ACC: Travis Ivey

Terps on display at pro timing day

March, 10, 2010
3/10/10
9:00
AM ET
A few former Terps will audition today for NFL scouts at Maryland's pro timing day, which will be held at the Gossett Team House, Cole Field House and the outdoor practice facility.

Among those expected to work out are OL Bruce Campbell, DB Nolan Carroll, DL Jared Harrell, DL Travis Ivey, RB Cory Jackson, DB Terrell Skinner, QB Chris Turner and DB Anthony Wiseman.

The players will be tested in several drills, including the vertical jump, broad jump, bench press, 60-yard shuttle and 40-yard dash. Campbell has already made a splash with his freakish physique recently at the NFL combine. Jackson and Skinner played in the Under Armour Senior Bowl, and Ivey took part in the Texas vs. the Nation game. Carroll also participated in the NFL combine in Indianapolis.

More postseason rosters announced

January, 20, 2010
1/20/10
3:30
PM ET
The Under Armour Senior Bowl hasn't released its final roster yet, but it did announce that Virginia cornerback Chris Cook and running back Rashawn Jackson have both officially accepted invitations to play in the Jan. 30th game.

Also announced was the Texas vs. The Nation all-star roster, a senior bowl which will be played Feb. 6 at the Sun Bowl Stadium in El Paso, Texas.

2010 Nation Roster

Preston Parker, WR/RT, North Alabama/Florida State

Sam Shields, CB, Miami

Brent Bowden, P, Virginia Tech

Dedrick Epps, TE, Miami

Toney Baker, RB, NC State

Cory Jackson, FB, Maryland

Kyle Jolly, OT, North Carolina

Will Barker, OL, Virginia

E.J. Wilson, DE, North Carolina

Travis Ivey, DT, Maryland

2010 Texas Roster

Thaddeus Lewis, QB, Duke

A.J. Cooley, RB, Shorter College/Georgia Tech

Maryland moving on without starting corner

September, 15, 2009
9/15/09
5:32
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com’s Heather Dinich


When Maryland defensive tackle Travis Ivey came off the field on Saturday against James Madison, defensive end Jared Harrell noticed his teammate “had that look on his face.” Ivey wasn’t cramping up, but he threw his helmet on the ground, and Harrell realized Ivey was just reacting to teammate Nolan Carroll’s injury.

Carroll, a fifth-year senior who was arguably the Terps’ top cornerback, was operated on Saturday night for a broken tibia and will likely miss the rest of the season.

“I think there is a tremendous amount of feeling for Nolan on the team and obviously, not only is Nolan very well liked, but he is very well respected,” coach Ralph Friedgen said. “I think it was a rallying point to come back when they knew Nolan was done. I talked to Nolan on Sunday about when he gets out of the hospital that he is still captain of this football team and he needs to continue his leadership role. And he said he would definitely do it."

Carroll was fourth on the team with 10 tackles, and one pass breakup. He’s unlikely to be granted a sixth year of eligibility because this would be the only season he would have missed with an injury.

“We’re going to miss Nolan a lot, especially I am, and the other seniors,” Harrell said. “We’ve been here the whole time together. No doubt he’s still going to be our team captain. We’re going to try to make sure he’s on the sidelines with us as much as possible. We’re going to find a way to make sure he’s with us this entire season. We’ll be there for him, and he’ll be there for us. The truth of the matter is, the next guy has to step up and that’s what he would want. He’d want to make sure the defense plays as strong as possible.”

Sophomore Cameron Chism, who played in nine games last year as a backup, is listed on this week's depth chart as Carroll's replacement. It was a huge blow to a young defense that ranks last in the ACC in scoring defense, having allowed an average of 43.5 points over two games. The Terps also rank last in total defense, last in rushing defense, and last in pass defense efficiency. They’re still trying to adjust to first-year coordinator Don Brown’s new scheme, but now they’ll have to do it without one of their top players.

“I know the score and stat sheet doesn’t really reflect, but the defense made great improvements from Cal to JMU, we had more three-and-outs,” Harrell said. “If we eliminate a few big plays here and there, we’re actually playing pretty strong games. When you eliminate those big plays, that turns a lot of stuff around. We feel very confident looking at the tape that we can correct our mistakes. There are a few mental mistakes, a few assignment mistakes, and we feel like if we can correct those, we’re going to be tough to deal with.”

