ACC: Spencer Adkins
Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich
Lotta action in the ACC this weekend, so I might also add an "ACC in the Afternoon" version of the links, too. Here are a few to get the week started:
- Miami's streak of 14 years with a first-round draft pick ended, but Spencer Adkins kept another one alive.
- When is the last time Florida State had just one player drafted? Andrew Carter has the answer.
- Remember that Wake Forest recruiting class that got a collective "thumbs down?" Yeah, well, they're living a dream, now.
- From euphoria to sucker punch, Maryland's Darrius Heyward-Bey experienced it all on draft day.
- North Carolina's Brandon Tate and NC State's Andre Brown went different directions, but both wound up happy.
Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich
Between a few spring games and the NFL draft, there is plenty of catching up to do. We'll start with how the ACC fared in the NFL draft -- very well, despite a few streaks being broken.
What's most interesting about this draft is that Wake Forest had four players selected, a true sign of how far the program has come under coach Jim Grobe. Yes, they can recruit NFL-caliber players to Winston-Salem. It marks the first time that four Deacons have been selected by NFL teams in the same draft since 1953.
Congrats to former Wake Forest linebacker Aaron Curry, who was chosen fourth overall in the first round by the Seattle Seahawks. Curry was followed by Maryland wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey, who was taken seventh by the Oakland Raiders; Virginia offensive tackle Eugene Monroe, taken eighth by the Jacksonville Jaguars; and Boston College defensive lineman B.J. Raji, who was selected ninth by the Green Bay Packers.
For the second time in four years, the ACC was the only conference in the nation to have four players drafted among the first nine selections. (It also happened in 2006). It also marked the ninth time in the history of the NFL draft that a league has managed to have four picks among the first nine choices. The Big Ten set the record with five picks in the 1967 and 1996 drafts.
Here are a few more draft factoids, courtesy of the ACC:
- With five players selected in the first round overall -- North Carolina's Hakeem Nicks was the 29th pick on the first round by the New York Giants -- the ACC has had more first-round selections than any other conference with 30 players chosen since 2006, the first year the ACC became a 12-team league. The SEC is second with 29 first-round selections.
- Overall, the ACC had nine of the first 45 players selected in the draft, the most of any conference in the nation through the first 45 picks.
- The ACC did break its unprecedented streak of three consecutive years of supplying the first defensive player chosen in the draft when LSU defensive end Tyrone Jackson was chosen third overall, just ahead of Curry. No other league has ever gone more than two consecutive years with the top defensive player chosen. The ACC now has supplied the top defender in four of the past eight years of the draft.
- Overall, the ACC had 33 players drafted, trailing only the SEC (37).
- Maryland and North Carolina led all ACC schools with five players chosen each, followed by Clemson, Georgia Tech, Virginia and Wake Forest with four each; Boston College and NC State with two as well as Florida State, Miami and Virginia Tech with one each.
- Although Miami did have its impressive streak of 14 consecutive years with a first-round draft pick snapped, the Hurricanes continued their string of string of consecutive seasons with a player in the NFL draft to 35 straight years with outside linebacker Spencer Adkins drafted on the 6th round. Miami has now had a player taken in every NFL draft since 1974.
- Florida State continued its streak of 22 straight years with a player taken in the top three rounds when defensive end Everette Brown was chosen in the 2nd round by the Carolina Panthers.
I'll post a complete list of the ACC players who were drafted this weekend in a bit.
Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich
With the NFL draft scheduled for 4 p.m. ET Saturday, much attention will be paid to the ACC's highest round picks like linebacker Aaron Curry. Over the past three years, the ACC has seen more of its players taken in the first round (25) than any other league, as well as more of its players drafted (115) than any other conference.
Just because a player isn't drafted in the first three rounds, though, doesn't mean he isn't destined for a successful NFL career, and this year the ACC has plenty of such players. There are several who are borderline third- and fourth-round picks, but even more who are relative unknowns capable of making names for themselves at the next level.
Don't forget about Miami's little used linebacker, Spencer Adkins, who has been getting a fair share of attention from scouts lately. He was used in a lot of third down situations as a pass-rusher. Aside from Bruce Johnson, he is the Canes' top prospect. North Carolina tight end Richard Quinn is ascending the draft boards quickly. He could conceivably be a third-rounder.
Here are three players who aren't expected to be drafted in the first three rounds, but will still be quality players in the NFL:
1. Victor "Macho" Harris, CB, Virginia Tech -- A potential late third-round, early fourth-round pick, Harris is a hard-hitter with exceptional ball skills. He reads blocks well and is a scoring threat, especially in the open field.
2. Anthony Hill, TE, NC State -- He doesn't drop many balls, he stays tough in traffic, and is efficient getting into his routes. He's a strong blocker who would have been much more productive had his career not been marred by injuries.
3. Aaron Kelly, WR, Clemson -- He uses his height to his advantage for jump balls, can create separation and be a threat for yards after catch. He is an average blocker, but was underutilized in Clemson's offense last year.
