ACC: Logan Thomas
Then came the first question. About Beamer's quarterback situation. Because of course it did.
"That would be a good start," the longtime Virginia Tech coach quipped, before conceding that, yes, he would rather have that position settled by now, and yes, a decision about a starter will come quickly once fall practice commences.
Texas Tech transfer Michael Brewer is the most decorated quarterback of a group that also includes freshmen Chris Durkin, Travon McMillian and Andrew Ford, along with upperclassmen Mark Leal and -- if the preseason media poll is to be believed -- ACC player of the year candidate Brenden Motley, who was a surprise entry among the league's five-player contingent receiving votes.
Brewer, Durkin and McMillian all arrived following the spring, so Beamer has not had a chance to watch any of them throw live on campus. But the 28th-year Hokies head coach insists that the supporting cast he has coming back eases the transition that normally comes with finding a starter so late in the game.
"I think we're ahead of the last couple years in the fact that I think we're further along in getting our running game back where it needs to be," Beamer said. "I think last couple of years we haven't been able to run it quite as well as we're used to at Virginia Tech, and I think having some experience on the offensive line, some backups that are really athletic, young kids that are athletic -- I think we're going to be more explosive at wide receiver. I think our tight ends, we've got about three guys that could block you but they can move out and maybe get matched up on the safety.
"I think the running backs are going to be more solid. Trey Edmunds was really coming along great and we expect him to get back, but a couple more guys there. So I think having people around that quarterback makes it a lot easier than what it's been the last few years, so that's the way I see it."
No quarterbacks emerged from the pack during the spring, and Beamer did little to talk around the fact that, despite not seeing Brewer, the former Red Raider who has a leg up on everyone else by almost any measure.
Brewer, whose addition Beamer attributed to second-year offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler, has 13 games of experience in two seasons of play in Lubbock, Texas, completing 41 of 58 passes for 440 yards with five touchdowns and no interceptions. The acclimation process for him, as Beamer said, is not like that of a freshman.
"We've got a couple freshmen that we're really high on," Beamer said. "But I think it's really hard for a true freshman to come in there. Lot of stuff going on."
Though the same could be said for the quarterback situation itself, receiver Willie Byrn thinks the offense has adjusted to the initial uncertainty that presented itself this summer without familiar faces running the unit.
"This year we've had to work with everyone, from the oldest guy down to the freshmen that just got on campus, and you've got to treat them all the same and you've got to learn all their tendencies and what they want to do," Byrn, a redshirt senior, said. "So it's been fun. It's going to continue to be fun, and I think this competition between them is only going to bring out the best in not only the starter but the backup and the second backup and so on and so forth."
Here's the basics:
"It didn't seem like Stanford was anything too special for the first half of last year. He was inconsistent, had bouts of drops (like all the receivers), making an occasional solid grab but never really taking command of a game. Then the Boston College game went to the second half. From there to the rest of the season, Stanford shined."
I don't know that “shined” is really the right word. Stanford had an incredible second half against BC, though Virginia Tech still lost that game. He had a big day the next week -- 7 catches, 107 yards and a TD — against a reeling Miami team in a win that salvaged some of Tech's season. After that though?
Against Maryland: 2 catches, 29 yards
Against UVA: 1 catch, 15 yards
Against UCLA: 3 catches, 34 yards
Indeed, his final three games accounted for the lowest amount of production during a three-game stretch Stanford had all year.
The BC and Miami games confirmed Stanford's potential, but they didn't exactly mark a turning of the tide. This is the problem for the Hokies' offense (and really, it has been for two years): There is talent in the receiving corps, but consistency has been non-existent.