Around the ACC: FSU offense shines in first day with pads

August, 14, 2009
8/14/09
11:00
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

Here's your daily dose of practice reports from around the ACC, as reported by each school's information office:

FLORIDA STATE

Cloud cover kept the temperature from climbing Thursday morning as the Florida State football team donned full pads for the first time this preseason. It didn't take long, however, for the action to heat up as the Seminoles' offense made the lion's share of big plays.

Of course, a big day for the offense also comes with drawbacks.

"The hitting was pretty good, but too many big plays popped out of there," said FSU coach Bobby Bowden. "As a head coach you don't know who to root for, your defense or your offense. It scares me when big plays come out of there."

Quarterback Christian Ponder connected on long passes with wideouts Jarmon Fortson, Rodney Smith and Taiwan Easterling, as well as tight end Caz Piurowski, during the first five-minute period of 11-on-11 work.

"A lot of that came against the blitz and we've been working on that all week," Ponder said, offering a hint at the developing mindset on offense. "The blitz for us means big plays and that's what we've been working on and things opened up.

"We definitely didn't have enough big plays last year and stretch the field as much as we wanted to. Things are starting to open up and that's a good thing."

It should come as no surprise that Ponder had ample time to step up in the pocket created by the seasoned offensive line and deliver the football. Improving pass protection has been a point of emphasis since the conclusion of last season.

Junior center Ryan McMahon, who helps anchor the unit along with guard Rodney Hudson, was encouraged by the performance of the unit in its first real test of the preseason.

"Overall we felt we had a better practice today than we did the other day, but I'm sure there's plenty of room for us to improve," McMahon said. "Everybody's attitude was good and it was fun."

(Read full post)

Maryland starting nose tackle leaves Terps

August, 14, 2009
8/14/09
9:00
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

Maryland nose tackle Dion Armstrong has decided to leave the team, according to a report in the Washington Times, and that leaves the Terps even more thin at a position that was already of concern. (Sounds like UNC's troubles on the offensive line.)

It's not entirely a surprise the Terps won't be able to depend on Armstrong, as his academic eligibility had been in question all spring, and he missed practices to concentrate in the classroom. But the reality is that Armstrong had starting experience, and that's something the Terps' D-line is severely lacking right now. Without Armstrong, Maryland's D-line has a whopping seven career starts worth of experience to fall back on. In line to replace Armstrong is redshirt freshman A.J. Francis. It's no wonder the Terps' D-line falls last on the list in the position rankings.

When you switch to a four down-linemen structure and you're forced to do it without your top four defensive linemen from a year ago, it's going to make for a rocky start. Jared Harrell, Travis Ivey, Derek Drummond and Deege Galt will be facing higher expectations this fall.

Ranking the ACC units: Defensive lines

July, 20, 2009
7/20/09
5:05
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

1. Clemson -- The Tigers return three starters up front, and first-year defensive coordinator Kevin Steele's pressure defense is the perfect fit for guys like Da'Quan Bowers and Ricky Sapp. Sapp was having a good season last year before he tore his ACL at Virginia and missed the rest of the season. Defensive end Kevin Alexander is a returning starter who had 34 tackles last year, and nose guard Jarvis Jenkins tied Sapp for the team lead with 10 tackles for loss. Opposing quarterbacks won't have time to think against this bunch.

2. Miami -- Anyone watching the Virginia Tech game last year saw what this group is capable of, and of the nine linemen who started at least one game for Miami last year, seven are back. Allen Bailey has moved from end to tackle, but he sometimes played there in third-down situations. He led the team with five sacks. Marcus Robinson is a solid pass rusher, Marcus Forston could also be an impact and Eric Moncur is entering his sixth season and if he plays like he did in 2007 (11.5 tackles for loss) could really give this line a boost.

3. Virginia Tech -- Depth is the only question mark here, as Jason Worilds, John Graves, Cordarrow Thompson and Nekos Brown are more than capable of continuing Bud Foster's tradition of nationally ranked defenses. Nobody is questioning Worilds' toughness, that's for sure, and Graves and Thompson both started every game last year. They're still looking for another defensive end, though, and will keep an eye on what Chris Drager adds to the position after moving from tight end.

