ACC: Shawn Powell

Florida State spring wrap

May, 8, 2012
5/08/12
10:00
AM ET
2011 overall record: 9-4
2011 conference record: 5-3 (t-3rd)
Returning starters: Offense: 6; defense: 8; kicker/punter: 1

Top returners:
QB EJ Manuel, CB Greg Reid, LB Telvin Smith, DE Brandon Jenkins, DE Bjoern Werner, WR Rashad Greene

Key losses:
T Zebrie Sanders, WR Bert Reed, LB Nigel Bradham

2011 statistical leaders (*returners)

Rushing: Devonta Freeman* (579 yards)
Passing: EJ Manuel* (2,666 yards)
Receiving: Rashad Greene* (596 yards)
Tackles: Nigel Bradham (86)
Sacks: Brandon Jenkins* (8)
Interceptions: Lamarcus Joyner* (4)

Spring answers

1. Erving steps in: The Seminoles have to replace both starting offensive tackles, but coach Jimbo Fisher believes he has found a future NFL starter in converted defensive tackle Cameron Erving. The 6-foot-5, 304-pound sophomore from Colquitt, Ga., has good feet and long arms. He stepped in at left tackle, and sophomore Bobby Hart and junior Bryan Stork are battling to start at right tackle entering preseason camp.

2. Deep receiving corps: With big-play wideouts such as Rashad Greene, Kenny Shaw and Christian Green coming back, the Seminoles were already loaded on the perimeter. Throw Willie Haulstead and redshirt freshman Kelvin Benjamin into the mix, and it might be the deepest receiving corps in the country. Haulstead missed all of last season with a concussion, and Benjamin was redshirted. Fisher said the pair might be his team’s best wideouts, which is saying a lot.

3. Defensive line is stocked: Defensive end Bjoern Woerner and tackles Timmy Jernigan and Jacobbi McDaniel missed the spring because of injuries, but their replacements showed FSU will be pretty deep in its defensive front. End Cornellius “Tank” Carradine and nose tackle Anthony McCloud had nice springs.

Fall questions

1. The running game: Florida State struggled to run the ball last season, finishing next-to-last in the ACC at 112.2 yards per game. Injuries were a big part of the problem. The Seminoles didn’t find many answers in the spring. Top returning rushers Devonta Freeman and Chris Thompson missed spring practice because of injuries, and promising sophomore James Wilder Jr. miss a big chunk after he was arrested for resisting arrest in February.

2. Punter: The Seminoles are really going to miss departed punter Shawn Powell, who averaged 47.1 yards per punt and helped FSU’s defense by putting opponents in bad field position. Freshman Cason Beatty, a former high school quarterback, enrolled in classes at FSU in January and participated in spring practice. He struggled with consistency, but FSU coaches like his strong leg and hang time.

3. Backup quarterback: Senior EJ Manuel needs to stay healthy for the Seminoles to reach their potential, but there are a couple good backups behind him. Clint Trickett has added weight and threw the ball well in the spring. He’s still battling redshirt freshman Jacob Coker for the No. 2 job. FSU will also hold its breath to see if highly regarded quarterback recruit Jameis Winston of Hueytown, Ala., enrolls in school or signs a professional baseball contract this summer.
As mentioned in lunch links, Clemson announced the signings of undrafted lineman Landon Walker (Cincinnati Bengals) and punter Dawson Zimmerman (Atlanta Falcons). And a couple of generous readers have passed along a few more signings from ACC schools.

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

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

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

BOSTON COLLEGE
CB Donnie Fletcher: New York Jets

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

DUKE
S Matt Daniels: St. Louis Rams

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BOSTON COLLEGE
CB Donnie Fletcher - New York Jets

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

DUKE
S Matt Daniels - St. Louis Rams

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Hurricanes also announced that quarterback Jacory Harris and offensive lineman Joel Figueroa have both been invited to rookie camp tryouts with the Miami Dolphins.
Quinton Coples remains Mel Kiper's top defensive end prospect Insider, Luke Kuechly is still his top linebacker and Lamar Miller and David Wilson round out the analyst's top running backs available in next month's draft.