Here's a look at the top returning receivers in the conference this year, based on 2013 yards:
1. Jamison Crowder (Duke), 1,360
2. Tyler Boyd (Pitt), 1,174
3. Rashad Greene (FSU), 1,128
4. DeVante Parker (Lou), 885
5. Quinshad Davis (UNC), 730
6. Willie Byrn (VT), 660
7. Demitri Knowles (VT), 641
8. Stanford (VT), 640
Of the top eight returning receivers, three play at Virginia Tech. That should be a real sign of encouragement for a passing game dealing with transition at the QB spot, but it's also worth pointing out that Byrn, Knowles and Stanford caught just 56 percent of their total targets last year. Overall, Virginia Tech finished ninth in the ACC in passing last year and 10th in completion percentage, despite what seems like a deep receiving corps.
Some of that can probably be blamed on the erratic aim of Logan Thomas, but the history of drops and bad routes among the Hokies' receivers is already well documented.
Byrn had his moments, including 100-yard games against UNC and Miami. He was also shut out against Alabama, had just 15 yards against Marshall and 26 in a loss to Duke.
Knowles had 99 yards against ECU and 101 against UVA. He was also limited to just two catches in six different games.
And yes, Stanford showed his potential against BC and Miami. He's only a redshirt sophomore, so the inconsistency the rest of the season was to be expected. But Virginia Tech is already well aware of potential. What the Hokies need from receivers now are consistently strong results.
- Syracuse's returning starters on the offensive line probably shouldn't get too comfortable, writes The Post-Standard.
- Virginia's Ant Harris is looking to finish his career with a bang in 2014, writes The Richmond Times-Dispatch.
- Ticket prices in the secondary market have doubled from a year ago for Louisville, writes The Courier-Journal. The ACC is paying dividends already.
- Former Patriots star Ben Watson is passing the torch to his younger brother this fall, as former NC State tight end Asa Watson signed as a free agent with the Pats, writes The Providence Journal.
- FOX Sports has a fun story on college football's strongest coach, and in it, UNC's Larry Fedora gets an honorable mention nod, thanks in large part to this photo.
- The Orlando Sentinel has an interesting look at the love/hate relationship between Jameis Winston and his Alabama hometown.
- Non-sports link of the day: For any of you children of the 1980s, here's the story of how “The Noid” disappeared from Domino's Pizza's advertising.
For the second straight year, Florida State led all ACC schools in players drafted. Seven Seminoles were selected throughout the weekend, starting with wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin in round 1 by the Carolina Panthers and ending with linebacker Telvin Smith in round 5 by the Jacksonville Jaguars. In the past two years, Florida State has had 18 players drafted by NFL teams.
Of course, it wasn’t just strength at the top for the ACC. All 14 programs had at least one player selected this year, including five apiece from Clemson and North Carolina and four from Boston College.
New addition Louisville, which officially enters the ACC next month, had four players selected this year, including three (Calvin Pryor, Marcus Smith and Teddy Bridgewater) in the first round.
Three ACC quarterbacks were selected, led by Virginia Tech’s Logan Thomas (No. 120). Pitt’s Tom Savage (No. 135) and Clemson’s Tajh Boyd (No. 213) were also taken.
Duke corner Ross Cockrell was taken with pick No. 109 by the Bills, becoming just the third Blue Devils player drafted since 2001. He was also the highest-selected Duke defensive player since Mike Junkin was taken fifth overall in 1987.
Miami had three players selected over the weekend (Brandon Linder, Pat O'Donnell and Seantrel Henderson), extending its streak of consecutive years with at least one player drafted to 41. Florida State and Virginia extended streaks of their own to 32 years.
Of the ACC underclassmen who declared for this year’s draft, four went undrafted. FSU running back James Wilder Jr. inked a free-agent deal with the Cincinnati Bengals, Syracuse running back Jerome Smith signed with the Atlanta Falcons and NC State defensive lineman Carlos Gray signed with the Green Bay Packers.
Among other notable undrafted free agents in the league, former Miami quarterback Stephen Morris signed with Jacksonville, UNC quarterback Bryn Renner inked a deal with Denver, FSU receiver Kenny Shaw signed with Cleveland, Tar Heels offensive lineman James Hurst signed with the Ravens and former BC quarterback Chase Rettig signed with Green Bay.
