ACC: Nick Ferarra
October, 5, 2009
Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich
Here's the weekly release from the ACC office in Greensboro on the players of the week:
OFFENSIVE BACK: Riley Skinner, Wake Forest, QB, Sr., 6-1, 210, Jacksonville, Fla. (The Bolles School)
Wake Forest senior quarterback Riley Skinner earned ACC Offensive Back of the Week accolades for the second time this season (Sept. 14) after completing 31-of-45 passes for 361 yards -- the second-best passing performance in the league in 2009 -- and three touchdowns in a 30-24 win against NC State. In the process, Skinner became Wake Forest’s all-time leader in touchdown passes (45) and total yards (8,041). Additionally, Skinner’s 45 attempts and 361 yards were both career-highs.
OFFENSIVE LINEMEN: Jason Fox, Miami, OT, Sr., 6-7, 314, Fort Worth, Texas (North Crowley)
Miami senior offensive tackle Jason Fox helped anchor an offensive front that paved the way for senior running back Javarris James’ 150 rushing yards against the nation’s top-ranked rushing defense in a 21-20 win against eighth-ranked Oklahoma. Aided by Fox’s performance at the tackle position, the 17th-ranked Hurricanes piled on 342 yards of total offense. Fox graded out at 99 percent for the game and added three pancake blocks, while not allowing a sack.
Brad Jefferson, Georgia Tech, ILB, Jr., 6-2, 236, Wrightsville, Ga. (Johnson County)
Georgia Tech junior inside linebacker Brad Jefferson tied a career-high with eight tackles, including seven solo stops and one for a loss, in a 42-31 win against Mississippi State. Jefferson also forced two Bulldog fumbles. Despite an injury-plagued season in 2008, Jefferson is second among Yellow Jackets with 27 tackles this season and is tied for the team-lead in tackles for loss (2.5), pass breakups (two), and forced fumbles (two).
Matt Conrath, Virginia, So., DE, 6-7, 270, Oak Lawn, Ill. (St. Rita)
Virginia sophomore defensive end Matt Conrath spearheaded a Cavalier defense that allowed only 175 total yards in a 16-3 win against North Carolina. Conrath helped the defensive front hold the Tar Heels rushing attack to just 39 yards, the fewest allowed by Virginia since giving up 19 to Richmond last season. Conrath recorded four tackles and knocked down three passes at the line of scrimmage, and helped the defense limit the Tar Heels to just nine first downs, the fewest allowed by Virginia since 2007.
DEFENSIVE BACK: Cody Grimm, Virginia Tech, OLB, Sr., 5-11, 202, Fairfax, Va. (Oakton)
Virginia Tech outside linebacker Cody Grimm registered a game and career-high 14 tackles in a 34-26 win against Duke. Among his 14 hits were two tackles for loss (six yards) and a forced fumble. Grimm helped the Hokie defense hold the Blue Devils to just 38 rushing yards on 31 attempts (1.2 yards per rush). Grimm leads the team in nearly all defensive categories with 45 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, and three forced fumbles, and is tied for the team-high with three pass breakups.
Nick Ferarra, Maryland, P/PK, Fr., 6-1, 195, Hicksville, N.Y. (St. Anthony’s)
Maryland freshman placekicker Nick Ferarra handled all three phases of the kicking game in a 24-21 win against Clemson. Ferarra punted eight times and averaged 43.2 yards per punt with a long of 61 -- the third highest mark in the league this season -- and landed three kicks inside Clemson’s 20-yard line. The true freshman was also perfect in his place-kicking duties as he converted all three of his point-after-touchdown tries and connected on a season-long 43-yard field goal that put the Terrapins on the board early in the second quarter.
