and the reps he did have. Stephen is going to have a great year for us, I really believe that. He’s got an extremely strong arm, he’s got great athleticism, all he has to do is own it – own it the way Jacory owned it, and really improve upon -- and I think he has -- his football knowledge. He’s done a great job there. I’m excited to watch him go.

[+] EnlargeStephen Morris
Andrew Shurtleff/US PresswireQB Stephen Morris is expected to be one of eight new offensive starters for Miami next season.
Is it accurate to say it’s his job to lose?

JF: We’re always going to have competition. We really can’t say it because we haven’t been on the field with the other guys. We don’t necessarily know what the other guys can do. I think all of us going into it are really confident with Stephen, and excited to see what Stephen can do now that he’s not behind Jacory anymore.

In general, how unnerving is it for you that you’ve got to replace eight starters on offense?

JF: Yeah, well, it’s interesting. It’s certainly challenging. We’ll end up losing our center, left tackle, our running back with the most reps in, our two wide receivers with the most production and our quarterback who completed 65 percent of his passes and was the captain of the team. And our starting tight end. So we obviously know that that’s a challenge, but we’re also looking forward to it. I think it’s going to be fun to watch the young guys step up. I think spring will be very different than fall for us this year, based on the fact that so many guys a year ago participated in both spring and fall, where with this group, so many guys are coming in with the 32 guys we signed. That’s going to be a substantial difference.

It’s going to be almost like a whole new team come summer camp, right?

JF: Exactly. We’ll have a whole new group of guys coming into training camp. It’s going to be different. All six wide receivers we signed will be here for training camp. None of them will be here for spring ball. The passing game is going to be a little interesting in the spring, but it’s going to be a great opportunity for Phillip Dorset, a great opportunity for Rashawn Scott, a great opportunity for Allen Hurns and Kendal Thompkins, the four guys that are coming back to really take rep after rep after rep. Same with the running backs, for Michael (James) and Eduardo (Clements), to secure where their places are, and for Clive Walford to improve. It’s going to be fun. It’s certainly going to be different than the veteran-type team we had a year ago.

How about your offensive line? What’s the depth chart look like there?

JF: (He laughed). Yeah, isn’t it funny how this conversation is a little different from the one we had a year ago?

No kidding.

JF: Our offensive line is going to be a major competition. We’re really not exactly sure who’s going to end up starting. The good thing we do know is that everybody that’s on the offensive line will be here in the spring. The guys we signed on the offensive line are here early. … The only guy who’s not here is Danny Isidora. That will make a huge difference. We can watch all those guys compete. We’re going to have to see where Malcolm Bunche and Seantrel Henderson are. At the end of spring last year, we were really pleased with the way Malcolm Bunche was playing. Seantrel had back surgery. Now that everybody is healthy and back, it will be interesting to see how that all works out.

How does all of this youth change what you can do with the playbook? How much do you have to scale back?

JF: We’re going through that process right now. We’re looking at everything. We’re looking at everything and making decisions on what our guys can handle, what they’ll do well and what we call. A lot of it has to do with, you go into a season thinking you’re going to do something, and then as the season progresses, you realize you’re doing something else. You ask yourself, No. 1 why, and No. 2 what can we do to make it better? We’re in the process of doing all of the evaluations. Our goal this spring is to get better fundamentally. If you’re going to get better fundamentally, you’re going to cut back on some things schematically.

At running back, who’s the guy who’s at the top without Lamar?

JF: You could put Michael and Eduardo Clements next to each other. Those two guys are going to be challenging each other as you saw as the season progressed. Eduardo got more and more carries. He really became a valuable short-yardage player for us. Michael, from the Duke game on, he was healthy and started running the ball well. Those two guys are going to duke it out until Duke gets here and Danny Dillard gets here, and then when the four of them are here, it will be a nice, four-way competition.

Speaking of Duke, Miami fans seem to be super excited about Duke Johnson. What did you guys like about him in the recruiting process?

