ACC: Sean Bedford

I understand where former Georgia Tech center Sean Bedford is coming from, I really do.

And I sympathize with the Yellow Jackets' fans and players who "lost" their 2009 ACC title over what amounted to $312. The entire saga could have been handled better by both the NCAA and Georgia Tech.

But the bottom line is this: screw up, pay up.

How many times have we heard the coachspeak that football is a team sport? From the top down, Georgia Tech screwed up -- as a team. The administration went against the NCAA's wishes the moment athletic director Dan Radakovich informed coach Paul Johnson of the NCAA's intent to interview Morgan Burnett. The staff and administration took a major risk when they decided to play an athlete who was later deemed ineligible. And former receiver Demaryius Thomas, who accepted $312 worth of clothing, made the poor decision that started it all. Regardless of how small or questionable the initial transgression was, other mistakes followed, and what began as a secondary violation snowballed into one, long, 20-month investigation that ended with a major violation.

And even after all of that, Georgia Tech got off easy: No loss of scholarships or postseason ban, the two sanctions that hurt programs most on the field and in recruiting.

Yet instead of accepting the penalties and moving on, Georgia Tech has taken the Bedford approach -- win as a team, lose as individuals.
Former Georgia Tech center Sean Bedford was a terrific player and a smart student.

Turns out he can write, too.

Bedford, a wee bit emotional after learning the 2009 team would be stripped of its ACC title, wrote an open letter to the NCAA, saying that if they want his championship ring back, "you'll have to pry it from my cold, dead finger."

I was at that game. I saw Georgia Tech win it. The NCAA can't change that. And while many of us think it's a fluff sanction that pales in comparison to loss of scholarships or bowl bans, players like Bedford bring a different perspective. Here's the text of his letter, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
Dear NCAA,

Thank you for handing down penalties that only adversely affect the players who did things the right way. This reeks of an organization desperate to prove that it has some sort of control over its member institutions despite lacking the ability and firepower to police the serious offenders and protect the student-athletes whose interests you purport to have at heart.

While I realize that all violations merit some kind of punishment, I have a hard time grasping the notion that one of the proudest moments in my life (and the lives of every other individual that was a part of the team and program in 2009) is apparently worth $312 in your eyes. If that truly is the case, I'd be happy to provide you with that same amount of money (cash or check, your choice) in exchange for the reinstatement of the title my teammates and I earned through our blood, sweat and tears.

It took months of hard work, dedication and personal sacrifice by a team of over 100 players, 10 coaches and countless staff members to achieve that championship, but, evidently, it only takes the handful of pencil pushers, lawyers and professors on your infractions committee to strip us of it.

I was a part of the 2009 ACC Championship team and, while you can pretend retroactively that it didn't happen, I have vivid memories of an incredible season that was, and continues to be, one of the most fun, meaningful, important, and very real times in my 23 years on this planet. I'll be wearing my championship ring with pride and if you want that too, you'll have to pry it from my cold, dead finger.

Sincerely,
Sean Bedford

ACC's lunchtime links

July, 12, 2011
7/12/11
12:30
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CHAT!
Georgia Tech offensive lineman Omoregie Uzzi was a second-team all-conference guard last year on an offense that led the nation in rushing. On paper, the strength of Georgia Tech’s line this year will be its guards, where Uzzi and Will Jackson will be the leaders.

I caught up with Uzzi recently to tell him he had a great name for the NFL, to get his take on how the Jackets look up front and what the overall attitude of the team is heading into summer camp.

What’s the mentality of the linemen at this point, because it seemed like everything I had heard coming out of spring, Coach [Paul] Johnson wasn’t exactly thrilled with your group?

[+] EnlargeOmoregie Uzzi
Dennis Hubbard/Icon SMIOmoregie Uzzi is expected to be one of the leaders of Georgia Tech's offensive line in 2011.
Omoregie Uzzi: Basically we’re all trying to get better. We all know we have stuff to work on, and we have some young guys and don’t have as much depth or experience as we did last year. We’re just trying to get on the same page.

How difficult has that been?

OE: It hasn’t been too difficult. The only tough part about it is you can’t really get in-game experience from watching film or doing footwork drills.

How much pride do you guys take in the fact that you play a huge role in Georgia Tech leading the nation in rushing?

OE: We take a lot of pride in it. We know that every year we should be in the top two or three in rushing. It’s very important to us that we stay on top of that.

It’s going to be the first year you’re playing without Sean Bedford at center. How different is that going to be for you?

OE: Sean brought a lot of things to our line. He’s a great leader. He was up-tempo, he played very hard, and he was the type of player that played so hard you wanted to emulate what he did. I guess we’ll all be trying to fit that role now, to play as hard as Sean did. He was a great player.

Expectations are pretty high for you as well this year. What’s your own personal outlook for this season?