Boston College (March 12)
Big name: RB Andre Williams. Representatives from 29 NFL teams were on hand to see the nation's top running back from last season. Williams says he improved on his combine 40-yard-dash time of 4.56. Also of note: Nate Freese, who went 20 of 20 last season on field goal tries, did not disappoint in front of his future employers, hitting a 60-yard try.
Big name: WR Sammy Watkins. Watkins stood on his 40 time of 4.43 from the combine but was there to help out quarterback Tajh Boyd, doing little to change the general consensus that he is the top receiver in this year's draft. Boyd said scouts told him his performance was much better than his showings at the combine and Senior Bowl, as he connected on short, intermediate and deep routes with familiar receivers in familiar environs.
Duke (March 26)
Big name: CB Ross Cockrell. Cockrell improved on his combine results, with Duke saying that his 40 time was sub-4.4, which is better than what he ran in Indianapolis (4.56).
Florida State (March 17)
Big name: Where to begin? DL Timmy Jernigan slightly improved his combine 40-time from 5.06 to 5.03. S Terrence Brooks, LB Telvin Smith, DB Lamarcus Joyner and LB Christian Jones all drew a crowd, but they declined to run the 40 in front of reps from all 32 NFL teams, content to sit on their combine performances.
Georgia Tech (March 28)
Big name: LB Jeremiah Attaochu. Attaochu ran drills at both linebacker and defensive lineman, recovering nicely from a hamstring injury in the Senior Bowl that forced him out of the combine. He said his 40 time was in the 4.5s. DB Jemea Thomas also impressed, reportedly running a 4.38 40.
Louisville (March 17)
Big name: QB Teddy Bridgewater. With scouts from 29 teams watching, Bridgewater was off target with several of his throws. He ran an unofficial 4.78 40 time, but the potential No. 1 pick misfired on at least 10 passes, leaving some questions lingering heading into the draft.
Miami (April 3)
Big name: OT Seantrel Henderson. This is the name that is going to stick out, as Henderson did not finish his workouts. His agent later told reporters that it was due to dehydration. With 30 NFL teams represented, quarterback Stephen Morris took a strong step forward, reportedly completed almost all of his 67 throws.
North Carolina (March 25)
Big name: TE Eric Ebron. Ebron stood on his 40 time from the combine of 4.60, but his pro day was marred by several dropped passes, though the always upbeat tight end was not stressed about the drops when speaking to reporters afterward.
NC State (March 25)
Big name: CB Dontae Johnson. Johnson showed his versatility, as he can play corner or safety, and he said he felt better than he did at the combine, where he ran a 40 time of 4.45 and jumped 38.5 inches in the vertical.
Pittsburgh (March 3)
Big name: DT Aaron Donald. College football's best defensive player rested on his combine numbers in the 40 (4.68) and bench press (35 times), but teammates Tom Savage and Devin Street helped themselves. Savage impressed during a scripted 100-throw workout while Street said he ran a sub-4.5 40.
Big name: LB Marquis Spruill. Spruill recovered nicely from a combine snub, weighing in at 231 pounds, nine pounds heavier than his playing weight. He did not disclose numbers. Running back Jerome Smith, meanwhile, said he ran in the 4.5-4.6 range, which would be an improvement over his combine time of 4.84.
Virginia (March 17)
Big name: OT Morgan Moses. A considerably different-looking Moses showed up at 311 pounds, roughly 20 pounds lighter from his playing days with the Cavaliers. After clocking in at 5.35 in the 40 at the combine, he unofficially ran between 4.9 and 5.06 at his pro day, though he pulled a hamstring during one of the runs, forcing him to miss the remainder of his drills.