4. North Carolina -- Not only do all four starters return, but the depth is the best it's been in recent years. Last year, defensive end Robert Quinn became a starter in the second game of the season, and defensive tackle Cam Thomas had one of his his best season at UNC. Marvin Austin and E.J. Wilson played well, and should be even better this year. Reserves Quinton Coples and Michael McAdoo had solid rookie seasons and will push Wilson and Quinn for playing time this year. Aleric Mullins and Tydreke Powell are interchangeable with Austin and Thomas as starters at tackle.

5. Florida State -- The end position is reason for concern, as the Noles have to replace both Everette Brown and Neefy Moffett, who were first and second, respectively, on the team in sacks. Markus White will be tasked with filling the shoes of Brown, but he had a good transition season from junior college last year to build off of. Kevin McNeil, who had four sacks last year, is the favorite to replace Moffett. The interior should be solid with the return of Budd Thacker, Kendrick Stewart, Moses McCray and Justin Mincey.

6. NC State -- Defensive tackle Alan-Michael Cash and end Willie Young have combined for 46 starts and should be two of the best linemen in the conference. The other two players penciled in as starters -- Shea McKeen and Leroy Burgess -- were both junior college transfers who earned starting time last year. Backup tackles will be a concern, but Markus Kuhn could wind up playing a bit of both until the staff decides where he can help the most.

7. Wake Forest -- Tackles John Russell and Boo Robinson will highlight a defense that recently bid farewell to some of the best seniors to come through the program. It should be one of the Deacs' most experienced groups in recent years, which is important considering the new faces behind them at linebacker. Defensive end Kyle Wilbur showed a lot of promise as a redshirt freshman with three sacks in only seven starts, and Tristan Dorty played in 10 games as a redshirt defensive end last year.

8. Virginia -- It's one of the few units on this team that didn't get a complete makeover, as seven of the top eight linemen return. Sophomore Matt Conrath, who had 35 tackles and four sacks last year, returns at end. There's a lot of experience next to him at nose tackle, where senior Nate Collins and sophomore Nick Jenkins split time last season. Collins' 35 tackles are the top among the returning linemen, while Jenkins finished with 25. Junior John-Kevin Dolce proved himself in the pass rush package with five sacks among his nine total tackles last year.

9. Boston College -- Replacing tackles B.J. Raji and Ron Brace is obviously one of the biggest concerns for this team, but they've got several options. Damik Scafe, Nick Rossi and Brendan Deska were each second-stringers at the tackle position and are the early favorites to replace the NFL draft picks. The Eagles also signed a pair of defensive tackles in the offseason, including highly touted recruit Dillon Quinn, who could make an immediate impact. Austin Giles replaced the injured Alex Albright last year for 12 starts, and Jim Ramella started all 14 games at the other end position.

10. Georgia Tech -- The Yellow Jackets have to replace three of four starters up front, and until they prove they found dependable replacements, they're going to be stuck down here. The lone returning starter is junior end Derrick Morgan, and there's no doubt about his capabilities, but the Jackets will sorely miss the three starters who combined for 100 career starts and 100 tackles for loss. Ben Anderson, Robert Hall and T.J. Barnes are all candidates to start.

11. Duke -- The Blue Devils took a step forward last year and should improve again with the return of tackle Vince Oghobaase and end Ayanga Okpokwuruk, who started five games and had 6.5 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks. They combined for 9.5 sacks last year. Oghobaase ranks second in the ACC in both career tackles for loss (29.0) and quarterback sacks (11.5). They'll need new starters at nose guard and right end.

12. Maryland -- The Terps have to fill a void left by Jeremy Navarre and Trey Covington, and so far it looks like that will be up to Derek Drummond, Dion Armstrong, Travis Ivey and Jared Harrell, though Armstrong was dealing with some academic issues. The arrival of De'Onte Arnett, Zachariah Kerr, and Cody Blue this past spring should help with the depth.

Who needs to come through in the ACC?