OE: My own personal outlook is just to do the best I can for our team. We’re not trying to lose any games this year. A lot of people are counting us out right now, so whatever I can do to help the team, whatever role I can do to help the team, I’ll do, whether it’s being a vocal leader or leading by example on the field, so be it.

You’re right about that. It does seem this year that expectations are a bit lower for you guys. Why do you think that is, how aware of it are you and how hard are you guys working to prove people wrong again?

OE: I think that’s because we lost a lot of players from last year, especially in key roles. We lost [Josh] Nesbitt, Brad Jefferson … I think the defense is going to be very, very good this year. For one thing, they’ve stepped it up a lot as far as their attitude and playing hard. It was a whole different mentality this spring as far as how hard they played. They’re not settling for anything. The offense has to step up to the level they’re playing at.

You mentioned attitude. It’s something I’ve heard repeatedly about your team, how it’s a lot better this year. What do you think was missing there last year?

OE: I think we got complacent. I guess … there’s more to it than that. You’ve got to want it. You have to have that want-to.

Who’s responsible for that? Where did the motivation come from?

OE: I don’t think it was one person in particular. Coach Johnson, he talked to us earlier in the year about it. He made more of an issue out of it this year, that we need more leadership. Last year didn’t cut it.The whole team is coming together, realizing we have to do more, we have to do better.

Are you one of the guys he expects to be a leader?

OE: I think so. I hope so.
The quarterbacks in the ACC are not strong this year. They're not weak, either.

They're a complete unknown.

With more than half of the ACC introducing first-year starting quarterbacks, there's not enough on tape yet to determine how this group will fare. There is enough evidence, though, to pinpoint which position groups -- based on past performances and future potential -- enter this fall as the strongest and weakest in the ACC:

STRONGEST/OFFENSE

[+] EnlargeDwight Jones
AP Photo/Steve HelberDwight Jones had 62 receptions for 946 yards last season, both good for fourth in the ACC.
Wide receivers: The ACC overfloweth this year with veteran receivers. Virginia Tech, Florida State and Duke come to mind first, but don't forget about North Carolina. The Tar Heels didn't lose any receivers from last year, and Dwight Jones had 946 yards last year. Colin Larmond Jr. at Boston College, who is making his way back from a season-ending knee injury, Kris Burd at Virginia and Miami's fast and talented group will also highlight ACC passing games. With Leonard Hankerson gone at Miami, somebody is going to have to emerge as the go-to receiver, and Tommy Streeter gets my vote, but he must be more consistent.

WEAKEST/OFFENSE

Center: There are three above-average centers in the league this year: Cam Holland at North Carolina, Tyler Horn at Miami, and Dalton Freeman at Clemson. Beyond that, it's a thankless yet vital position that's in transition throughout the conference. Brian Moore is replacing a three-year starter at Duke, Florida State loses one of its best players in center Ryan McMahon, the same with Georgia Tech and Sean Bedford, Virginia Tech and Beau Warren, and Wake Forest and Russell Nenon. With the exception of Freeman (22), and Holland (20), no returning starter at center in the league has more than 13 career starts.

STRONGEST/DEFENSE

[+] EnlargeFlorida State's Brandon Jenkins
AP Photo/Steve CannonFlorida State's Brandon Jenkins had 13.5 sacks as a true sophomore.
Defensive ends: The ACC has had a reputation as a defensive conference, and this year shouldn't be any different. Conference fans should be excited about the talent up front. Brandon Jenkins at Florida State and Quinton Coples at North Carolina should be two of the best pass-rushers in the country, but they're not the only players with all-league potential. Andre Branch at Clemson, UNC's Donte Paige-Moss, Virginia's Cam Johnson, and Miami's Adewale Ojomo and Olivier Vernon are all going to cause opposing quarterbacks some pain.

WEAKEST/DEFENSE

Cornerbacks: Unless, of course, you're Florida State, where Greg Reid and Xavier Rhodes should be one of the best duos in the country. Chase Minnifield at Virginia and Jayron Hosley should also be candidates for national honors, but that's about where the confidence in corners comes to a halt. North Carolina has to replace its entire secondary, and so does Georgia Tech. Clemson also lost two starting corners in Marcus Gilchrist and Byron Maxwell, and Miami lost two starters in Brandon Harris and Ryan Hill.

Georgia Tech spring wrap

May, 5, 2011
5/05/11
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GEORGIA TECH

2010 overall record: 6-7

2010 conference record: 4-4

Returning starters

Offense: 6, defense 5

Top returners

WR Stephen Hill, AB Roddy Jones, AB Orwin Smith, G Omoregie Uzzi, DE Jason Peters, DT Logan Walls, OLB Steven Sylvester, ILB Julian Burnett, OG Will Jackson, DE Izaan Cross

Key losses

QB Joshua Nesbitt, RB Anthony Allen, C Sean Bedford, CB Dominique Reese, CB Mario Butler, ILB Brad Jefferson, S Jerrard Tarrant, PK Scott Blair