Virginia Tech (March 19)
Big name: QB Logan Thomas. Thomas remains a fascinating prospect to keep an eye on in the NFL, and he threw well in front of NFL scouts at pro day. Corner Antone Exum impressed as well, running 40 times of 4.53 and 4.55.
Wake Forest (March 17)
Big name: WR Michael Campanaro. After seeing his final year end prematurely because of a shoulder injury, Campanaro, the only Demon Deacon to have garnered a combine invite, again impressed in receiver drills, making his case to become a potential mid-round pick. Nose guard Nikita Whitlock, meanwhile, saw himself lining up as a fullback for the first time in his career. Weather conditions were less than ideal for the NFL hopefuls.
The finish, though, might be the most intriguing.
While most ACC fans are well aware of the draft projections for the likes of Sammy Watkins and Eric Ebron, the NFL future of former Virginia Tech quarterback Logan Thomas is far less predictable. Kiper, who assumed the role of GM for every team and picked the player he thought was the best available for that particular spot, chose Thomas last, with the San Francisco 49ers:
" ... I love the idea of letting Jim Harbaugh work with Thomas as a developmental project at either QB or tight end," Kiper wrote. "(Thomas really could pull off the conversion if he wanted to.)"
Many Virginia Tech fans have clamored that Thomas has been a tight end all along, but here is a very revealing stat to back up what coach Frank Beamer and his assistants have been saying for years: Thomas needed a better supporting cast.
According to ESPN Stats & Info, Virginia Tech had an AQ-high 36 drops last season. If the Hokies had caught just half of those passes, Thomas’ completion percentage would rise from 56 percent to 61 percent.
Another interesting late-round quarterback pick is Pitt's Tom Savage, whom Kiper selected at No. 88 in the third round to the Cincinnati Bengals:
"Savage has starting upside, and he's among the strongest arms in the draft," Kiper wrote. "He was beaten up behind bad blocking at Pitt, but is the kind of upside this roster could use behind Andy Dalton."
Kiper isn't overstating the hits Savage took last season. According to ESPN Stats & Info, Savage was under duress on 28 percent of his dropbacks, the highest percentage of any QB prospect. As a result, Savage was sacked an FBS-high 43 times last season.
Both quarterbacks obviously have something to prove at the next level, but they were also both limited in some ways last season by the surrounding talent. Neither of them performed as well as Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd, who isn't even listed in Kiper's draft. Regardless of how their careers unfold, all of them are in a position to at least have a chance. Stay tuned to see who's willing to give them one.
Let that sink in for a minute. On third-down plays in which Virginia Tech needed just 3 yards or fewer for a conversion, roughly one in three rushes resulted in a first down. That’s bad. That’s very bad.
And that explains a lot of Virginia Tech’s offensive struggles the past two seasons. Sustaining drives is tough when third-and-short plays turn into fourth-and-short plays. But the Hokies’ third-down woes don’t end with just the short-yardage runs.
Last year, a quarter of Virginia Tech’s drives ended with a three-and-out. Overall, the Hokies converted just 32 percent of their third-down tries, good for 113th nationally. Seven AQ-conference schools finished with lower conversion rates than Virginia Tech in 2013, and their combined record was 23-62. (It should be further credit to Tech’s defense that the Hokies overcame their third-down struggles to finish 8-5.)
Moreover, Tech’s third-down woes were sort of like the old Woody Allen joke about the awful food that comes in such small portions. Yes, the Hokies were bad on third-and-short, but they also struggled just to get into those supposedly manageable third-down situations.
For the season, just 23 percent of Virginia Tech’s third-down tries were short-yardage attempts (good for 110th nationally), and 55 percent of its third-down tries required 10 yards or more for a conversion (compared to a national average of 47 percent).
There are myriad reasons for this, of course, but it starts with the offensive line.
The third-and-short struggles seem perplexing, given that Virginia Tech had a big, bruising quarterback who, in theory, should have been a natural at running up the gut to pick up a first down. Instead, senior Logan Thomas was a woeful 4-of-12 on third-and-short runs last year.