Other potentially late ACC picks worth keeping an eye on:
- Antonio Appleby, LB, Virginia
- Stanley Arnoux, LB, Wake Forest
- Kevin Barnes, DB, Maryland
- Tony Carter, DB, FSU
- Jon Copper, LB, Virginia
- Moise Fokou, LB, Maryland
- Trimane Goddard, S, UNC
- Cameron Goldberg, OT, Duke
- Dan Gronkowski, TE, Maryland
- Kenny Ingram, LB/DB, Florida State
- Orion Martin, DE, Virginia Tech
- Kevin Ogletree, WR, Virginia
- Cedric Peerman, TB, Virginia
- John Phillips, TE, Virginia
- Ryan Purvis, TE, Boston College
- Eron Riley, WR, Duke
- Darryl Richard, DT, Georgia Tech
- Garrett Reynolds, OT, UNC
- Sam Swank, PK, Wake Forest
- Michael Tauiliili, LB, Duke
- Jaimie Thomas, OL, Maryland
- Chip Vaughn, S, Wake Forest
- Edwin Williams, C, Maryland
Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich
Not one Clemson player on the first list ...
From the league office:
OFFENSIVE BACK -- Riley Skinner, Wake Forest, QB, 6-1, 250, Jr. Jacksonville, Fla.
Skinner completed 27 of 36 passes (75%) for 220 yards, no interceptions and a career-high three touchdowns in leading the Deacons to a 41-13 season-opening win at Baylor last Thursday. He completed 12 of his first 13 pass attempts and distributed the ball to eight different receivers. Skinner also earned his 19th win as a starting quarterback for the Deacons, becoming the winningest QB in school history.
OFFENSIVE LINEMAN -- Andrew Gardner, Georgia Tech, G, 6-6, 297, Sr., Tyrone, Ga.
Georgia Tech rushed for a league-best 249 yards and produced 484 yards of total offense. The four-year senior was instrumental to the effort, making his 40th consecutive start after adjusting to head coach Paul Johnson's new blocking schemes.
CO-DEFENSIVE LINEMAN -- Spencer Adkins, Miami, ILB, 5-11, 235, Sr., Naples, Fla.
Adkins helped a Miami defense that held Charleston Southern to 126 total yards and 49 rushing yards. Adkins tallied three solo tackles - two tackles for loss and recorded two sacks from his middle linebacker position.
E.J. Wilson, North Carolina, DE, 6-2, 280, Jr., Lawrenceville, Va.
Junior E.J. Wilson posted eight tackles, including three for loss in North Carolina's 35-27 victory over McNeese State.
DEFENSIVE BACK -- Stephan Virgil, Virginia Tech, CB, 5-11, 177, Jr., Rocky Mount, N.C.
In Saturday's loss to East Carolina, Virgil scored eight of the Hokies' 22 points. Virgil opened the Virginia Tech scoring by snatching up a ECU fumble and rumbling 30 yards for a touchdown to put the Hokies up 7-0. In the third quarter, Virgil snatched up a blocked extra point and took it 90 yards for a defensive PAT.
SPECIALIST -- Brandon Tate, North Carolina, WR/KR, 6-1, 195, Sr., Burlington, N.C.
Tate posted a new UNC school record with 397 all-purpose yards on Saturday night against McNeese St. The Tar Heel senior achieved the feat with only 11 touches, averaging more than 36 yards per touch. Tate caught four passes for 93 yards and ran the ball three times for 106. He also tallied three punt returns for 142 yards and a 56 yard kickoff return. He scored two touchdowns in the second highest all-purpose day in ACC history, only 14 yards shy of John Leach's mark of 411 yards.
ROOKIE -- Jacory Harris, Miami, QB, 6-4, 175, Fr., Miami, Fla.
Harris started his first collegiate game and completed 16-of-26 passes for 190 yards while accounting for two touchdowns - one through the air and one on the ground -- in leading Miami to a 52-7 win over Charleston Southern. The true freshman from Miami led the Hurricanes to touchdowns on four of their first five possessions. He scored his first collegiate touchdown on a 30-yard run on the seventh play of the game and finished with 212 yards of total offense.
Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich
1. Virginia: Senior captain Clint Sintim started all 37 games in his career and was third on the team with 77 tackles last season. His nine sacks last year were the most of any linebacker in the nation. Inside linebacker Jon Copper is UVA's active leader in tackles with 200, and Antonio Appleby is third on that list with 155.