2011 Schedule

Sept. 1 Western Carolina

Sept. 10 at Middle Tennessee

Sept. 17 Kansas

Sept. 24 North Carolina

Oct. 1 at NC State

Oct. 8 Maryland

Oct. 15 at Virginia

Oct. 22 at Miami

Oct. 29 Clemson

Nov. 5 Open

Nov. 10 Virginia Tech

Nov. 19 at Duke

Nov. 26 Georgia

2010 statistical leaders (* returners)

Rushing: Allen (1,316 yards)

Passing:Nesbitt (674 yds)

Receiving: Hill* (291 yds)

Tackles: Burnett (89)

Sacks: Jefferson (4)

Interceptions:Tarrant (3)

Spring answers

1. A new attitude. There were some disgruntled players on the roster last year, but that disenchantment has been replaced by charismatic leaders like Jason Peters and Roddy Jones. The sense of complacency has been replaced by a stronger work ethic, as the players now realize that ACC championships don’t come without offseason dedication.

2. An improved defense. The Jackets aren’t exactly going to pitch shutouts, but despite losing six starters, the defense had a good spring. The entire front seven had the advantage for most of the spring, all three starters return on the defensive line, and the linebackers showed progress. It was obvious the players are more comfortable in the second season of Al Groh’s 3-4 scheme.

3. A-back is a strength.Georgia Tech has at least six players who can play the position, including Jones, a senior leader, Orwin Smith, a big-play candidate, and Embry Peeples, who may be one of the best receivers on the team. The Jackets are also confident in B.J. Bostic, who impressed Johnson as a true freshman. Those four players combined to run for 1,283 yards last year, and Georgia Tech could get additional yardage from redshirt freshman Tony Zenon, who also had a good spring.

Fall questions

1. Will Tevin Washington keep his job?Washington still has the edge and is the starter heading into summer camp, but there are some lingering questions after his performance in the spring game. He threw three interceptions, lost two fumbles, was sacked three times and completed 10 of 26 passes. Backup Synjyn Days ran for 112 yards and led his team to a 21-7 win. Add to the mix a pair of true freshmen, including highly-touted Vad Lee, and it could make for an interesting August.

2. Will the offensive line be better?It’s not for a lack of experience -- Omoregie Uzzi was a second-team all-conference lineman last year, Phil Smith is a returning starting tackle and sophomore guard Will Jackson has nine career starts. It’s simply that the group didn’t play very well this spring and depth is a question. Jay Finch is expected to take over for Bedford at center, but Uzzi will be the leader of the line.

3. Special teams concerns. It was an area of emphasis for coach Paul Johnson this spring, as it should have been. The Jackets need to solidify their starting kicker and punter, and all three field goal attempts were missed in the spring game, though two were distances of 47 and 49 yards. Kicker Justin Moore, the lone scholarship kicker competing this spring, hasn’t distanced himself from the four walk-ons who played in the spring game. Punter isn’t as much of a concern, where Sean Poole had nine starts last year, but the return games also need improvement.

Spring preview: Coastal Division

February, 15, 2011
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We've already looked at who and what to watch in the Atlantic Division this spring. Here's a breakdown of three issues facing each program in the Coastal Division:

DUKE

Spring practice starts: Feb. 16

Spring game: March 26

What to watch:
  • Jim Knowles taking over as defensive coordinator. After coaching the safeties last season, Knowles was promoted in late January following the departure of Marion Hobby to coach Clemson’s defensive line. It’s not a complete overhaul on defense, but for the third time in as many seasons, a different person will be calling the plays. Knowles has also assumed the lead role with Duke’s practice scheduling and weekly preparation.
  • New faces at linebacker. Duke graduated its leading tackler from 2010, Abraham Kromah, and freshman All-American Kelby Brown is out while recovering from knee surgery. Those two slots will be wide open this spring and the competition will be among Austin Gamble, C.J. France, Tyree Glover and Kevin Rojas.
  • Offensive line shuffling. The Blue Devils return four starters up front, but they’ll be missing the glue of the line in Bryan Morgan, who graduated. Brian Moore, who has started the past two seasons at right guard, will make the transition to center. John Coleman and Laken Tomlinson are expected to compete for the right guard spot.
GEORGIA TECH

Spring practice starts: March 28 (tentative)