JF: Duke’s everything you want when you recruit a player because he doesn’t want to be recruited, he wants to tell you how much he wants to be a part of the program. It wasn’t about trying to sell Miami to Duke. Duke was sold on Miami and was excited to be a part of Miami football. He’s an electric player. He can make every play. He can catch the football, he can run the football, he can make guys miss, he can run between the tackles, he can run outside the tackles. He’s got speed, he’s got elusiveness. I think what got the Miami fans most excited is anyone who can have 376 yards in a state championship game is a pretty elite player, especially when it’s in the state of Florida. He’s got that dynamic ability we’re all excited to see in person.
We’ve already taken a look at what the recruiting needs were for the Atlantic Division. Let’s shift our attention to the Coastal Division. Here’s a look at where each school’s biggest holes will be in 2012 or are anticipated to be in the near future:


Offensive skill positions: After last year’s rare class that didn’t include either a quarterback or running back, both positions are needed in this group. Quarterback Thomas Sirk -- the MVP of the 57th annual Florida Athletic Coaches Association North-South All-Star Football Classic last December -- has already enrolled in school while Shaquille Powell -- a PARADE All-American running back from Las Vegas -- has committed to the program. In addition, with David Cutcliffe’s offense, wide receivers and tight ends also are a priority.

Kicker: Will Snyderwine, who earned first team All-America honors as a junior before struggling through a sub-par season in 2011, graduated, but Duke has a commitment from Ohio native Ross Martin, considered the No. 2 placekicking prospect in the country by

Safety: With the transition to a 4-2-5 alignment that utilizes three safeties, this becomes an annual point of emphasis. The Blue Devils lose All-American Matt Daniels to graduation.


Defensive line: This is the most glaring need in the current class. The Yellow Jackets have to replace senior starters Logan Walls (DT) and Jason Peters (DE), but return Izaan Cross (DE) and solid backups T.J. Barnes (DT), Emmanuel Dieke (DE) and Euclid Cummings (DE). The Jackets are expected to sign about 18 players in this year’s class, and five of them should be defensive linemen.

Wide receiver:This is another glaring need after the departures of Stephen Hill, who decided to leave early for the NFL draft, and Tyler Melton. Darren Waller and Jeff Greene, who both played last season as true freshmen, have lots of potential, but the position still needs depth.


Defensive backs: There’s still a lot of depth with this group, and the return of Ray-Ray Armstrong and Vaughn Telemaque helps, but the Canes have to replace two starters in the secondary and have six commits in the current class to help do that.

Defensive line: The Canes have to replace Adewale Ojomo, Micanor Regis, Andrew Smith and Olivier Vernon from last year’s two-deep. The defensive end position was a particular focus in this class.

Receiver: This position lost a lot with the departures of Tommy Streeter, LaRon Byrd and Travis Benjamin. Allen Hurns is now the veteran of the group, along with redshirt senior Kendal Thompkins. There are five receivers currently committed in this class.

Quarterback: Beyond Stephen Morris, Miami has a lot of questions at the position and not a lot of experience. True freshmen Gray Crow and Preston Dewey are already on the roster, along with redshirt sophomore Ryan Williams.


Defensive line: This is one of the biggest areas of concern after the departures of Quinton Coples and Tydreke Powell.

Receivers: Larry Fedora’s offense will make good use of this group, but he needs to replace standout Dwight Jones.

Linebackers: This group was thin to begin with in 2011, and now the Heels need to replace outgoing senior Zach Brown. Kevin Reddick is now the main man.

Safety: UNC will have to replace two starters in Matt Merletti, Charles Brown and Jonathan Smith, so this position will have to be rebuilt for the future.


Defensive back: This should be the main priority in this class. The Cavaliers will lose four DBs, including two starting safeties in Rodney McCleod and Corey Mosley, and standout cornerback Chase Minnifield. They’ll also miss Dom Joseph, who came in for the nickel packages. Demetrious Nicholson, who started as a true freshman last year, is suddenly the veteran of the group.