May, 21, 2009
5/21/09
9:00
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

Regardless of whether it was for injuries, suspensions, academics -- whatever -- not everyone was present and accounted for this spring. There were a few players who were missing who will be desperately needed to make a comeback this fall. Each team had at least one:

Boston College: Linebacker Mike McLaughlin -- He is still very questionable for the fall, but his return from an Achilles injury would be a huge boost to a position that lacks depth. Wide receiver Clarence Megwa broke his leg in the Clemson game last year and missed the rest of the year and spring, but could be a key returnee.

Clemson: Bandit end Ricky Sapp -- He missed the Gator Bowl and sat out the spring getting over a torn ACL he suffered in the first half against Virginia. He will be a prime pass-rusher for the Tigers and is Clemson's best player when it comes to putting pressure on the quarterback.

Duke: Defensive tackle Vince Oghobaase -- The Blue Devils' leader on the defensive line missed the spring with an injury, but ranks second among active ACC players in both career tackles for loss (29.0) and quarterback sacks (11.5), trailing only N.C. State's Willie Young (32.0 and 12.5). Oghobaase has started all 36 games over the past three years, compiling 128 tackles.

Florida State: Linebacker Dekoda Watson -- He missed the spring after offseason elbow surgery, but should be one of the Noles' top defenders. He ranked fourth on the team with 46 tackles last year.

Georgia Tech: Center Dan Voss -- He was the starter last year, and if his labrum isn't fully recovered (which it should be), aerospace engineer major Sean Bedford moves to the top of the depth chart. Not that there's anything wrong with a super smart center.

Maryland: DT Dion Armstrong -- The Terps had a host of key players miss the spring, but Armstrong, who was out for academic reasons, is at a position in need of some help. It's unclear, though, if Armstrong's academic situation will extend into the summer. Also at defensive tackle for Maryland is Travis Ivey. The coaches raved about his improved play and leadership during the spring, and the offensive line was having a tough time containing him. But he got a concussion in the fourth week and missed the rest of the spring. He also had a scheduled shoulder surgery at the end of the spring.

Miami: LB Colin McCarthy -- Miami needs depth at linebacker and McCarthy was playing well last season before a shoulder injury caused him to miss the remainder of the season, starting with the FSU game. He had shoulder surgery.

North Carolina: Free safety Deunta Williams -- He had wrist surgery in January and missed the spring, but should be ready for the fall. He started all 13 games in 2008 and ranked fifth on the team with 65 tackles (55 solo).

NC State: Strong safety Javon Walker -- He's actually missed the last TWO springs and last season with a knee injury, but will be cleared by the fall and is being counted on very heavily in the secondary.

Virginia: Right guard B.J. Cabbell -- He missed spring ball due to knee surgery, but started 12 games last year. The junior is expected back in August.

Virginia Tech: DE Jason Worilds -- Worilds missed the spring after shoulder surgery for an injury that kept him out of the Orange Bowl. End is one of the few positions the Hokies have that lacks depth. Worilds started in 12 of 14 games last year and had eight sacks and 18.5 tackles for loss. The Hokies will also need the return of guard Sergio Render, who missed the spring following shoulder surgery.

Wake Forest: CB Brandon Ghee -- Ghee suffered a sprained knee on the very first day of spring and missed the remainder of practice. The Deacs will need Ghee healthy this fall as he is the only returning starter in the secondary. Starting nose tackle Boo Robinson has also been bothered by a bad back and didn't play this spring.

Nowhere to somewhere in the ACC

May, 20, 2009
5/20/09
12:33
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

We've talked about players who will be names to remember this fall, but there were also a few who came out of absolutely nowhere this spring, players we had no idea about who weren't necessarily heralded recruits.

Here are five players who caught coaches' attention this spring:

Charles Brown, UNC cornerback: Brown is going to be a junior this year, and was limited last season because of a sprained ankle. Coming out of the spring, he is listed as co-starter with Jordan Hemby and that's impressive considering Hemby started every game last year. Brown, from Ohio, was recruited mostly by schools from the MAC.

Dalton Freeman, center, Clemson: Freeman, a redshirt freshman, has a legitimate chance to challenge Mason Cloy at center. Freeman, of Pelion, S.C., was a top recruit at guard.