Spring game: April 23

What to watch:
  • Starting quarterback competition. Tevin Washington enters the spring at No. 1 on the depth chart, and it's his job to lose, as he has the most experience after taking over for injured starter Joshua Nesbitt in 2010. Synjyn Days will give him legitimate competition this spring, though, and it will increase this summer with the addition of standout recruit Vad Lee to the roster. For now, though, it’s between Washington and Days, as David Sims is expected to move to B-back.
  • Offensive line reshuffling. Georgia Tech will have to replace three starters in all-conference center Sean Bedford, right tackle Austin Barrick and left tackle Nick Claytor, who decided to leave early for the NFL draft. Phil Smith, Barrick’s backup last year, is the only one with any experience at tackle. The staff will likely have to move a player or two from guard to tackle, and only it knows who those candidates might be right now.
  • Revamped secondary. Jerrard Tarrant's decision to leave school early and enter the NFL draft left the Jackets without any returning starters in the secondary. Junior cornerback Rod Sweeting, sophomore cornerback Louis Young, redshirt freshman cornerback Ryan Ayers and sophomore safety Fred Holton are front-runners, but they all have a lot to prove this spring. Holton and Young played sparingly as true freshmen and combined for 21 tackles. Sweeting played in all 13 games and had one fumble recovery and eight passes defended, including one interception. Senior cornerback Michael Peterson may help, and safety Jemea Thomas played as a true freshman in 2009 but redshirted last year. There’s some talent, but the inexperience makes it a question mark.
MIAMI

Spring practice starts: March 5

Spring game: April 9 or 16

What to watch:
  • New staff, new schemes. Defensively, first-year coordinator Mark D’Onofrio will work with two other assistants who were with him and first-year coach Al Golden at Temple, so there is familiarity there. Linebackers coach Michael Barrow has to learn D’Onofrio’s system, but the players tend to pick it up faster if the majority of the staff is already acclimated to it. Offensively, everyone will be working together for the first time. Jedd Fisch wants to run a pure pro-style offense based on matchups, and the good news is that several of the assistants, because of their respective backgrounds, are already schooled in at least a version of it.
  • Quarterback battle. Golden has said he would like to name a starter by the end of the spring, making these practices critical auditions for both Jacory Harris and Stephen Morris. Harris has both flourished and flopped as a starter for the Canes, and his injury last year gave Morris the opportunity he needed to win the people’s choice award. Has a new era of quarterback begun, or will Harris finally have the breakout season Miami fans have waited for in his final year as a Cane?
  • Corner competition. Following the departures of Ryan Hill, DeMarcus Van Dyke and Brandon Harris, Brandon McGee is the only corner remaining on the roster with any significant experience. He played in 11 games, started one, and had 15 tackles. Redshirt freshman Devont’a Davis, sophomore Kacey Rodgers, and redshirt sophomore Jamal Reid will also compete for playing time. There are also several incoming freshmen who could be immediate contributors.
NORTH CAROLINA

Spring practice starts: March 16

Spring game: April 9

What to watch:
  • The rookie quarterbacks. There’s no guarantee that Bryn Renner will be the Tar Heels’ starter in 2011, but he enters the spring slightly ahead of the race, as he was No. 2 on the depth chart last season and was pushing T.J. Yates for the starting job at this time a year ago. The staff would also like to see what true freshman Marquise Williams, who enrolled in January, has to offer. Braden Hanson and A.J. Blue will also compete for playing time. Blue was injured two years ago and redshirted last season.
  • Running backs race. The Tar Heels graduated three key players from 2010: Johnny White, Anthony Elzy and Shaun Draughn. Ryan Houston is back for his fifth year after redshirting last year and is the most experienced of the returnees. Giovani Bernard was a true freshman last year and had been expected to get some playing time, but he tore his ACL on the third day of training camp. It’s not clear yet how much he’ll be able to participate this spring. Hunter Furr played sparingly last year and true freshman Travis Riley, who enrolled in January, are also in the mix.
  • Another strong defensive line. If Quinton Coples was an all-conference selection as a defensive tackle, he could be scary good at his natural position, defensive end. Coples played there as a freshman and sophomore, but switched to tackle out of necessity last season. The defensive line should once again be the strength of the team, but it will be reconfigured again, as Coples’ move will leave a defensive tackle spot up for grabs. Junior college transfer Sylvester Williams, who enrolled in January, could fill that role.
VIRGINIA

Spring practice starts: March 16

Spring game: April 2

What to watch:
  • The search for a new starting quarterback. With Marc Verica graduated, the lead contenders to replace him are the ones who saw the field last year -- Michael Rocco and Ross Metheny. Neither of them started, but Rocco played in six games and Metheny five. Nobody has thrown the ball more than Rocco’s 25 times. The staff will also look at Michael Strauss, who redshirted last year, Miles Gooch, and David Watford, who enrolled in January.
  • Competition at running back. With leading rusher Keith Payne graduated, the question becomes what can Kevin Parks do after redshirting last year? There’s a lot of depth at the running back position, but Parks, the No. 56 running back in his class by ESPN.com and national prep record-setter out of the state of North Carolina, came to Charlottesville facing high expectations. With Payne gone, this could open the door for him to meet them, but returning starter Perry Jones will also be competing for carries.
  • Development of the receivers. In January, Jared Green Tweeted that he had decided to transfer after finishing his degree in Charlottesville this spring, according to a school spokesman. His departure, coupled with the graduation of Dontrelle Inman, leaves the Cavaliers without two of their top wideouts from 2010. With Tim Smith coming off an injury, the development of other receivers will be critical -- especially with a new starting quarterback.
VIRGINIA TECH