Offensive line: The Hoos will have to replace their starting center and left guard. Redshirt freshman center Cody Wallace could get a promotion, and sophomore right guard Luke Bowanko started in the bowl game. They’ve got some big bodies waiting in the wings, but they’ll have some questions to answer here this spring.

Kickers: This position needs to be rebuilt, as the Cavaliers lose Robert Randolph, who finished sixth all time in scoring at UVa, kickoff specialist Chris Hinkebein, and four-year punter Jimmy Howell. The position is wide open heading into the spring.


Running back: This one is a no-brainer, as the Hokies have lost four players here in the past two years. David Wilson and his backup, Josh Oglesby, were the latest to depart, and Tony Gregory just had ACL surgery and is out for the spring. The staff likes Michael Holmes, who redshirted last year, and J.C. Coleman enrolled last week.

Receiver: The Hokies will miss Danny Coale and Jarrett Boykin, and next year’s class has three seniors in Dyrell Roberts, D.J. Coles, and Marcus Davis. The future of the position is young, and the staff is still going after several uncommitted players pretty hard.

Defensive line: This year’s class already includes at least five committed defensive linemen, and the Hokies will be particularly thin at noseguard. They had some players graduate early who didn’t play a lot, but at least provided depth.

Linebacker:The Hokies have four committed, and are still chasing another just to build the depth. The staff missed on some recruits at this position last year and would like to make up for it in this class.
You asked, I answered. Readers (particularly @AsylumGodfather) were calling for more position rankings, so the receivers are up next. This could be the strongest position group in the conference, and one of the more difficult to rank, so I looked back on a few stats to help me separate them, including how some of these guys did against their best competition (i.e. Danny Coale versus FSU, wow). Here’s the final verdict of which teams in the ACC have the best combination of depth and talent:

1. Virginia Tech: With Jarrett Boykin and Coale returning, the Hokies’ passing game has a chance to flourish this fall. Boykin, Coale and Dyrell Roberts were the team’s top three receivers last year for the second straight season, combining for 113 catches, 1,882 yards and 11 touchdowns. Add to that Marcus Davis, D.J. Coles, E.L. Smiling -- it’s a bottomless cup of depth and talent.

2. Duke: Conner Vernon has 128 catches in his first two collegiate seasons and Donovan Varner ranked fourth in the ACC in pass receptions (60) and seventh in yardage (736). Their combined 274 receptions are the most of any active duo in the ACC. They are the top two returning leaders in catches per game, and Vernon is the ACC’s returning leader in receiving yards per game. The Blue Devils also have sophomore Brandon Braxton (14 catches), who could make a name for himself as the third option this year.

3. Florida State: Every Seminole who caught a pass last season returns. Bert Reed, Taiwan Easterling and Rodney Smith return with a combined 50 career starts. Reed ranks second among all returning ACC receivers with 141 career receptions. Willie Haulstead had 38 catches last season, Smith had 31, and there’s plenty of rising talent like Christian Green.

4. North Carolina: Like Florida State, North Carolina returns all of its receivers, including two who redshirted last season. Dwight Jones, who had 946 yards and 62 receptions, leads the group, but Erik Highsmith (25 catches, 348 yards and three touchdowns) must be accounted for as well. Defenses also can’t forget about Jheranie Boyd, who is a deep threat.

5. Miami: The Canes will miss the production of Leonard Hankerson, but they don’t have to if one or two of the other players show more consistency. Travis Benjamin has big-play capabilities and averaged 17.3 yards on his 43 catches last season. There is no shortage of other options with LaRon Byrd, Aldarius Johnson, Tommy Streeter, Allen Hurns and Kendal Thompkins. Which one will rise to the occasion?