Clemson's Andre Branch is once again the No. 4 defensive end, though the pool of top pass-rushers could see some movement in the coming month.
Coples has the best frame to hold up as a 4-3 defensive end among the group, but hasn't run away. [Melvin] Ingram is closing and had a good week in Indy. Branch has the size and athleticism to move to 3-4 outside linebacker. [Nick] Perry has been very good in the draft process, though I can see some teams asking him to stand up as a pass-rusher in a 3-4. It just depends on where he lands.

The rest of the ACC lineup remained unchanged from last week:
Luke Kuechly headlines all ACC players on Mel Kiper's and Todd McShay's draft boards this week, coming in at No. 7 and No. 8, respectively.

The Boston College linebacker jumped two spots on Kiper's 25-man Big Board and one spot on McShay's 32-man draft board , and he is immediately followed by North Carolina defensive end Quinton Coples on each board.

Andre Branch jumped six spots on McShay's board, to No. 20.

Both Kuechly and Coples are No. 1 in Kiper's top-5 players by position .

Miami's Lamar Miller and David Wilson of Virginia Tech come in at Nos. 4 and 5, respectively, among Kiper's top 5 running backs. In McShay's nickel package , Miller and Wilson are the Nos. 2 and 3 backs, respectively. McShay examines potential destinations for the top running backs in this year's draft class and places a priority on ball security, with Miller checking in very favorably in that department.

As for the rest of the ACC contingent cracking Kiper's position rankings this week ...

2011 ACC postseason top 25: No. 1

March, 12, 2012
3/12/12
9:00
AM ET
No. 1. Luke Kuechly, LB, Boston College

2011 stats: He finished with 191 total tackles (102 solo), 15.9 tackles per game, 12 tackles for loss, and three interceptions, including one for a touchdown.

Previously ranked: No. 1

Making the case for Kuechly: In only three seasons, Kuechly became one of, if not the most decorated defender in league history. He won the Lombardi Award, given annually to the nation’s top lineman or linebacker; the Nagurski Award, given annually to the nation’s top defensive player; the Dick Butkus Award, which is presented annually to the nation’s top linebacker; and was named the LOTT IMPACT Defensive Player of the Year. You’d never know it by talking to him, though, as Kuechly remained one of the most humble players in the league. He was a relentless player, a hard-hitter who seemed to be everywhere at once. He was more than just a tackling machine. He made game-changing plays and could disrupt the passing game. He ended his junior season leading the nation in tackles for the second straight year. Kuechly set ACC records for tackles in a season (191) and career (532) in 2011. He led the nation in tackles and solo tackles for the second straight year, averaging an NCAA-record 15.92 hits per game. He also finished with an ACC-record 532 career tackles, just 14 shy of the NCAA’s career record. His 14.0 career tackle average is an ACC and NCAA record. There’s no question he deserves the top spot for 2011.

No. 2 David Amerson, CB, NC State

No. 3 Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson

No. 4 David Wilson, RB, Virginia Tech

No. 5 Dwayne Allen, TE, Clemson

No. 6 Tajh Boyd, QB, Clemson

No. 7 Matt Daniels, S, Duke

No. 8 Andre Branch, DE, Clemson

No. 9 Brandon Thompson, DT, Clemson

No. 10 Giovani Bernard, RB, North Carolina

No. 11 Logan Thomas, QB, Virginia Tech

No. 12 Blake DeChristopher, OT, Virginia Tech

No. 13 Shawn Powell, P, Florida State

No. 14 Zach Brown, LB, North Carolina

No. 15 Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina

No. 16 Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech

No. 17 Sean Spence, LB, Miami

No. 18 Zebrie Sanders, OT, Florida State

No. 19 Joe Vellano, DT, Maryland

No. 20 Lamar Miller, RB, Miami

No. 21 Chris Givens, WR, Wake Forest

No. 22 Terrell Manning, LB, NC State

No. 23 Matt Conrath, DT, Virginia

No. 24 Omoregie Uzzi, RG, Georgia Tech

No. 25 Brandon Jenkins, DE, Florida State

2011 ACC postseason top 25: No. 2

March, 9, 2012
3/09/12
11:00
AM ET
No. 2. David Amerson, CB, NC State

2011 stats: He started 13 games and finished the season with 59 tackles, five pass breakups, and 13 interceptions for 205 yards and two touchdowns.