And for a team that has run the ball 54 percent of the time the past two seasons, the Hokies shouldn’t be in third-and-long situations so routinely. But there, too, the offensive line offers some insight. Of Virginia Tech’s 493 running plays last year, 132 of them (the second most in the ACC) resulted in a loss or no gain, according to ESPN Stats & Info. Virginia Tech’s 3.7 yards per rush on first down last season ranked 111th nationally. Bad first-down plays tend to turn into troublesome third-down situations.
If the line can’t get a push at the point of attack, short-yardage scenarios will be a problem and first-down runs will implode into second-and-long and third-and-long scenarios. But there’s hope.
While much has been made of Tech’s inconsistent group of receivers and the loss of the equally inconsistent Thomas, the struggles on third down don’t require an overhaul. It’s simply a matter of getting better at the point of attack, picking up 1 or 2 more yards in key situations and getting better physically -- even if the overall talent level remains unchanged. (To that point: UMass, one of the worst offensive teams in the country, converted 76 percent of its third-and-short runs last year.)
Do that and suddenly those three-and-outs begin to disappear, drives are sustained and a few more points find their way onto the scoreboard. Virginia Tech had five losses by seven points or fewer in the past two seasons, and with a bit more third-down success, those all could have gone the other way.
I've reminded some fans that it's not fair to judge you based on the performance in the bowl game. How would you assess that performance?
What has your offseason been like knowing you’re the frontrunner heading into spring ball?
ML: It’s just more of a leadership role now that Logan [Thomas]’s gone. He was a guy who was a leader who rallied the troops together, got things going in the offseason, getting the receivers and running backs together, and had workouts on our own. That’s just what I’ve been doing, trying to lead the team, start working out and get ready for the season.
Obviously you saw the ups and downs Logan went through. Are you mentally prepared for that aspect of it?
ML: I try to be and I think I am, but there’s really no telling until things start to get a little crazy. I’ve seen the way Logan handled some stuff, and the coaches tell us how a quarterback should handle himself when things are going bad and when it’s good. When it’s good, you get all the glory, all the praise. When it’s bad, it’s all your fault. You just have to keep your head straight and take it one week at a time.
Virginia Tech’s offense in general has really been under the microscope obviously. How much better do you think you guys can be, and how much pressure are you putting on yourself to take it to another level offensively?
ML: I think we’re going to be a lot better this season. Last year we had a really young offense, it was our first year in the system. Now that everybody has had that year to grow, a year under their system, I think everything will be a lot more fluid and people understand the concepts and what we’re trying to get done on the offensive side of the ball. Obviously I’m going to put as much on my shoulders as I can and try to lead this team all the way.
It’s not like you’re a rookie. You’re an old guy. How comfortable are you in the offense?
ML: Being that I’ve been here a while, I’ve learned how to pick things up quickly. Coach [Scot] Loeffler, he does a really good job of breaking down the offense and trying to help us understand it the best we can. Our learning is a little bit quicker, but as far as the offense, I’m very comfortable with it, actually.
“What’s the most difficult part about being in your shoes right now?
I have experience, and I'm still the next guy up, but I haven't really done too much on the field to separate myself. This spring is going to be really important for me and also going into camp to make sure I separate myself to be the guy.” Mark Leal on the Hokies' QB competition.
ML: I think the most difficult part for me would be the lack of experience I have. I’ve been able to play throughout the years, but it hasn’t been too much time where I haven’t had a first start under my belt. Just the whole experience part of the game would probably be the most difficult part for me.
Did the Sun Bowl experience help you at all?
ML: Yes. It was bittersweet, the way I look at the bowl game. I finally got to play a significant amount of minutes, but at the same time, obviously we saw what happened. It didn’t really end too well, but it just really opened my eyes and showed me how detailed you need to be at the position, how prepared you need to be. I’m kind of glad that happened then before getting into the season. I got it out of the way.
