ACC: Tyler Horn

Miami spring wrap

May, 8, 2012
2011 overall record: 6-6
2011 conference record: 3-5 (T-4th, Coastal)
Returning starters: Offense: 4; defense: 6; kicker/punter: 2

Top returners
WR Allen Hurns, TE Clive Walford, RT Jon Feliciano, RG Brandon Linder, DE Anthony Chickillo, DT Darius Smith, LB James Gaines, LB Denzel Perryman, CB Brandon McGee, S Vaughn Telemaque

Key losses
WR Travis Benjamin, WR Tommy Streeter, LT Brandon Washington, LG Harland Gunn, C Tyler Horn, QB Jacory Harris, RB Lamar Miller, DE Marcus Robinson, DT Adewale Ojomo, LB Sean Spence, CB Mike Williams, S JoJo Nicolas

2011 statistical leaders (* returners)

Rushing: Lamar Miller (1,271 yards)
Passing: Jacory Harris (2,486 yards)
Receiving: Tommy Streeter (811 yards)
Tackles: Sean Spence (106)
Sacks: Anthony Chickillo*/Marcus Robinson (5)
Interceptions: JoJo Nicolas (2)

Spring answers

1. Ryan Williams can challenge Stephen Morris: Williams received most of the spring reps with Morris sidelined, and the Memphis transfer should enter preseason camp with a chance to overtake Morris for the No. 1 spot. That's all the Hurricanes can hope for with Morris recovering from back surgery.

2. The defense should be OK: Yes, some of that ugly 7-6 final from the spring game has to be blamed on putrid offense, but the defense deserves plenty of credit for forcing five turnovers. The unit also forced 10 sacks and picked off three passes in the team's March 30 scrimmage. The Canes return six starters from a defense that ranked 17th nationally in scoring in 2011.

3. Running backs stepping up: Al Golden has praised Mike James and Eduardo Clements this spring for both their performances on the field and their leadership off it. A strong showing from the duo will certainly ease the loss of Lamar Miller, but that could depend more on the progress of the offensive line than anything else.

Fall questions

1. What will Morris be like upon return? No one wants to lose his job to injury, and Morris surely noticed the performance of Williams this spring. Morris was able to take reps toward the end of spring without pads, which is certainly encouraging, but how he fares against defenses remains to be seen.

2. How soon can newcomers contribute? Golden landed the nation's No. 8 recruiting class for 2012, and many of the rookies can't get to campus soon enough. Miami lost 30 players this past season and has questions at receiver, in the secondary and along the offensive line. Spots could be there for the taking, so seeing which newcomers step up early will be interesting.

3. About that elephant in the room … Coaches and players will repeat that they only worry about what they can control, but the black cloud from the Nevin Shapiro scandal won't stop looming over the program until the NCAA delivers its ruling. The day that comes will be a welcome relief for the program, dark as that day may be. But if Golden could lure the No. 8 recruiting class despite the scandal, imagine what he could do once it subsides.
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.

CB Donnie Fletcher: New York Jets

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

S Matt Daniels: St. Louis Rams

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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, 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.

CB Donnie Fletcher - New York Jets

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

S Matt Daniels - St. Louis Rams

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

ACSMA announces all-conference team

November, 28, 2011
The 2011 All-ACC football team, as voted on by 45 members of the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association, was released on Monday. A first-team vote was worth two points and second-team vote one. Unanimous selections are marked with an asterisk. Disclaimer: I did not vote for this team. The only all-conference team I participate in is the one I compile for, which hasn't been released yet. Here is the team as voted on by the members of ACSMA:



QB-Tajh Boyd, Clemson (71)

RB-David Wilson, Virginia Tech (90)*

RB-Giovani Bernard, North Carolina (66)

WR-Sammy Watkins, Clemson (86)

WR-Chris Givens, Wake Forest (69)

OT-Blake DeChristopher, Virginia Tech (86)

OT-Zebrie Sanders, Florida State (46)

OG-Austin Pasztor, Virginia (49)

OG-Omoregie Uzzi, Georgia Tech (45)

C-Dalton Freeman, Clemson (44)

TE-Dwayne Allen, Clemson (78)

K-Dustin Hopkins, Florida State (75)

Spec.- T.J. Graham, NC State (45)


DE-Andre Branch, Clemson (79)

DE-Quinton Coples, North Carolina (64)

DT-Joe Vellano, Maryland (68)

DT-Matt Conrath, Virginia (55)

LB-Luke Kuechly, Boston College (90)*

LB-Sean Spence, Miami (82)

LB-Zach Brown, North Carolina (48)

CB-David Amerson, NC State (86)

CB-Chase Minnifield, Virginia (47)

S-Matt Daniels, Duke (80)

S-Josh Bush, Wake Forest (41)

P-Shawn Powell, Florida State (85)



QB-Logan Thomas, Virginia Tech (49)

WR-Dwight Jones, North Carolina (58)

WR-Conner Vernon, Duke (34)

RB-Lamar Miller, Miami (62)

RB-Andre Ellington, Clemson (26)

OT-Oday Aboushi, Virginia (43)

OT-James Hurst, North Carolina (30)

OG-Jaymes Brooks, Virginia Tech (35)

OG-Jonathan Cooper, North Carolina (31)

OG-Joe Looney, Wake Forest (31)