6. Clemson: It was the DeAndre Hopkins show last season, and he should again highlight the Tigers’ passing game. As a true freshman, Hopkins had 52 catches, the most by a first-year player in school history. Jaron Brown returns with 10 career starts, and the Tigers also have Marquan Jones (21 catches) and Bryce McNeal (19).

7. Maryland: The Terps have to replace their top two receivers from a year ago in Torrey Smith and Adrian Cannon, and no clear frontrunners emerged this spring. Quintin McCree leads all returners with 16 catches, followed by Kevin Dorsey (15), Ronnie Tyler (13), Kerry Boykins (10), and Tony Logan.

8. Boston College: True freshman Bobby Swigert led the Eagles last year with 39 catches and four touchdowns in five starts. The Eagles are hoping to get a significant boost from the return of Colin Larmond Jr., who missed all of last season with a knee injury, but the young group should be better regardless because of the experience gained last season.

9. Virginia: The Cavaliers will miss Dontrelle Inman, who averaged 16 yards per catch on 51 receptions, but returning starter Kris Burd finished fifth in the ACC last season in pass receptions (58). The group will also get a boost from the return of Tim Smith, who missed almost all of last season with an injury, and Matt Snyder (30 catches) and Ray Keys (three catches).

10. NC State: NC State has to replace its top two receivers from a year ago, and T.J. Graham is the team’s leading returning receiver with 25 catches. Steven Howard, Jay Smith and Quintin Payton all have experience, and redshirt freshman Bryan Underwood, Tobias Palmer and Everett Proctor have also been competing for playing time.

11. Wake Forest: Chris Givens (35 catches, 13.7 average), Michael Campanaro (10 catches) and Danny Dembry are the lead candidates to start, but the Deacs are missing a spark like Kenny Moore (2007) and D.J. Boldin (2008) provided. There were too many dropped passes in the spring game, so this group has some work to do in summer camp.

12. Georgia Tech: Yes, Georgia Tech throws the ball, just not often enough or efficiently enough to be anywhere but last place on this list. Stephen Hill led the Jackets last year with 15 catches for 291 yards and three touchdowns. He should show progress this fall now that there’s no pressure on him to be the next Demaryius Thomas. If he doesn’t show more consistency, the Jackets could turn to Daniel McKayhan, Tyler Melton or Jeremy Moore.

Miami, Maryland scrimmage highlights

August, 24, 2010
A few more scrimmage notes for you, as provided by each school's sports information department:


Two defensive scores highlighted the Terps' final scrimmage on Monday. Dexter McDougle had a 21-yard interception return and Trenton Hughes had a 22-yard fumble return. It was a 125-play scrimmage that featured possessions at the offense's 5- and 25-yard line, midfield and defense's 20-yard line.

Offensively, Da'Rel Scott had 10 carries for a scrimmage-high 73 yards, including a 50-yard touchdown where he burst through the line. Quarterback Jamarr Robinson was 9-of-14 for 102 yards, a touchdown and an interception, while Danny O'Brien was 19-of-34 for 179 yards.

"I thought Danny O'Brien did some good things today," coach Ralph Friedgen said, according to the team's practice report. "Jamarr [Robinson] threw an interception [that was returned] for a touchdown. I thought Jamarr looked pretty sharp in the 7-on-7 before the scrimmage, and he did some good things in the scrimmage. I have to look [at the tape] and see how that all turned out. We just didn't put the ball in the end zone a lot. That's the thing."