Spring practice starts: March 30

Spring game: April 23

What to watch:
  • Quarterback Logan Thomas. The Tyrod Taylor era is over, and Thomas is the front-runner to succeed the winningest quarterback in school history. Ju-Ju Clayton is the only other quarterback on the roster who’s ever taken a snap, and he’ll push Thomas this spring. It’s Thomas’ job to lose, but the staff is looking for him to improve his accuracy. He played quarterback in only his final two high school seasons and was projected as a tight end. He’s still raw and learning the position, but physically, he’s a clone of Cam Newton. If he develops some poise in the pocket, look out.
  • Competition on the defensive line. The Hokies have to replace starters John Graves (defensive tackle) and Steven Friday (defensive end), who both graduated. They’ve got Antoine Hopkins and Chris Drager back, but it’s possible Drager could move back to tight end after starting 10 games at defensive end last year. Tackle Kwamaine Battle, who started the first two games before he tore his ACL and Hopkins took over, is another front-runner. Hopkins’ younger brother, Derrick, will also be in the mix, along with James Gayle and J.R. Collins. Redshirt freshman defensive end Zack McCray, the cousin of Logan Thomas, has also impressed the staff so far.
  • Tight end auditions. The graduation of Andre Smith leaves the Hokies with only one returning tight end who’s caught a pass in a game, Randall Dunn (one). Redshirt freshman Eric Martin was the second tight end when the Hokies used two-tight end sets, but he missed three games mid-season with an injury.

ACC's lunchtime links

February, 7, 2011
2/07/11
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It's the post-signing day quiet ...

Recruiting rewind

January, 28, 2011
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There’s only one way to truly grade recruits -- look at their performances on the field after they sign. Some, like Clemson offensive lineman Chris Hairston, exceed their ranking expectations. Others, like Duke kicker Will Snyderwine, make names for themselves as walk-ons. And some, like Virginia Tech quarterback Tyrod Taylor, lend merit to the ranking system.

Using ESPN.com’s recruiting database, I took a look back at my 2010 all-conference team to see how each player fared in his respective recruiting class. Some players have flourished at other positions. Only five of the players were ranked among the ESPNU 150, and five were either unranked or joined the team as a walk-on.

Here’s a look back at the recruiting rankings for the ACC’s top players in 2010:

OFFENSE

QB: Tyrod Taylor, Virginia Tech:No. 16 player in ESPNU 150, No. 3 overall quarterback in the 2007 class

RB: Montel Harris, Boston College: No. 143 running back in the 2008 class

RB: Anthony Allen, Georgia Tech: No. 73 running back in Louisville’s class of 2007

WR Leonard Hankerson, Miami: No. 61 wide receiver in 2007 class

WR Torrey Smith, Maryland: No. 54 wide receiver in 2007 class

TE George Bryan, NC State: No. 16 tight end, class of 2007

C Sean Bedford, Georgia Tech: Joined the team as a walk-on in 2006

OL Rodney Hudson, Florida State: No. 16 offensive guard in the 2007 class

OL Anthony Castonzo, Boston College: Not ranked in the 2007 class

OL Chris Hairston, Clemson: Not ranked in the class of 2006

OL Brandon Washington, Miami: No. 11 offensive guard in 2008 class

DEFENSE

DL Da’Quan Bowers, Clemson:No. 1 overall player in ESPNU 150 Class of 2008, No. 1 overall defensive end

DL Brandon Jenkins, Florida State: No. 18 defensive end in the 2009 class

DL Quinton Coples, North Carolina: No. 34 defensive end, class of 2008

DL Jarvis Jenkins, Clemson: No. 36 defensive tackle in the 2007 class

LB Luke Kuechly, Boston College: No. 19 outside linebacker

LB Nate Irving, NC State: Not ranked, class of 2006

LB Alex Wujciak, Maryland: No. 18 inside linebacker class of 2006

CB Jayron Hosley, Virginia Tech: No. 22 cornerback in 2009 class

CB Chase Minnifield, Virginia: No. 69 cornerback, class of 2007

S DeAndre McDaniel, Clemson: No. 105 in ESPNU 150 Class of 2006, No. 12 safety

S Kenny Tate, Maryland: No. 134 in ESPNU 150 Class of 2008, No. 19 wide receiver

SPECIALISTS

P: Matt Bosher, Miami: No. 4 kicker in 2006 class

K: Will Snyderwine, Duke: Joined the team as a walk-on in 2007 after an open tryout

PR: Tony Logan, Maryland: No. 21 quarterback in 2007 class

KR: David Wilson, Virginia Tech: No. 40 in ESPNU 150 Class of 2009, No. 5 running back

ESPN.com 2010 All-ACC team

December, 8, 2010
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This is usually one of the most difficult posts of the season, but for some reason, this year there seemed to be more separation between the good players and the great ones in the ACC.