Chris Givens, wide receiver, Wake Forest : Givens tore his ACL in his right knee as a junior, then tore it in his left knee and recruiters dropped the speedy Texas recruit. Wake Forest didn't. At the last track meet he ran in high school, Givens ran a 10.09 hand held and 10.22 electronic. Wake's coaches knew he was good, but this spring they realized the redshirt freshman is very good.

Steve Greer, linebacker, Virginia: He traveled with the team to every game as a true freshman, but always sat next to veteran Jon Copper. Coach Al Groh said Greer "almost tried to clone himself" into the same kind of player as Copper.

Travis Ivey, defensive tackle, Maryland: Ivey is a James Franklin recruit who was signed out of Prince George's County in Maryland and was a basketball player. He was a stellar athlete, but not the greatest football player. This spring, it all finally started to come together for him. Ivey, who is about 6-foot-3 and weighs between 320 and 335 pounds, has the body type, can run and is physical.

ACC's lunchtime links

April, 3, 2009
4/03/09
12:51
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

The only bad news about a spring Friday? There are no games on Saturday. Ah, but there are always ACC links:

The verdict is still out on FSU receiver Corey Surrency's petition for another year of eligibility, which is unfortunate, because the only thing that should be out is the NCAA rule he's fighting. At the very least, it should be on a case-by-case basis.

The Seminoles have a pretty good team -- in their training room.

There aren't many sure things on Maryland's defensive line this spring -- except for Travis Ivey.

If Joseph "Ju-Ju" Clayton is going to be Virginia Tech's backup quarterback, he wants to make sure everyone gets his name right. He answers to Ju-Ju. So don't forget the hyphen.

Wake Forest coach Jim Grobe joked his offense is "so mixed up we don't know which way to go." Tailback Kevin Harris is a good place to start.

The battle for in-state recruits is heating up between Georgia and Georgia Tech.

You look a little green ...

March, 17, 2009
3/17/09
1:30
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

They're young. They're inexperienced. They're ... green.

In keeping with our St. Patrick's Day theme, here's a look at the "greenest" units on each team in the ACC:

BOSTON COLLEGE -- If Dominique Davis wins the starting quarterback job, he's got a whopping three full games of starting experience to fall back on, and that's three more games than Justin Tuggle, who is also competing for the job.

CLEMSON -- The Tigers will be youngest at quarterback, where either sophomore Willy Korn or redshirt freshman Kyle Parker will inherit the offense.

DUKE -- The Blue Devils have to replace three starters on their offensive line and returning sophomore Kyle Hill moved from guard to tackle.

FLORIDA STATE -- Without Preston Parker, Greg Carr and Taiwan Easterling (for the spring) and Corey Surrency, the Noles will depend heavily upon a green group of receivers.

GEORGIA TECH -- Having lost three of four starters on the defensive line, it's easily one of the greenest groups in the whole conference.

MARYLAND -- Maryland lost five starters from its defensive front seven, but defensive tackles Travis Ivey and Dion Armstrong ended the year as starters and linebacker Adrian Moten had three starts.

MIAMI -- The Canes are still young everywhere, but remember quarterback Jacory Harris has only started two games and his backups have no collegiate experience.

NORTH CAROLINA -- The Tar Heels lost their top three receivers and will be counting heavily on inexperienced players to replace Hakeem Nicks, Brandon Tate and Brooks Foster.

NC STATE -- The Wolfpack needs to replace both offensive guards in John Bedics and Meares Green, who combined for 43 starts.

VIRGINIA -- Outside linebacker Denzel Burrell is the only returning starting linebacker in the Cavaliers' 3-4 defense.

VIRGINIA TECH -- The Hokies have to replace two starting linebackers in Brett Warren and Purnell Sturdivant.

WAKE FOREST -- The Demon Deacons have to replace three starters at linebacker, including Butkus Award winner Aaron Curry.

ACC's internal affairs: Week 12

November, 12, 2008
11/12/08
9:00
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

FLORIDA STATE: The Seminoles are expecting a similar defense from the one they saw in their loss to Wake Forest, but the Noles are more confident in their offensive line and running game this time around. Coach Bobby Bowden said tackles B.J. Raji and Ron Brace are probably the best they'll play to date, and his task will be to "mix the running game in there." Bowden said BC has a different defensive alignment than Wake, but the zone is similar. "We have to execute," Bowden said. "A team like that gives you things. You can have a little hook out there but you better not miss it. We must protect the passer and then execute and then get a running game going where they can't just tee off on the passer."