Previously ranked: Not ranked.

Making the case for Amerson: He was a first-team Walter Camp All-American, and led the FBS with 13 interceptions -- six more than any other player. It was the most in the FBS since 1968 and tied as the second-best total in FBS history. He broke the ACC’s single-season interception record in the upset of No. 7-ranked Clemson. He also broke the school’s single-season interception record of nine that had stood for 73 years and was set by Art Rooney in 1937 and 1938. He was one of just three true freshmen to start a game for the Pack in 2010. To say he had a breakout sophomore season is an understatement. In 2010, he didn’t have one pick in 640 snaps. He found his comfort zone after moving from boundary to field corner.

No. 3 Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson

No. 4 David Wilson, RB, Virginia Tech

No. 5 Dwayne Allen, TE, Clemson

No. 6 Tajh Boyd, QB, Clemson

No. 7 Matt Daniels, S, Duke

No. 8 Andre Branch, DE, Clemson

No. 9Brandon Thompson, DT, Clemson

No. 10Giovani Bernard, RB, North Carolina

No. 11 Logan Thomas, QB, Virginia Tech

No. 12Blake DeChristopher, OT, Virginia Tech

No. 13 Shawn Powell, P, Florida State

No. 14 Zach Brown, LB, North Carolina

No. 15Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina

No. 16 Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech

No. 17 Sean Spence, LB, Miami

No. 18Zebrie Sanders, OT, Florida State

No. 19Joe Vellano, DT, Maryland

No. 20 Lamar Miller, RB, Miami

No. 21Chris Givens, WR, Wake Forest

No. 22 Terrell Manning, LB, NC State

No. 23Matt Conrath, DT, Virginia

No. 24Omoregie Uzzi, RG, Georgia Tech

No. 25 Brandon Jenkins, DE, Florida State

2011 ACC postseason top 25: No. 3

March, 8, 2012
3/08/12
10:30
AM ET
No. 3. Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson

2011 stats: He had 82 receptions for 1,219 yards and 12 touchdowns, 231 yards on 32 carries, and 33 kickoff returns for 826 yards and one touchdown. He finished with 2,288 all-purpose yards in 656 snaps over 13 games (10 starts). Watkins averaged 14.9 yards per catch, 7.2 yards per carry, and 25 yards per kickoff return. He also completed his only pass for nine yards.

Previously ranked: Not ranked

Making the case for Watkins: If you watched him at all last season, he made the case for himself, as a primary receiver, ball carrier and kick returner. He set several school records as a true freshman, but he has remained humble and willing to learn and get better. He quickly established himself as one of the best players in the country, finishing fourth in the nation in all-purpose yards per game (176.0) and 16th in receiving yards per game. He was first in the ACC in all-purpose yards per game, second in receiving yards per game, second in kickoff return average, third in receptions per game, and tied for third in points (touchdowns) per game (6.0).

No. 4 David Wilson, RB, Virginia Tech

No. 5 Dwayne Allen, TE, Clemson

No. 6 Tajh Boyd, QB, Clemson

No. 7 Matt Daniels, S, Duke

No. 8 Andre Branch, DE, Clemson

No. 9 Brandon Thompson, DT, Clemson

No. 10 Giovani Bernard, RB, North Carolina

No. 11 Logan Thomas, QB, Virginia Tech

No. 12 Blake DeChristopher, OT, Virginia Tech

No. 13 Shawn Powell, P, Florida State

No. 14 Zach Brown, LB, North Carolina

No. 15 Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina

No. 16 Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech

No. 17 Sean Spence, LB, Miami

No. 18 Zebrie Sanders, OT, Florida State

No. 19 Joe Vellano, DT, Maryland

No. 20 Lamar Miller, RB, Miami

No. 21 Chris Givens, WR, Wake Forest

No. 22 Terrell Manning, LB, NC State

No. 23 Matt Conrath, DT, Virginia

No. 24 Omoregie Uzzi, RG, Georgia Tech

No. 25 Brandon Jenkins, DE, Florida State

2011 ACC postseason top 25: No. 4

March, 7, 2012
3/07/12
10:30
AM ET
No. 4. David Wilson, RB, Virginia Tech

2011 stats: He started all 14 games and played over 700 snaps on offense and 51 on special teams. He rushed for a school-record 1,709 yards on 290 carries (5.9 yards per carry) and nine touchdowns, for an average of 122.1 rushing yards per game. He also caught 21 passes for 126 yards and a touchdown. He led team with 22 kickoff returns for 415 yards and totaled 2,253 all-purpose yards.