Honestly, the biggest internal debate was over the kicker, a battle between Virginia Tech’s Chris Hazley and Duke’s Will Snyderwine. The coaches voted Snyderwine an All-America selection, and that was hard to ignore, as was the fact that he is the master of the onside kick, and hit four that Duke retained. Duke isn’t the most athletic team, but because of Snyderwine’s ability to put the ball in a 3-yard square, the Blue Devils were right there with everyone else in kickoff coverage (No. 3 behind division champs Florida State and Virginia Tech). The frustrating part of compiling this team is that there is always a deserving player left off -- always. There’s no question, though, that everyone on this year’s ESPN.com All-ACC team deserves it.

Here’s a look at your ESPN.com all-conference team for 2010:

OFFENSE

QB: Tyrod Taylor, Virginia Tech

RB: Montel Harris, Boston College

RB: Anthony Allen, Georgia Tech

WR Leonard Hankerson, Miami

WR Torrey Smith, Maryland

TE George Bryan, NC State

C Sean Bedford, Georgia Tech

OL Rodney Hudson, Florida State

OL Anthony Castonzo, Boston College

OL Chris Hairston, Clemson

OL Brandon Washington, Miami

DEFENSE

DL Da’Quan Bowers, Clemson

DL Brandon Jenkins, Florida State

DL Quinton Coples, North Carolina

DL Jarvis Jenkins, Clemson

LB Luke Kuechly, Boston College

LB Nate Irving, NC State

LB Alex Wujciak, Maryland

CB Jayron Hosley, Virginia Tech

CB Chase Minnifield, Virginia

S DeAndre McDaniel, Clemson

S Kenny Tate, Maryland

SPECIALISTS

P: Matt Bosher, Miami

K: Will Snyderwine, Duke

PR: Tony Logan, Maryland

KR: David Wilson, Virginia Tech

ACSMA All-conference team announced

November, 29, 2010
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The 2010 All-Atlantic Coast Conference football team as voted on by 61 members of the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association was announced today. A first-team vote was worth two points and second team vote one.

FIRST TEAM

Offense

QB Tyrod Taylor, Virginia Tech (77)
RB Montel Harris, Boston College (122)
RB Anthony Allen, Georgia Tech (108)
WR Leonard Hankerson, Miami (118)
WR Torrey Smith, Maryland (96)
TE George Bryan, NC State (92)
OT Anthony Castonzo, Boston College (79)
OT Chris Hairston, Clemson (69)
OG Rodney Hudson, Florida State (116)
OG Brandon Washington, Miami (50)
C Sean Bedford, Georgia Tech (91)
K Chris Hazley, Virginia Tech (100)
Spc. Tony Logan, Maryland (69)

Defense
DE Da'Quan Bowers, Clemson (120)
DE Brandon Jenkins, Florida State (101)
DT Quinton Coples, North Carolina (101)
DT Jarvis Jenkins, Clemson (63)
LB Luke Kuechly, Boston College (112)
LB Nate Irving, N.C. State (105)
LB Alex Wujciak, Maryland (78)
CB Jayron Hosley, Virginia Tech (112)
CB Chase Minnifield, Virginia (57)
S DeAndre McDaniel, Clemson (99)
S Kenny Tate, Maryland (78)
P Matt Bosher, Miami

SECOND TEAM

Offense
QB Russell Wilson, NC State (75)
RB Damien Berry, Miami (37)
RB Keith Payne, Virginia (30)
WR Conner Vernon, Duke (70)
WR Owen Spencer, NC State (41)
TE Dwayne Allen, Clemson (31)
OT Orlando Franklin, Miami (65)
OT Blake DeChristopher, Virginia Tech (39)
OG Jaymes Brooks, Virginia Tech (41)
OG Omoregie Uzzi, Georgia Tech (35)
OG Jonathan Cooper, North Carolina (35)
C Ryan McMahon, Florida State (47)
K Will Snyderwine, Duke (38)
Spc. David Wilson, Virginia Tech (61)

Defense
DE Allen Bailey, Miami (51)
DE Steven Friday, Virginia Tech (42)
DT John Graves, Virginia Tech (46)
DT Joe Vellano, Maryland (33)
LB Bruce Carter, North Carolina (43)
LB Bruce Taylor, Virginia Tech (41)
LB Sean Spence, Miami (37)
CB Xavier Rhodes, Florida State (49)
CB Brandon Harris, Miami (45)
S Davon Morgan, Virginia Tech (48)
S Ray-Ray Armstrong, Miami (25)
P Brian Saunders, Virginia Tech (48)
Four of the 10 finalists announced today for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award represent the ACC: Virginia cornerback Ras-I Dowling, Georgia Tech offensive lineman Sean Bedford, Boston College offensive lineman Anthony Castonzo, and Florida State quarterback Christian Ponder.

To be eligible for the award, the players must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence -- classroom, character, community and competition.