WAKE FOREST: Placekicker Sam Swank likely won't play again, and coach Jim Grobe is still trying to further integrate the I-formation with the spread offense, so the defense will once again be heavily relied upon this weekend at NC State. In the first half of the season, Wake was spending three-fourths of its practices on throwing the ball, blitz pickup, reads for the quarterbacks and route concepts for the receivers. Now, Grobe said, they're "probably 50/50 or 60/40 run-pass, which I think has helped us on Saturday, because we have the ability to do more than one thing." Running back Josh Adams, who has missed the past two games with a sprained ankle, is likely to return on Saturday.

MARYLAND: After allowing the Hokies a school-record rushing performance last week, the Terps made some changes to their defensive line in order to give their rushing defense a boost, and it starts inside. Travis Ivey will start at defensive tackle in place of Jeremy Navarre, who has been moved to defensive end, and redshirt freshman Dion Armstrong will start at nose tackle in place of Olugbemi Otulaja, who has started every game this season. Navarre, who started every game at defensive tackle, leads all ACC defensive linemen with 5.3 tackles per game. Mack Frost, who started five games at end this season but hasn't completely healed from knee surgery last year, is his backup.

VIRGINIA TECH: Things have been coming together for the Hokies on offense and special teams lately. Overshadowed by the record-setting success of tailback Darren Evans, true freshman Dyrell Roberts has also shown big-play capabilities for the Hokies. The former tailback turned receiver has found his niche as a return man. Roberts has 10 catches for 158 yards, but is averaging 26.9 yards per return -- ninth-best in the country. He has had returns of 55 and 54 yards in the past two games. Offensive coordinator Bryan Stinespring has also said he'd like to continue to use the "Wild Turkey" formation, with 280-pound tight end Greg Boone rushing out of the shotgun formation, but wants to make sure he only confuses defenses, and not his own players.

MIAMI: The Hurricanes spent their bye week focusing on special teams, but a consistent key to beating the Hokies has been a high-scoring game. Miami is 11-2 against Virginia Tech when it has scored 20 or more points against the Hokies. The Hurricanes lead the ACC in scoring offense with 30.4 points per game in ACC games. The Hurricanes could be without injured left tackle Jason Fox, though, and that could obviously hurt. Starting in his place would be senior Reggie Youngblood. Fox has started 22 straight games, and he and Xavier Shannon are the only two players on offense who have started every game this season.

FSU, Maryland and Virginia Tech injury reports

October, 3, 2008
10/03/08
7:43
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

FLORIDA STATE

Out for the year:
DB Ed Imeokparia (right knee)
LB Aaron Gresham (right knee)
RB Tavares Pressley (left knee)
OL Evan Bellamy (blood clot)
DT Emmanuel Dunbar (back)
DB Nick Moody (shoulder)

Out this week:
DE Toshmon Stevens (calf strain) and DE Jamar Jackson (knee)

Questionable:
WR Richard Goodman (knee)

MARYLAND

Out for season:
WR Kevin Dorsey (foot)
LB Dominique Herald (knee)
RB Paul Lariviere (knee)
OL Ben Pooler (knee)
DB Richard Taylor (knee)
DL Joe Vellano (shoulder)

Out:
LB Louis Berman (leg)
OL Tyler Bowen (leg)
DB Nolan Carroll (leg)
DL Ricardo Dacosta (leg)
TE Matt Furstenburg (leg)
LB Adrian Moten (arm)
QB Jordan Steffy (hand)
WR LaQuan Williams (leg)
OL Lamar Young (leg)

Questionable:
DL Mack Frost (leg)
DL Travis Ivey (leg)

VIRGINIA TECH

OL Barrett Mears (ankle) -- Out

ACC position rankings: Defensive line

July, 17, 2008
7/17/08
6:03
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

1. Georgia Tech: This veteran defense should help take some heat off the offense while it figures itself out. Senior tackles Vance Walker and Darryl Richard, along with defensive end Michael Johnson are legitimate NFL draft picks and should have their best seasons yet under first-year coordinator Dave Wommack.