2. Wake Forest: All three returning starters are back, including strongside linebacker Aaron Curry, a two-time defensive player of the week who had three interception returns for touchdowns and led the nation in interception return yards with 256. He also led the team with 13.5 tackles for a loss. Middle linebacker Stanley Arnoux also returns, along with weakside linebacker Chantz McClinic, who had 42 tackles.
|Ned Dishman/Getty Images|
|Senior linebacker Brian Toal, who has 180 career tackles despite missing last season, is healthy again for Boston College.|
3. Boston College: The Eagles lost two key starters, but senior Brian Toal's shoulder is healed and he has 180 career tackles despite missing last season with a medical redshirt. His primary competition at weakside linebacker will come from senior Robert Francois, who finished last season with 39 total tackles. Junior Mark Herzlich, who started all 14 games last year and finished second in total tackles with 97 should anchor this unit. Junior Mike McLaughlin started three games at middle linebacker last season when Jo-Lonn Dunbar was injured and is the heir apparent there.
4. Maryland: This could be one of the Terps' deeper positions, even with the loss of Erin Henderson to the NFL. Seniors Dave Philistin and Moise Fokou each started all 13 games last season, and Adrian Moten, who played all three positions as a freshman, tied for the team lead in sacks (5.5) and had 50 tackles even though he didn't start a game. Philistin ranked fourth in the ACC with 9.5 tackles per game.
5. Florida State: These guys have talent, it's just a matter of when it will all come together. Geno Hayes is gone, and so is Marcus Ball, who was expected to fill in for Hayes but was booted off the team. Still, the Seminoles' leading tackler is back. Underrated middle linebacker Derek Nicholson made 99 stops last year and was the only linebacker to start all 13 games. Strongside linebacker Dekoda Watson started every game but the bowl game because of the academic scandal and will miss the first three, leaving the job to sophomore Kendall Smith. The 'Noles are also excited about freshman Nigel Bradham.
6. Miami: The Hurricanes lost their leading tackler in Tavares Gooden, a third-round NFL draft pick by the Ravens, but are still better off than the way they ended last season -- with three healthy linebackers. Senior Glenn Cook is back after missing last season with a foot injury, and the freshmen -- Arthur Brown and Sean Spence -- didn't waste any time impressing the staff while Coin McCarthy was out this spring. Darryl Sharpton and Spencer Adkins are possible starters in the middle.
7. Virginia Tech: The Hokies will obviously miss Vince Hall and Xavier Adibi, but middle linebacker Brett Warren played well last year when Hall got hurt and earned the confidence of defensive coordinator Bud Foster. Purnell Sturdivant is No. 1 heading into the fall, but should be challenged by veteran Jonas Houseright and redshirt freshman Hunter Ovens. Redshirt junior Cam Martin started 13 of 14 games last season at weakside after being moved from free safety and finished fifth on the team with 78 tackles and was third in sacks with 4.5.
8. Duke: Senior Michael Tauiliili is the top active player in the league in terms of career tackles, and finished last season with 108. He also had four sacks and three interceptions. Vincent Rey led the Blue Devils with 111 tackles. The third slot will be between Marcus Jones and Adam Banks. There's not a lot of depth here, but there's talent.
9. Clemson: This is the least experienced unit on the Tigers' defense. Josh Miller is the only senior in the group and is competing for the starting middle linebacker job. Tommy Bowden was impressed with freshman Stanley Hunter this spring, but Brandon Maye had the top spring among the newcomers and is listed as first team in the middle entering the fall. Junior Kavell Connor is the top option at weakside linebacker and had a career high 15 tackles in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl. He had 46 stops for the year, tops among linebackers on the spring depth chart. Sophomore Scotty Cooper also started the Chick-fil-A Bowl at strongside linebacker. He had 33 stops for the season in 183 plays on defense.
10. North Carolina: The Tar Heels have to replace leading tackler Durell Mapp, but return sophomore Bruce Carter and sophomore Quan Sturdivant. Carter played in all 12 games and started seven. He made 18 of his 25 tackles in the final five games. Sturdivant's experience is similar, having played in all 12 games, but started just five. He finished the season with 47 tackles, but also added an interception and a blocked punt. Senior Mark Paschal played in all 12 games and started four at middle linebacker, and Chase Rice was still recovering this spring from a torn tendon in his left ankle. He was the starter in 2007, but got hurt in the season opener and missed the rest of the season.
11. NC State: There's not a lot of experience, as the top candidates have combined for five starts and only four guys have played in a collegiate game. Nate Irving is the lead candidate at weakside linebacker, having started four games. Ray Michel started one game in the middle, and strongside should be wide open. Robbie Leonard, a converted walk-on defensive back, is the starter heading into summer camp. He played in eight games as a strong safety and has seen most of his action on special teams the past two seasons. Thomas Barnes got valuable experience as a backup middle linebacker last season, playing the last 10 games and scoring a touchdown on a fumble recovery in only his third career play from scrimmage.
12. Georgia Tech: Two of the three stars from last year -- Philip Wheeler and Gary Guyton -- are now on NFL rosters. Junior Shane Bowen started nine games last season, but sophomore Anthony Barnes has the most potential and started three. Two young rookies, sophomore Brad Jefferson and redshirt freshman Kyle Jackson, are good enough that Bowen may lose his starting job.