A committee of media chose the finalists from the list of 30 candidates announced in August. Nationwide fan voting begins immediately to determine the winner. Fans are encouraged to vote via the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award website through December 6. Fan votes will be combined with media and coaches votes to determine the winner.

ACC lunchtime links

September, 30, 2010
9/30/10
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Here we go ...

ACC announces players of the week

September, 7, 2010
9/07/10
2:02
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Here they are, straight from the league offices in Greensboro, N.C.:

OFFENSIVE BACK -- T.J. Yates, North Carolina, QB, Sr., 6-4, 220, Marietta, Ga. (Pope)

Georgia native T.J. Yates completed 28 of 46 pass attempts for a career-high 412 yards and three touchdowns in North Carolina’s 30-24 loss to LSU in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game in Atlanta. Down by 20 points entering the fourth quarter, Yates connected on a 97-yard touchdown pass to Jheranie Boyd with 10:34 remaining, then tossed a touchdown to Erik Highsmith in the back corner of the end zone with 2:32 left. The 97-yard pass to Boyd is the longest play from scrimmage in UNC history, topping a 93-yard pass play in 1987 and a 95-yard run in 1891. Yates’ attempts (46), completions (28) and yards (412) are the third-highest single-game totals in UNC history. He also had no interceptions against the Tigers.

CO-OFFENSIVE LINEMAN -- Zebrie Sanders, Florida State, RT, Jr., 6-6, 307, Dayton, Ohio (Northmont)

Making his 24th start -- 23rd at right tackle -- Sanders earned a team-high grade of 90 percent for his performance against Samford. The 6-6 307, Ohio native earned grades of 95 percent on passing plays and 85 percent on running plays. He led the Seminoles' veteran offensive line with two knockdown blocks and did not have a missed assignment or collect a penalty. FSU rolled up 481 total yards (296 pass/185 rush) and averaged 9.1 yards per play (7.1 rush/13.5 pass). He was an integral part of a unit that did not commit a penalty or yield a sack.

CO-OFFENSIVE LINEMAN -- Sean Bedford, Georgia Tech, C, 6-1, 281, r-Sr., Gainesville, Fla. (Buchholz)

Bedford and the Yellow Jacket offensive line helped Tech accumulate 372 rushing yards in the win over South Carolina State (third-most rushing yards nationally through Saturday's games). Bedford and the O-line did not allow a sack all day.

CO-OFFENSIVE LINEMAN -- Oday Aboushi, Virginia, OT, So., 6-6, 295, Staten Island, N.Y. (Xaverian)

Aboushi started his first contest for the Cavaliers, leading the offensive line with seven pancake blocks. He helped Virginia rush for 205 yards after the Cavaliers only topped the 200-yard rushing total once in 2009. Virginia averaged 5.9 yards per rush. Aboushi was part of an offensive line that allowed just one sack Saturday after surrendering 41 in 2009.

DEFENSIVE LINEMAN – Joe Vellano, Maryland, DL, So., 6-2, 285, Rexford, N.Y. (Christian Brothers Academy)

Vellano, making his first career start, came through with several crucial stops on the interior of the defensive line. The sophomore had 10 tackles, including five solo stops, as well as 3.0 tackles for loss and 2.0 sacks. His sack of Navy quarterback Ricky Dobbs on third-and-7 at the Maryland 11-yard line early in the first quarter forced the Mids to attempt a field goal, which they missed. Vellano was a part of the line that helped make four goal-line stops, including one on a fourth-and-1 at the end of the game to preserve a 17-14 Maryland victory.

DEFENSIVE BACK -- Kenny Tate, Maryland, FS, Jr., 6-4, 220, Forestville, Md. (DeMatha)

Tate made a number of key plays in Maryland’s win Monday. Not only did the junior notch a career-high 12 tackles, but he also forced a pair of fumbles. None of his tackles was more important however, than the last one as Tate stopped Heisman candidate Ricky Dobbs on fourth-and-goal from the 1 with 34 seconds left, allowing Maryland to hang on for a 17-14 win. One of Tate’s forced fumbles also stopped a scoring drive. On the opening possession of the second half with Navy driving to tie the game, he knocked the ball free from Dobbs on a first-and-goal play from the 4 and Maryland’s Ryan Donohue recovered.

SPECIALIST -- Dawson Zimmerman, Clemson, P, Jr., 6-2, 205, Lawrenceville, Ga. (Brookwood)

Zimmerman established a Clemson single game record for net punting when he averaged 51 yards per boot in Clemson’s win over North Texas. He had six punts for 309 gross yards and allowed just three punt return yards. His 51.5 gross average was fourth best in Clemson history and currently leads the nation. His day included a 79-yard punt, the second longest punt in Clemson history and best since 1973. Zimmerman was named National Punter of the Week by the College Football Performance Awards for the first weekend of college football.