Previously ranked: No. 10

Making the case for Wilson: He was a durable back who proved last year that he could carry the full workload, and his athleticism and explosiveness made him an exciting player to watch. He was the ACC’s overall and offensive player of the year. His streak of seven straight 100-plus rushing yard games were the most under coach Frank Beamer and he finished with 10 total, which tied the ACC single-season record set by Ryan Williams in 2009.

No. 5 Dwayne Allen, TE, Clemson

No. 6 Tajh Boyd, QB, Clemson

No. 7 Matt Daniels, S, Duke

No. 8 Andre Branch, DE, Clemson

No. 9Brandon Thompson, DT, Clemson

No. 10Giovani Bernard, RB, North Carolina

No. 11 Logan Thomas, QB, Virginia Tech

No. 12Blake DeChristopher, OT, Virginia Tech

No. 13 Shawn Powell, P, Florida State

No. 14 Zach Brown, LB, North Carolina

No. 15Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina

No. 16 Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech

No. 17 Sean Spence, LB, Miami

No. 18Zebrie Sanders, OT, Florida State

No. 19Joe Vellano, DT, Maryland

No. 20 Lamar Miller, RB, Miami

No. 21Chris Givens, WR, Wake Forest

No. 22 Terrell Manning, LB, NC State

No. 23Matt Conrath, DT, Virginia

No. 24Omoregie Uzzi, RG, Georgia Tech

No. 25 Brandon Jenkins, DE, Florida State

2011 ACC postseason top 25: No. 5

March, 6, 2012
3/06/12
10:30
AM ET
No. 5. Dwayne Allen, TE, Clemson

2011 stats: He had 50 receptions for 598 yards and eight touchdowns (tied for fourth-most in school history) in 890 snaps over 14 games (14 starts).

Previously ranked: Not ranked.

Making the case for Allen: Quarterback Tajh Boyd orchestrated the offense, but if you ask many of Clemson’s opponents, they’d probably tell you Allen was the X-factor. He was the program’s first winner of the John Mackey Award, given to the nation’s top tight end, and his 93 career catches tied for the most in school history by a tight end. His receptions, receiving yards, and receiving touchdowns were the most by a tight end in school history. Three of his best games last season came against Florida State and Virginia Tech. He had two catches -- both for touchdowns -- in the ACC title game against the Hokies. He’s got big-play ability, and was a mature, dependable leader for last year’s young team, not to mention an All-American.

No. 6 Tajh Boyd, QB, Clemson

No. 7 Matt Daniels, S, Duke

No. 8 Andre Branch, DE, Clemson

No. 9 Brandon Thompson, DT, Clemson

No. 10 Giovani Bernard, RB, North Carolina

No. 11 Logan Thomas, QB, Virginia Tech

No. 12 Blake DeChristopher, OT, Virginia Tech

No. 13 Shawn Powell, P, Florida State

No. 14 Zach Brown, LB, North Carolina

No. 15 Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina

No. 16 Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech

No. 17 Sean Spence, LB, Miami

No. 18 Zebrie Sanders, OT, Florida State

No. 19 Joe Vellano, DT, Maryland

No. 20 Lamar Miller, RB, Miami

No. 21 Chris Givens, WR, Wake Forest

No. 22 Terrell Manning, LB, NC State

No. 23 Matt Conrath, DT, Virginia

No. 24 Omoregie Uzzi, RG, Georgia Tech

No. 25 Brandon Jenkins, DE, Florida State

2011 ACC postseason top 25: No. 6

March, 5, 2012
3/05/12
9:00
AM ET
No. 6. Tajh Boyd, QB, Clemson

2011 stats: He completed 298 of 499 pass attempts for 3,828 yards, 33 touchdowns and 12 interceptions in 997 snaps over 14 games (14 starts). He completed 59.7 percent of his passes and had a 141.2 pass efficiency rating. He also had 218 rushing yards and five rushing touchdowns. He had 4,046 total yards and was responsible for a school-record 38 touchdowns.