Robert Randolph, Virginia, PK, So., 5-10, 160, Naples, Fla. (Naples)
Virginia sophomore placekicker Robert Randolph set a career-high by converting all three of his field goal attempts in a 16-3 win against North Carolina, a game that did not see a touchdown scored until the 5:49 mark of the fourth quarter. Randolph made a 36-yarder to give the Cavaliers a 3-0 lead early in the second quarter, then extended their lead to 6-0 on the last play of the first half with a 38-yarder. After North Carolina cut the lead in half at 6-3, Randolph again extended Virginia’s lead to six points with a career-long 43-yard field goal.
ROOKIE -- Demetrius Hartsfield, Maryland, OLB, Fr., 6-2, 230, Raleigh, N.C. (Southeast Regional)
Maryland freshman outside linebacker Demetrius Hartsfield is the first defensive player this season to take ACC Rookie of the Week honors after registering a team and career-high 10 tackles, eight solo stops, 2.5 tackles for loss -- including one sack -- and one clutch play in a 24-21 win against Clemson. As Maryland clung to a 24-21 lead with Clemson on the Terps’ 28-yard line with less than one minute remaining in the game, Hartsfield sacked Tiger quarterback Kyle Parker, forced a fumble in the process, then recovered the loose ball to seal the win for Maryland.
September, 2, 2009
Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich
At this time tomorrow, I'll be on a plane to Raleigh. Send me on my way ...
- Speaking of NC State, ooh, here's one that will get Tar Heel fans all riled up. As of right now, writes Caulton Tudor, NC State is the better program. It beats UNC 3-1 in the four key phases of the game. The one area UNC has the edge? Defense, of course.
- Get to know Georgia Tech quarterback Josh Nesbitt, who I think will be one of the most improved players in the conference this year. Once you get him talking, he's a pretty funny guy, and the AJC had a little fun with him on video.
- Maryland's kicking job will be a game-time decision, as Mike Barbour and Nick Ferarra can't seem to shake each other.
- Mark Blaudschun of the Boston Globe gave BC athletic director Gene DeFilippo credit for scheduling games that put BC in a position for good or even great seasons.
- BC linebacker Mark Herzlich still has a long way to go -- and a lot to do -- but he's not letting that stop him from helping to lead this year's team.
- There are plenty of coaching tie-ins between Clemson and Middle Tennessee that making for an interesting subplot in the Tigers' season opener.
- Virginia and William & Mary are quite familiar with each other after having swapped game film from every game in 2008.
- Wake Forest returns a lot of familiar faces on it's offensive line, but they say they're different players -- and that's a good thing.
- In case you haven't noticed, it's been a quiet week at Miami. Tuesday practice was closed, and they've got today off. It's a good time to check out Manny Navarro's camp rewind and depth chart predictions.
- He's little. He's shifty. He's a blur. He's Travis Benjamin. And he tore up FSU last year. Can he do it again?
- Looks like I'm not the only one who thinks the Canes can beat FSU.
- Craig Yarborough gets that he's an unknown walk-on. But he's got a chance to change that now that he's in the starting lineup against Miami.
- Virginia Tech's defense plans on getting up close and personal with Alabama's new quarterback.
August, 31, 2009
Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich
The Terps released their depth chart, and there aren't many surprises heading into the season opener at Cal. The biggest ongoing competition remains between the kickers, and it's either Mike Barbour or Nick Ferarra. The guards have been rotating a lot in the past few weeks, but Lamar Young is now on the left, and Andrew Gonnella is on the right.
Torrey Smith, Ronnie Tyler and Adrian Cannon are listed as the starting receivers, but considering how much coach Ralph Friedgen has raved about the versatility of LaQuan Williams, who was in a tight battle with Tyler most of the offseason, odds are he'll be the first guy off the bench.
The offensive line is probably the most unsettled position for Maryland, and it will play a major role in determining how the Terps' season unwinds.
Patrick Stevens of the Washington Times gave a detailed breakdown of the depth chart, and cautioned not to read too much into Kenny Tate's status as a backup. He'll see his fair share of snaps, as his rare combination of size and athleticism will make it tough for the staff to keep him off the field.