How confident are you that this job is yours? Experience-wise it’s a no-brainer, but how much competition is there really going to be out there this spring?
ML: Being that our guys are young, I don’t look at it as there’s no competition. I still have to go out there and compete. I have just as much to prove as they do. I have experience, and I’m still the next guy up, but I haven’t really done too much on the field to separate myself. This spring is going to be really important for me and also going into camp to make sure I separate myself to be the guy.
Do you feel like you’ve been embraced by the team as a leader in the short time you’ve had that role?
ML: Yes I have, actually. As soon as we got back from break, I had teammates coming up to me saying, ‘It’s your time. I got your back. We know how you can play, we know what you can do. It’s your last year so just lead us to Charlotte and do your best.'"
- The latest 2015 commitment for Boston College comes from a key pipeline for the Eagles.
- Dabo Swinney is still evaluating his running backs, but he knows what he is looking for from this group.
- Keep an eye on Georgia Tech LB Tyler Marcordes when spring practice begins next week.
- Could Florida State have another historic NFL draft after a record 11 were taken last year?
- Seminoles coach Jimbo Fisher said Ira Denson, who has not been with the team since December, is permanently dismissed.
- The pads are not on yet in Pittsburgh, but cornerback Lafayette Pitts is setting the tone early.
- Former Virginia Tech QB Logan Thomas is happy with how he performed at pro day. Plus a full Virginia Tech pro day recap.
- Scott Shafer isn't confirming a Syracuse-LSU series yet, but he indicates the Orange are looking for some marquee nonconference opponents.
- New Louisville coach Bobby Petrino is known as a great offensive coordinator, so he is taking a hands-off approach to the defense for now.
- Is Sammy Watkins a Top 10 pick?
- Here is the latest mock draft from Mel Kiper Jr.
- Travis Haney explains why Florida State's title hopes could worsen.
- Georgia Tech picked up a commitment this week.
- Matt Hayes of The Sporting News praises Bobby Petrino's ability to coach quarterbacks.
- Eric Ebron talks about his future as a potential top draft choice.
- NC State punter Wil Baumann is spending his spring break in Romania.
- Pitt's depth at defensive end has taken a hit.
- Syracuse should be deep at running back again.
- Could Logan Thomas be a tight end somewhere down the line?
2013 summary: Leal saw action in just two games, a blowout win against Western Carolina (3-of-4 passing for 25 yards) and a blowout loss to UCLA in the Sun Bowl (12-of-25 for 130 yards and two interceptions). His 25 passing attempts against UCLA were more than his previous career total.
The skinny: The last time Virginia Tech began a season completely unsure of its starting quarterback was 2008, when Tyrod Taylor and Sean Glennon vied for the job. But after five seasons of relative consistency at the position -- if not necessarily significant success -- the starting job is a bit more of a mystery this spring, but Leal has a chance to answer those questions early.
Frank Beamer already tabbed Leal as the frontrunner in the race to replace Thomas, and his competition -- rising redshirt sophomore Brenden Motley and incoming freshmen Chris Durkin and Andrew Ford -- have zero passing attempts between them at the college level. Still, Leal’s only significant work came in relief of an injured Thomas in the Sun Bowl last year, and it didn’t go well. Leal entered a tie game in the second quarter, but the Tech offense mustered just a field goal the rest of the way and UCLA won 42-12. Still, Beamer seems to have confidence in Leal, and he’ll get a far more fair evaluation this spring.
And while replacing Thomas won’t be an easy task, it’s worth considering that Tech’s offense wasn’t exactly high-powered the past two years. The Hokies have averaged just 5.1 yards per play since the start of 2012 (104th nationally), and Thomas’ 29 interceptions over that period were the second-most by any QB in the country. Perhaps the biggest question then for Leal isn’t so much whether he’ll be ready for the job, but whether the rest of his offense will be able to provide significantly more support than it gave Thomas in 2013.