Previously ranked: Not ranked.

Making the case for Boyd: Boyd was a completely different quarterback than the one we saw last spring, and he progressed so quickly in a new offense that he was able to get the Tigers off to an 8-0 start and play his way into the Heisman conversation. He was a major reason the Tigers won their first ACC title since 1991, and his leadership qualities were immediately embraced in the huddle in his first season as a starter. He has a 10-4 record as a starter and has the size and arm strength to become even better.

No. 7 Matt Daniels, S, Duke

No. 8 Andre Branch, DE, Clemson

No. 9 Brandon Thompson, DT, Clemson

No. 10 Giovani Bernard, RB, North Carolina

No. 11 Logan Thomas, QB, Virginia Tech

No. 12 Blake DeChristopher, OT, Virginia Tech

No. 13 Shawn Powell, P, Florida State

No. 14 Zach Brown, LB, North Carolina

No. 15 Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina

No. 16 Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech

No. 17 Sean Spence, LB, Miami

No. 18 Zebrie Sanders, OT, Florida State

No. 19 Joe Vellano, DT, Maryland

No. 20 Lamar Miller, RB, Miami

No. 21 Chris Givens, WR, Wake Forest

No. 22 Terrell Manning, LB, NC State

No. 23 Matt Conrath, DT, Virginia

No. 24 Omoregie Uzzi, RG, Georgia Tech

No. 25 Brandon Jenkins, DE, Florida State

2011 ACC postseason top 25: No. 7

March, 2, 2012
3/02/12
1:00
PM ET
No. 7. Matt Daniels, S, Duke

2011 stats: He led Duke and ranked third in the ACC in tackles per game (10.5) and finished the year with 126 tackles, 4.0 tackles for loss, two interceptions, 14 pass break-ups and one caused fumble. He was the team leader in both interceptions and pass breakups.

Previously ranked: Not ranked.

Making the case for Daniels: Don’t be fooled by the fact he wore a Duke uniform. Despite the team’s 3-9 finish, Daniels was one of the best defensive backs in the country. He was just one of three players in the league to average double figures in tackles -- and he did it against the likes of Stanford (13), Florida State (14), Virginia Tech (13) and Miami (11) -- and he was third in the league balloting for the ACC’s Defensive Player of the Year. His 14 pass breakups were the second-most in a single season in school history. His 126 tackles were the most for a Duke defensive back since Terrell Smith had 140 in 2003.

No. 8 Andre Branch, DE, Clemson

No. 9 Brandon Thompson, DT, Clemson

No. 10 Giovani Bernard, RB, North Carolina

No. 11 Logan Thomas, QB, Virginia Tech

No. 12 Blake DeChristopher, OT, Virginia Tech

No. 13 Shawn Powell, P, Florida State

No. 14 Zach Brown, LB, North Carolina

No. 15 Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina

No. 16 Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech

No. 17 Sean Spence, LB, Miami

No. 18 Zebrie Sanders, OT, Florida State

No. 19 Joe Vellano, DT, Maryland

No. 20 Lamar Miller, RB, Miami

No. 21 Chris Givens, WR, Wake Forest

No. 22 Terrell Manning, LB, NC State

No. 23 Matt Conrath, DT, Virginia

No. 24 Omoregie Uzzi, RG, Georgia Tech

No. 25 Brandon Jenkins, DE, Florida State

Kiper Jr.'s top 5 prospects by position

March, 1, 2012
3/01/12
5:00
PM ET
Now that the NFL combine is over, draft guru Mel Kiper Jr. has released his latest top five NFL draft prospects by position Insider.