  • Lamar Miller scored on an 83-yard run up the middle early in the scrimmage.
  • Travis Benjamin caught a pair of touchdown passes from Jacory Harris and Alonzo Highsmith.
  • Kendal Thompkins broke out for gains of 32 and 26 yards.
  • Andrew Smith had two of the defense's four sacks, while Micanor Regis and Marcus Forston each had one.
  • Ray-Ray Armstrong forced a fumble.
Passing leaders

Jacory Harris: 4-for-12, 38 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT

Alonzo Highsmith: 5-for-9, 82 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT

Rushing leaders

Lamar Miller: 9 carries, 85 yards, 1 TD

Damien Berry: 11 carries, 57 yards

Storm Johnson: 6 carries, 14 yards

Receiving leaders

Travis Benjamin: 3 receptions, 56 yards, 2 TDs

Mike James: 3 receptions, 18 yards

Defensive leaders

Sean Spence: 6 tackles, pass break-up

Colin McCarthy: 6 tackles

Micanor Regis: 5 tackles, sack, forced fumble

Ramon Buchanan: 5 tackles

Ray-Ray Armstrong: 4 tackles, forced fumble

Brandon Harris: 4 tackles, 2 pass break-ups, fumble recovery

Special teams highlights

- All field goals and extra points attempted by Matt Bosher and Jake Wieclaw were successful, including a 45-yarder by Bosher in pouring rain.

- Kacy Rodgers and Cory Nelms teamed up to block a punt attempt.

Miami gears up for scrimmage

March, 11, 2010
It's hard to believe Miami has already wrapped up its 10th spring practice and is about to take its spring break. Before the Canes get a reprieve, though, they'll hold a scrimmage at 7 this evening at Lockhart Stadium in Ft. Lauderdale.

The one thing coach Randy Shannon will be looking for tonight? Improvement.

"That’s the only thing you could want from a scrimmage is that each week you are improving and you don’t go backwards," Shannon said, according to the team's practice report. "We expect the running backs to keep that intensity. They can’t go backwards, because they had a little excess. You always want to improve from the week before. Guys who made mistakes, see if they’ve cut down on their mistakes. Guys who missed tackles, see if they’ve cut down on their missed tackles. Everybody has to improve. Guys who maybe had a great scrimmage [last week] have even a better scrimmage."

The quarterbacks will continue to get the same amount of reps and rotate with the first and second teams. All of the rookie signal-callers were involved in some of the highlights from Wednesday's practice. On the final play of the two-minute drill, Stephen Morris found Tommy Streeter for a touchdown in the back of the end zone. Also during the two-minute drill, Spencer Whipple led the offense into the red zone with help from passes to Streeter and Kendal Thompkins, but he was intercepted by walk-on Nate Gholston. During a third-down blitz, A.J. Highsmith threw a 20-yard pass to Leonard Hankerson.

Tonight's scrimmage is free and open to the public.

Practice reports: Miami, Duke

March, 4, 2010
There are only two teams practicing right now, but that will change soon. Meanwhile, here's a recap of what happened at Duke's scrimmage and Miami's practice on Wednesday, according to each school's sports information department.


The defense led the way as safety Jordon Byas and defensive end Justin Foxx scored defensive touchdowns and the defense forced five turnovers in a 75-play scrimmage at the Brooks Practice Field. Byas intercepted Brandon Connette for a 41-yard touchdown return. Foxx later scooped up a fumble and ran 35 yards for a score. Duke will take a spring break before resuming practice on March 17.


  • Defensive end Kenny Anunike had one fumble recovery while defensive tackle Sydney Sarmiento and cornerback Ross Cockrell carded one interception each.
  • Linebacker Abraham Kromah had four tackles for loss, including one quarterback sack. Anunike, Foxx, linebacker Austin Gamble and linebacker Tyree Glover also made sacks while noseguard Curtis Hazelton was credited with two tackles for loss.
  • Running back Patrick Kurunwune rushed 13 times for a game-high 82 yards with one touchdown while Josh Snead added 56 yards and two touchdowns on 10 attempts.
  • Quarterback Sean Schroeder completed 10 of 20 passes for 116 yards, including a 36-yard touchdown pass to wideout Conner Vernon. He was intercepted once and added a 7-yard touchdown run.
  • Austin Kelly caught a scrimmage-best four passes for 36 yards while Tyree Watkins had three grabs for 33 yards.