Watkins seems to have solidified his spot as the No. 1 receiver available for the draft after posting a 4.43-second time in the 40-yard dash and posting top performances in the broad jump (10 feet, 6 inches) and bench press (16 reps) on Sunday. ESPN NFL expert John Clayton wrote that Watkins "was clearly the best receiving prospect and is a candidate to be a top-five pick. ... He catches the ball with his hands exceptionally well. He reminds me a lot of A.J. Green of the Bengals."
Meanwhile, NFL.com analyst Bucky Brooks named Watkins one of his five biggest combine winners on Day 2. ESPN St. Louis Rams reporter Nick Wagoner explains why the Rams need to take Watkins with the No. 2 overall pick.
Donald continues to impress NFL scouts after his incredible All-American turn this past season. He had a great showing at the Senior Bowl and is now having a great showing at the combine. Not only did he record a fast 40 time, he had 35 reps on the bench press. Despite his small size for an inside player, Donald has the work ethic, athleticism and physical tools to make him appealing to any team. He continues to rise up mock draft charts. ESPN NFL draft analyst Todd McShay tweeted Monday:
Pitt DT Donald owning pre-draft process. What's not to like besides lenght? Productive, dominated Sr. Bowl and elite workout #'s to match!Here is a look at some other top performers from ACC schools in the last several days:
— Todd McShay (@McShay13) February 24, 2014
- Clemson receiver Martavis Bryant put up some impressive numbers, too. He clocked the fifth-fastest 40 time among all receivers at 4.42 and was in the top 10 in bench press (16 reps), vertical jump (39 inches) and broad jump (10 feet, 4 inches). Wake Forest receiver Michael Campanaro also had some impressive numbers, ranking in the top 10 in the bench press (20 reps), vertical jump (39 inches), 20-yard shuttle (4.01 seconds) and 60-yard shuttle (11.31). He also clocked a 4.46 in the 40.
- In the running back drills, Andre Williams ranked No. 3 at his position in the broad jump (10 feet, 9 inches), No. 2 in the 20-yard shuttle (4.06) and No. 3 in the 60-yard shuttle (11.62) and tied for No. 4 in the vertical jump (38 inches). He clocked a 4.56 in the 40-yard dash, making him a top performer in five of the seven drills.
- As for the quarterbacks, it was a mixed bag for guys from the ACC. Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd drew mixed reviews again. Clayton said Boyd, "has a strong arm, but his release point is all over the place. Some of his throws came a little sidearm, while the longer throws exposed a loop in his delivery." Logan Thomas had excellent measureables -- tops among the quarterbacks in the 40 (4.61), vertical jump (35.5), broad jump (9 feet, 10 inches), No. 2 in the 20-yard shuttle (4.18) and No. 4 in the three-cone drill (7.05). But when it came time to the throwing drills, he was not as good. Clayton wrote, "Thomas has the body to be a great pro quarterback (6-6, 248 pounds), but he doesn't get his legs into his throws and was inaccurate."
- Clayton writes that North Carolina tight end Eric Ebron "all but locked up the top tight end position with an official 4.6 40, best at the position. Speed has become an overwhelming requisite with tight ends having less blocking demands on NFL teams. Ebron's 40 could make him a top-15 candidate."
- Miami punter Pat O'Donnell showed once again why he was regarded as one of the top workout warriors in college football. O'Donnell recorded 23 reps on the bench press and ran a 4.64 in the 40 -- fifth-fastest among offensive linemen, tight ends and special-teamers on Saturday.
- Miami can never hide from the media.
- Sammy Watkins was blazin' at the NFL combine.
- Former Syracuse running back Jerome Smith was truckin'.
- Virginia Tech offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler is still trying to find answers with the running game.
- Logan Thomas had a good day at the combine; now it's James Gayle's turn.