Former ACC running backs David Wilson and Lamar Miller checked in at Nos. 3 and 4, respectively. Georgia Tech's Stephen Hill cracked the list of receivers at No. 4, Clemson's Dwayne Allen was listed as the No. 3 tight end, and UNC's Quinton Coples remains the No. 1 prospect at defensive end, followed by No. 3 Andre Branch. BC's Luke Kuechly is the top inside linebacker, and NC State's Terrell Manning is the No. 3 outside linebacker. Florida State punter Shawn Powell (No. 3) was the only other ACC player listed, but the ACC had plenty of winners at this year's combine, according to Kiper:
  • Wilson, RB, Virginia Tech
  • Hill, WR, Georgia Tech
  • Tommy Streeter, WR, Miami
  • Kuechly, LB, Boston College

Kiper called former Clemson tight end Dwayne Allen a question mark with more of a second-round grade now, but said that could change with a good pro day.

2011 ACC postseason top 25: No. 8

March, 1, 2012
3/01/12
2:00
PM ET
No. 8. Andre Branch, DE, Clemson

2011 stats: He had 85 tackles, a team-high 17 tackles for loss, a team-high 10.5 sacks, and 17 quarterback pressures in 755 snaps over 14 games (14 starts). He was second on the team in tackles, and had a team-high 64 first hits. He tied for fourth in school history in sacks and was 15th in the nation in sacks per game (0.75). He was first in the ACC in sacks per game and third in tackles for loss per game (1.2).

Previously ranked: Not ranked.

Making the case for Branch: He emerged as one of the top defensive ends in the country as a senior, and was one of six finalists for the Ted Hendricks Award. He had a team-high 11 tackles, a caused fumble, and tied the school record for both tackles for loss (6) and sacks (4) in 57 snaps at No. 10 Virginia Tech on Oct. 1 in his home state. All four sacks came in the second half, and he was a big reason Clemson held the Hokies without a touchdown in their home stadium for the first time since 1995. He’s disciplined, has good awareness as a pass-rusher, and executes his assignments consistently.

No. 9 Brandon Thompson, DT, Clemson

No. 10 Giovani Bernard, RB, North Carolina

No. 11 Logan Thomas, QB, Virginia Tech

No. 12 Blake DeChristopher, OT, Virginia Tech

No. 13 Shawn Powell, P, Florida State

No. 14 Zach Brown, LB, North Carolina

No. 15 Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina

No. 16 Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech

No. 17 Sean Spence, LB, Miami

No. 18 Zebrie Sanders, OT, Florida State

No. 19 Joe Vellano, DT, Maryland

No. 20 Lamar Miller, RB, Miami

No. 21 Chris Givens, WR, Wake Forest

No. 22 Terrell Manning, LB, NC State

No. 23 Matt Conrath, DT, Virginia

No. 24 Omoregie Uzzi, RG, Georgia Tech

No. 25 Brandon Jenkins, DE, Florida State

2011 ACC postseason top 25: No. 9

February, 29, 2012
2/29/12
2:00
PM ET
No. 9. Brandon Thompson, DT, Clemson

2011 stats: He had 77 tackles, eight tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks and tied for a team-high 18 quarterback pressures in 722 snaps over 14 games (13 starts). He was fourth on the team in tackles.

Previous ranking: Not ranked.

Making the case for Thompson: He was one of the top defensive tackle prospects in the country, and you know a guy can plug the middle when his nickname is “Yams” for his big thighs. He was a great run-stopper for Clemson, and was a leader and permanent team co-captain. He’s a powerful hitter, a tough player and has quick hands and feet.

No. 10 Giovani Bernard, RB, North Carolina

No. 11 Logan Thomas, QB, Virginia Tech

No. 12 Blake DeChristopher, OT, Virginia Tech

No. 13 Shawn Powell, P, Florida State

No. 14 Zach Brown, LB, North Carolina

No. 15 Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina

No. 16 Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech

No. 17 Sean Spence, LB, Miami

No. 18 Zebrie Sanders, OT, Florida State

No. 19 Joe Vellano, DT, Maryland

No. 20 Lamar Miller, RB, Miami

No. 21 Chris Givens, WR, Wake Forest

No. 22 Terrell Manning, LB, NC State

No. 23 Matt Conrath, DT, Virginia

No. 24 Omoregie Uzzi, RG, Georgia Tech

No. 25 Brandon Jenkins, DE, Florida State

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