ROOKIE -- Lamar Miller, Miami, RB, r-Fr., 5-11, 210, Miami, Fla. (Killian)

Miller led the Hurricanes with 122 all-purpose yards in his debut. He paced Miami’s rushing game with 65 yards on 11 carries and scored his first career touchdown with a 5-yard run in the third quarter. He added 34 yards on kick returns, 15 yards on punt returns and eight receiving yards.

ACC on watch lists: updated

August, 26, 2010
8/26/10
5:00
PM ET
Earlier this month I compiled a list of all of the ACC candidates who have been nominated for college football's major awards. A few more have since been released, so I figured it was time for an updated version. This one includes the Lou Groza Award, the Butkus Award, the John Mackey Award, and Doak Walker Award.

Here is the updated list:

BEDNARIK AWARD: Presented to the nation's most outstanding defensive player by the Maxwell Football Club.
  • Marvin Austin, North Carolina
  • Allen Bailey, Miami
  • Kendric Burney, North Carolina
  • Ras-I Dowling, Virginia
  • Brandon Harris, Miami
  • Mark Herzlich, Boston College
  • Luke Kuechly, Boston College
  • Colin McCarthy, Miami
  • DeAndre McDaniel, Clemson
  • Robert Quinn, North Carolina
  • Alex Wujciak, Maryland
BILETNIKOFF AWARD: Presented to the nation's most outstanding wide receiver by the Tallahassee QB Club Foundation. BUTKUS AWARD: Presented to the nation's most outstanding linebacker by the Butkus Foundation
  • Bruce Carter, North Carolina
  • Mark Herzlich, Boston College
  • Nate Irving, NC State
  • Luke Kuechly, Boston College
  • Colin McCarthy, Miami
  • Adrian Moten, Maryland
  • Kevin Reddick, North Carolina
  • Sean Spence, Miami
  • Quan Sturdivant, North Carolina
  • Alex Wujciak, Maryland
DOAK WALKER AWARD: Presented to the nation's most outstanding running back by the SMU Athletic Forum
  • Anthony Allen, Georgia Tech
  • Darren Evans, Virginia Tech
  • Montel Harris, Boston College
  • Da'Rel Scott, Maryland
  • Ryan Williams, Virginia Tech
LOU GROZA AWARD: Presented to the nation's most outstanding kicker by the Palm Beach Sports Commission
  • Casey Barth, North Carolina
  • Matt Bosher, Miami
  • Dustin Hopkins, Florida State
  • Robert Randolph, Virginia
  • Will Snyderwine, Duke
JOHN MACKEY AWARD: Presented to the nation's most outstanding tight end by the Nassau County Sports Commission
  • Dwayne Allen, Clemson
  • George Bryan, NC State
  • Brett Huffman, Duke
  • Zack Pianalto, North Carolina
MAXWELL AWARD: The Maxwell Award has been presented to the outstanding collegiate football player in America since 1937 and is named in honor of sportswriter Robert W. "Tiny" Maxwell. WALTER CAMP AWARD: Presented to the nation's most outstanding player by the Walter Camp Foundation.
  • Quan Sturdivant, North Carolina
  • Ryan Williams, Virginia Tech
BRONKO NAGURSKI TROPHY: Presented to the nation's most outstanding defensive player by the Charlotte TD Club.
  • Marvin Austin, North Carolina
  • Allen Bailey, Miami
  • Da'Quan Bowers, Clemson
  • Bruce Carter, North Carolina
  • Ras-I Dowling, Virginia
  • Brandon Harris, Miami
  • Mark Herzlich, Boston College
  • Jarvis Jenkins, Clemson
  • Luke Kuechly, Boston College
  • DeAndre McDaniel, Clemson
  • Robert Quinn, North Carolina
  • Quan Sturdivant, North Carolina
  • Alex Wujciak, Maryland
DAVEY O'BRIEN AWARD: Presented to the nation's best quarterback by the Davey O'Brien Foundation.
  • Jacory Harris, Miami
  • Joshua Nesbitt, Georgia Tech
  • Christian Ponder, Florida State
  • Tyrod Taylor, Virginia Tech
  • Russell Wilson, NC State
OUTLAND TROPHY: Presented to the nation's most outstanding interior lineman by the FWAA.
  • Marvin Austin, North Carolina
  • Sean Bedford, Georgia Tech
  • Anthony Castonzo, Boston College
  • Thomas Claiborne, Boston College
  • Blake DeChristopher, Virginia Tech
  • Marcus Forston, Miami
  • Orlando Franklin, Miami
  • Rodney Hudson, Florida State
  • Jarvis Jenkins, Clemson
  • Ryan McMahon, Florida State
  • Alan Pelc, North Carolina
JIM THORPE AWARD: Presented to the nation's most outstanding defensive back by the Jim Thorpe Association.
  • Kendrick Burney, North Carolina
  • Rashad Carmichael, Virginia Tech
  • Ras-I Dowling, Virginia
  • Brandon Harris, Miami
  • DeAndre McDaniel, Clemson
  • Deunta Williams, North Carolina

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