- Athlon ranked the ACC's rosters heading into the 2014 season.
- Kyle Fuller's competitive nature with his brothers has helped him get to the combine.
- UNC offensive tackle James Hurst is still hoping for a good review from the NFL scouts.
- The ACC now has a bowl with the Duck Commander as its sponsor.
- Virginia's Morgan Moses could be a potential draft pick for the Eagles.
- Pitt's Devin Street is trying to separate from a crowded group of receivers at the combine.
Here is the official list of the ACC attendees:
BOSTON COLLEGE (5)
- Ross Cockrell, DB
- Kelvin Benjamin, WR
- Terrence Brooks, DB
- Devonta Freeman, RB
- Christian Jones, LB
- Lamarcus Joyner, DB
- Telvin Smith, LB
- Bryan Stork, OL
- James Wilder Jr., RB
- Dexter McDougle, DB
NORTH CAROLINA (7)
- Russell Bodine, OL
- Tre Boston, DB
- Eric Ebron, TE
- James Hurst, OL
- Kareem Martin, DL
- Jabari Price, DB
- Bryn Renner, QB
- Dontae Johnson, DB
VIRGINIA TECH (4)
WAKE FOREST (1)
- Duke becomes one of the first teams to kick off spring practice today, and the Charlotte Observer has a full preview of what’s in store for the defending Coastal Division champs.
- After inking one of the top classes in the nation in 2014, Tomahawk Nation looks at Florida State’s big needs for the 2015 signing class.
- Mike London brought an influx of “quality players” with this year’s recruiting class, writes the Daily Progress.
- Logan Thomas could still be a second-round selection in the NFL draft, writes the Roanoke Times.
- Clemson figures to have its star QB for the future in DeShaun Watson, who Bleacher Report projects could be the Tigers’ starter when the season begins in September.
- Aside from Watson, The State breaks down all of Clemson’s 2014 signings from Wednesday.
- Steve Addazio figures to have a lot more to work with at Boston College after Wednesday’s sizable signing class, writes the Boston Herald.
- As always with Paul Johnson’s teams, the rankings don’t tell the story of Georgia Tech’s signing class, writes the Atlanta Journal-Consitution.
- With Mark Stoops scoring big recruits at Kentucky, the Lexington Herald-Leader wonders if the balance of power in the state has shifted away from Louisville.
- The Sun-Sentinel writes that not all Miami fans are overly excited with the Hurricanes’ haul on national signing day.
- Syracuse inked a big class of receivers only to find out its wide receivers coach was leaving for the NFL. Now Scott Shafer has some explaining to do, writes The Post-Standard.
- Syracuse isn’t the only ACC school losing its receivers coach for the NFL. Pitt’s Bobby Engram is headed to the Baltimore Ravens, writes the Post-Gazette.
- CBS Sports finds an instant impact player from each school from this year’s signing class, with more than a few big names in the ACC.
- Tajh Boyd and Logan Thomas are participating in the Quicken Loans All-Star Challenge.
- Jacob Coker talks about his transfer to Alabama.
- The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Mark Bradley looks back on Georgia Tech's move from the ACC 50 years ago.
- The Baltimore Sun's Jonas Shaffer looks at Maryland's race to the recruiting finish line.
- Aaron Donald continues to impress, Jerry DiPaola writes in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
- New Syracuse uniforms are coming, Nate Mink writes in the (Syracuse) Post-Standard.
- The Cincinnati Enquirer's Paul Daugherty looks at the legacy of new Hokies AD Whit Babcock.
- O-lineman Adam Taraschke is back with Virginia Tech as a non-scholarship player.
12:30 PM ET Virginia Tech North Carolina 3:30 PM ET North Carolina State Clemson 3:30 PM ET Wake Forest 1 Florida State 7:30 PM ET Miami (FL) Georgia Tech 7:30 PM ET Pittsburgh Virginia