2. Clemson: Three of the four starters return, including seniors Dorell Scott and Rashaad Jackson, and junior Ricky Sapp, who had 10 tackles for loss, five sacks and 22 quarterback pressures as a sophomore when he started all 13 games. And don't forget freshman Da'Quan Bowers, who will work his way into the rotation at defensive end with Kevin Alexander as they try to fill the void left by Phillip Merling.

3. Boston College: The Eagles had the No. 1 rushing defense in 2007 (75.5 yards per game), and that was without academically ineligible B.J. Raji and injured end Alex Albright, who had 8.5 sacks despite missing the last few games with a broken left forearm. Now they're back, along with senior tackle Ron Brace.

4. Florida State: Defensive end Everette Brown is the leader of this group and could be one of the best in the ACC. He led the team in sacks last year, when he was in a part-time role, and led all linemen in tackles and tackles for loss. Benjamin Lampkin converted from linebacker to end in the Music City Bowl. Budd Thacker started eight games last season and missed four because of an injury. Paul Griffin didn't start a game last year, but had 6.5 tackles behind the line of scrimmage.

5. Wake Forest: The Demon Deacons have to replace their top end in Jeremy Thompson, and fifth-year senior Anthony Davis, his backup, will inherit the job. Matt Robinson missed 2006 with a broken kneecap and then suffered a high ankle sprain last season and missed the three games. He was granted a sixth year of eligibility and will play as a grad student. Their strength will be inside with returning starter Boo Robinson at nose guard. John Russell is simmering with potential. Ted Randolph moved from tight end to defensive tackle midseason last year.

6. Virginia Tech: Only three ends with playing experience and one tackle return. Redshirt senior Orion Martin is the only returning lineman who started every game last season. Redshirt sophomore Jason Worilds should be No. 1 at the other end spot heading into fall and Nekos Brown and Steven Friday are competing for the backup spots. Demetrius Taylor has moved inside to tackle and will compete with John Graves, Cordarrow Thompson and a few others.

7. Duke: Junior tackle Vince Oghobaase is the real deal. He had 12 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks last season. He's one of four returning starters, along with defensive ends Greg Akinbiyi and Wesley Oglesby, and defensive tackle Ayanga Okpokowuruk.

8. Miami: Hurricane fans have good reason to be excited about freshman Marcus Forston, but there's little that's certain about this line. Allen Bailey's move here from linebacker should help, but this offseason he's been slowed by a pectoral injury. Eric Moncur has struggled to stay healthy, along with Courtney Harris. Senior left tackle Antonio Dixon, Joe Joseph and Dwayne Hendricks are competing with Forston for the tackle spots.

9. North Carolina: The Tar Heels have to replace two of the league's best linemen in tackle Kentwan Balmer and end Hilee Taylor. There are plenty of options at tackle, where Aleric Mullins is a returning starter, but Taylor's absence will be felt. Darrius Massenburg broke his wrist and didn't participate this spring, Darius Powell is more of a third-down guy, and Vince Jacobs is a converted tight end.

10. Maryland: Jeremy Navarre is the veteran of this group, having started a team-high 35 games, and should move from end to tackle. Mack Frost is expected to take Navarre's end position, but he missed this spring because of knee surgery. Trey Covington has plenty of experience at the Terps' LEO position, which is a hybrid defensive end/linebacker. More is expected of nose tackle Travis Ivey, who played sparingly last year mostly in goal-line situations. Walk-on Bemi Otulaja passed him on the depth chart this spring.

11. NC State: Defensive end Willie Young and tackle Alan-Michael Cash are two certainties in an otherwise questionable line. While the move of Ted Larsen and John Bedics helped out the offensive line, it hurt the depth on defense. Markus Kuhn is a viable option at defensive end, and Antoine Holmes could help at tackle.

12. Virginia: With Chris Long and the lone answer to his departure, Jeffrey Fitzgerald, no longer on the team, the Cavaliers have a serious hole to fill, and there's not much experience at end to choose from. Alex Field played sparingly in every game and Sean Gottschalk played in nine.

SPONSORED HEADLINES