“We had good work today; a lot of things happened. We made it very game-like; played field position; played the game. The best thing that happened was our defense taking the ball away. Jordon Byas intercepted a pass early, took it back for a score, and kind of set the tempo of the game.” -- Coach David Cutcliffe


The Canes went two hours in full pads and will practice again on Friday before having a closed scrimmage on Saturday. Miami finished practice working in 9-on-9 situations with some special teams work sprinkled in between the two periods. UM also worked on field goal protection before ending practice working in 11-on-11, blitz and third-down team situations.


  • Senior defensive back DeMarcus Van Dyke had an interception during the blitz period.
  • Junior quarterback Spencer Whipple found Kendal Thompkins for a nice gain of more than 20 yards over the middle.
  • Junior wide receiver LaRon Byrd ended the blitz period with a grab as he snatched a ball thrown by Stephen Morris out of the air over three defenders.

"We have more depth. I’m not worried about five offensive linemen making practice or seven offensive linemen or five defensive linemen. We have depth now. You feel good about your team. You feel good about the progress you’ve made. You also just feel good, because you have numbers to work with. You see guys that have grown and gotten bigger. You look at LaRon Byrd and how big he is. You look at offensive line with big physical guys. The defensive line is big and physical. When I first took over, we were very small. Right now, we can do the things we need to get done." -- Coach Randy Shannon

Miami practice report

March, 3, 2010
Why all the love for Miami these days? Well, because the Canes are practicing.

A few notes from Tuesday's practice session, according to the sports information department:

  • The Canes worked on third-down blitz situations, inside run, and pass-rushing drills along with the usual offensive and defensive position drills before wrapping up practice with 11-on-11 team drills.
  • Redshirt freshman running back Lamar Miller practiced for the first time this spring. Miller, who spent last week getting ready for the ACC indoor championships, had a few long runs along with running backs Damien Berry and Mike James.
  • Sophomore safety Vaughn Telemaque intercepted a pass in team drills and also made a pass breakup.
  • Senior wide receiver Leonard Hankerson continued to impress as he caught several passes in 7-on-7 and other passing drills.
  • Junior wideout Travis Benjamin had a 20-yard gain from quarterback A.J. Highsmith in 7-on-7.
  • Junior quarterback Spencer Whipple also had a nice pass to Thearon Collier in team drills. Collier and Kendal Thompkins made a few nice receptions in the team period.

Miami's offensive options seemingly endless

September, 23, 2009

Posted by’s Heather Dinich

When Miami coach Randy Shannon took over the program three seasons ago, there were only about three or four scholarship receivers on the roster -- far below the usual eight to 10 most schools carry. So this offseason, when receivers coach Aubrey Hill faced the popular question, ‘You’ve got so many receivers, wouldn’t you rather just have one guy?’ his response was logical:

“I said, ‘If you’re at Christmas, would you rather have one toy, or as many toys as you can?”
 AP Photo/J. Pat Carter, File
 Miami offensive coordinator Mark Whipple has plenty of options.

Now, after building depth with recruiting classes that included some of the elite talent in the country, and players who could contribute immediately, the Hurricanes’ toy box overfloweth.

Twelve different players have caught at least one pass for the No. 9-ranked Hurricanes heading into Saturday’s showdown at No. 11 Virginia Tech. And six of them have at least five catches. Seven different players have scored touchdowns in wins over two ranked ACC opponents. Three different receivers have run a reverse. Miami returns nine of its top 10 leaders in all-purpose yards from 2008. Running backs Graig Cooper and Javarris James have helped the Canes to a 7-2 record when they combine for at least 25 carries. And, of course, they’ve finally got a quarterback to lead them all in Jacory Harris.

“This Miami team we’re getting ready to play,” said Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer, “Wow.”

Receivers Travis Benjamin, Thearon Collier, Davon Johnson and Kendal Thompkins bring straight speed, quickness, elusiveness and big-play capabilities. Leonard Hankerson and Aldarius Johnson are talented possession players with great hands who move the chains. LaRon Byrd and Tommy Streeter can stretch the field deep with their speed and height. Cooper is elusive, while James is the power back, and Lee Chambers and Mike James provide dependable depth at the position. Tight ends Jimmy Graham and Dedrick Epps have both given the offense a boost, while the offensive line makes it all possible.

 Steve Mitchell/US Presswire
 Graig Cooper has averaged 5.2 yards per carry so far.
“The opposing team can’t just focus on one player,” said Byrd. “You look at a lot of teams in the country, like Oklahoma State. They have Dez Bryant, so you have the defense lock on Dez Bryant and the offense is going to have a tough time. You look at Alabama, Julio Jones. They lock down on him and Alabama is going to have a tough time. You look at us, we have so many weapons you can’t just lock on one player. If you double up on Travis Benjamin, then Aldarius Johnson is going to have a big game. If you double up on him, then Hankerson is going to have a big game, and so forth and so forth.”

Miami’s versatility is not only in its athletes, but also in its playbook. The addition of offensive coordinator Mark Whipple, coupled with the wide array of abilities, size and speed on the roster, has made Miami’s offense the total package and extremely difficult to defend.

“He’s just so creative, bringing so many different offenses and making it Miami’s offense,” Hill said. “He’s been one of the most creative offensive coordinators I’ve been around and knowing how to set-up plays, run and pass. That’s been really good for the whole coaching staff and also the players because they’re really, really excited to come into the meeting room to see what the mad scientist is creating next.”

In fact, some of the Canes have gotten into it so much some have tried to write their own plays on the board.

“Some have had consideration,” Hill said with a chuckle, “and some haven’t.”

Almost all of the players, though, have had their moments in the spotlight.

“We spread the wealth around to each guy,” Shannon said. “They know that they have to run their routes and everything full speed because they don’t ever know when Jacory is going to throw the football to them. That’s the difference in this team.

“The best thing about it is the competition in practice. You don’t have to worry about a guy getting too extreme as far as thinking he’s the guy who makes the offense run, or he’s the guy who makes the defense run. We’ve got depth at those positions to say, ‘You know what? You don’t want to work hard? OK, fine. We love you, and you’re part of this program, but we’re going to go with somebody else.’ That’s a big help.”

And it’s a nightmare for opposing defenses -- even ones as renowned as Virginia Tech's.

“I’ve got a lot of respect for them,” said Virginia Tech defensive coordinator Bud Foster. “They’re just right now, really a complete football team.”

Around the ACC: Parker leads the way in Clemson scrimmage

August, 12, 2009

Posted by's Heather Dinich

Here's your daily dose of practice reports from Tuesday, as reported by each school's sports information office:


Kavell Conner and Brandon May each had eight tackles to key the defense in Clemson's first of three scrimmages of the preseason on Tuesday morning.

Four quarterbacks worked in the scrimmage that was 87 plays in length before the team went into a short-yardage situation drill. Kyle Parker completed 8 of 18 passes for 97 yards and a touchdown, a 39-yard scoring pass to tight end Durell Barry. Willy Korn was 4-for-9 for 41 yards, while Mike Wade was 4-of-7 for 49 yards. Freshman Taj Boyd, who worked with the third offense against the third defense, was sharp and completed 7-of-10 passes for 70 yards.

Two redshirt freshmen were the top receivers on the day. Brandon Ford had five catches for 60 yards and Jaron Brown added three for 48 yards. The tight ends were prominent during the scrimmage catching a combined eight passes. Michael Palmer had four catches for 33 yards.

C.J. Spiller was the top rusher with 10 carries for 60 yards and he also added a 7-yard pass reception. Jamie Harper had three rushes for 18 yards, while Rendrick Taylor added four for 17.

The defense played well, allowing just one touchdown all day, the 39-yard scoring pass from Parker to Barry. Conner had a tackle for loss to go with his eight tackles. Jarvis Jenkins was the top tackler up front with five stops, including a tackle for loss. Ricky Sapp had two sacks to pace the defensive ends. There were two interceptions by the defense, one by Xavier Brewer and one by Carlton Lewis.

"We did some things well, but we still have a long way to go," said coach Dabo Swinney. "The defense is definitely ahead of the offense at this point and you see that at this point in preseason. But we had way too many penalties and mistakes on offense.

Clemson will be back on the practice fields for two practices on Wednesday.


The Terps continued practice without pads, spending much of the session working on timing, technique and learning the playbook.

For the second straight day, the team practiced in high heat and humidity as temperatures soared into the mid 90s. The weather may have played a role in Tuesday's workout.

"Today wasn't as good as Day 1," said coach Ralph Friedgen. "We didn't catch it as well as I like us to. But we still got a lot done. We had a lot of reps. We got a lot of young kids plenty of work. We're running two teams so I'm like a traffic cop out there."

In order to get more work for a roster which has 58 of its 85 scholarship with three or four years of eligibility left, Friedgen has split the practice into two groups, with the first and third teams squaring off against each other, and second and fourth teams working on an adjacent field.

"The good thing about this team, there's competition," said Friedgen. "Everybody has to compete. There's very few jobs that are set other than say [Chris] Turner's. But I'm looking for Jamarr Robinson to come on as well. But I'm not disappointed in the play of two young quarterbacks. I'm kind of amazed from what we have in that they're able to get out of the huddle. They're not finished products by any stretch, but they've picked things up well."


Day 4 was highlighted by several big runs from freshman running back Lamar Miller, as well as a strong showing by the tight ends in 7-on-7 action.

The Hurricanes donned shells for the second straight day. After a slow start to practice, the team picked up its pace as practice wore on.

"As a group, we started off slow today; but we finished up fast," coach Randy Shannon said. "We can't come out and start off slow and then try to pick it up at the end. That is part of practice. We have to get focused tomorrow and stay focused on the big picture."

Temperatures remained consistent with the first three days of practice, with hot, humid conditions on the Greentree Practice Fields.

The team will return to practice Wednesday morning wearing full pads for the first time in camp.

• Freshman defensive linemen Olivier Vernon and Luther Robinson each recorded a sack in 11-on-11 action.
• Sophomore quarterback Jacory Harris hooked up with sophomore Travis Benjamin and freshman Kendal Thompkins for deep balls in 11-on-11 play.
• Freshman Lamar Miller had two big runs on the morning, one that went for a 60-plus-yard touchdown.
• Jordan Futch forced and recovered a fumble in full-team action.
• Tight ends stood out in 7-on-7 play, with seniors Jimmy Graham and Richard Gordon and freshman Billy Sanders all recording a catch.
Taylor Cook found Thearon Collier for a long touchdown in 11-on-11.


Wake Forest practiced for two hours Tuesday night at the Doc Martin Football Practice Complex. The fourth practice of the preseason marked the Demon Deacons' final practice in shells. The squad will wear full pads for the first time when it hits the practice field on Wednesday afternoon at 3 p.m.

"It was a little scary tonight, a lot of contact, lot of guys running into each other," said coach Jim Grobe. "We're trying to keep the guys high and on their feet but we had too many guys on the ground tonight. The good news is that they were getting after each other in a good way. We'll work harder at doing a better job of being physical but at the same time taking care of each other. We had a lot of energy tonight."

Grobe noted that the younger, less-experienced defense rose to the occasion on Tuesday night.

"I thought the defense did some better things today," said Grobe. "The past couple of practices we popped some big plays on offense and the defense kind of kept those in check today. They're moving around better. Some of our young kids, they don't know where to line up or what to do but they're flying around and playing hard so it was fun. It was a fun practice to watch. Usually at the end of finals and summer school the guys start dragging but we didn't today. It will be fun tomorrow to get out and have class behind us and not have to study anything but football for the next couple of weeks."