C-Tyler Horn, Miami (32)

TE-George Bryan, NC State (29)

K-Chandler Catanzaro, Clemson (37)

Spec.-Sammy Watkins, Clemson (33)


DE-Brandon Jenkins, Florida State (51)

DE-James Gayle, Virginia Tech (25)

DT-Brandon Thompson, Clemson (43)

DT-Nikita Whitlock, Wake Forest (30)

LB-Terrell Manning, NC State (44)

LB-Julian Burnett, Georgia Tech (34)

LB-Steve Greer, Virginia (23)

CB-Jayron Hosley, Virginia Tech (36)

CB-Kyle Fuller, Virginia Tech (34)

S-Eddie Whitley, Virginia Tech (33)

S-Lamarcus Joyner, Florida State (23)

P-Alex King, Duke (22)

ACC's players of the week

November, 7, 2011
Here are the ACC's Players of the Week, as announced and written by the league offices in Greensboro, N.C.:

OFFENSIVE BACK – Jacory Harris, Miami, Sr., QB, 6-4, 195, Miami, Fla.

Harris threw three touchdowns in Saturday’s 49-14 win over Duke. Harris orchestrated scoring plays on the first four possessions of the game for the Canes. The signal-caller was 14-of-20 (70%) for 202 yards and passed for three scores. Harris became the second Miami quarterback to pass for 8,000 or more yards in his career. Harris entered the game with 7,895 passing yards and collected 202 against Duke to end with 8,097 yards. With his three touchdown passes, Harris moved into a fourth-place tie in ACC history with 68 career touchdown passes.

RECEIVER – Kris Burd, Virginia, Sr., WR, 6-1, 200, Matoaca, Va.

Kris Burd caught nine passes for 112 yards in Virginia's 31-13 win at Maryland. It was the seventh 100-yard receiving day of his career. The nine receptions were a season high and the 112-yard performance was his second best game this season.

CO-OFFENSIVE LINEMAN – Austin Pasztor, Virginia, Sr., OG, 6-7, 305, Langton, Ontario

The senior offensive guard was nearly flawless in Virginia's 31-13 victory at Maryland. Pasztor played 83 plays and graded out at 93 percent. He had six knockdown blocks as the Cavaliers rushed for 220 yards (4.9 yards per carry) and threw for 307 yards while rolling up a season-high 527 yards. Pasztor and the Cavalier line did not allow a sack as quarterback Michael Rocco attempted 36 passes. It marked the second straight game the unit has not allowed a sack.

CO-OFFENSIVE LINEMAN – Tyler Horn, Miami, Sr., OL, 6-4, 305, Memphis, Tenn.

Tyler Horn helped lead the Miami offense to 467 yards of total offense in a 49-14 win over Duke. The senior center directed an offensive line that did not allow a sack and saw quarterback Jacory Harris pass for three touchdowns and 202 yards. The Canes put up another 265 on the ground, including four scores. With the work of the line, running back Lamar Miller gained 147 yards to go over 1,000 for the season.

DEFENSIVE LINEMAN – Anthony McCloud, Florida State, Jr., NG, 6-2, 311, Thomasville, Ga.

McCloud posted a season-high five tackles (4 solos, 1 assist) from his nose guard position as the Seminoles held BC to 94 yards on 39 carries. Florida State ranks third in the nation in rushing defense. McCloud registered a tackle for loss and a forced fumble, dropping Boston College tailback Rolandan Finch for a six-yard loss on the second drive of the game. FSU recovered at the BC 2 and jumped out to a 7-0 lead it never relinquished. In addition to stuffing the run, McCloud’s ability to push the pocket contributed to FSU limiting BC to 207 total yards.

LINEBACKER – Terrell Manning, NC State, Jr., LB, 6-3, 233, Laurinburg, N.C.

Manning had a huge game for the Wolfpack, which shut out UNC for the first time in 51 years. Manning, a junior form Laurinburg, N.C., played 59 snaps and had 11 total tackles, a sack for 12 yards, three pass breakups and three quarterback knockdowns. Manning had three stops on third down and one stop on fourth down, all in the game’s final 20 minutes.

DEFENSIVE BACK – Rodney McLeod, Virginia, Sr., S, 5-11, 180, Oxon Hill, Md.

The Cavalier defensive back had three interceptions (all in the second half in an 18-minute span) in Virginia's 31-13 victory at Maryland. McLeod's first pick came at the Virginia 27-yard yard line after Maryland had driven to the UVa-30 with the Cavaliers holding a 21-13 advantage. UVa went on to score a TD following the turnover. Both of McLeod's fourth-quarter interceptions came on fourth-down plays, one at the VA 23-yard line and the other at the VA-4 yard line. McLeod also led the Cavaliers in tackles with seven. He becomes the first ACC player this season to record three interceptions. McLeod becomes the first Cavalier to intercept three passes in a game since Anthony Poindexter (current assistant coach) against NC State in 1996. He becomes the fourth BCS player this season to record three interceptions in a single game.

SPECIALIST – Wil Baumann, NC State, Fr., P, 6-4, 185, Wilmington, N.C.

The Wolfpack’s freshman punter was invaluable in the victory over the Tar Heels. Baumann, from Wilmington, N.C., punted seven times for an average of 37.9 yards. He had five punts inside the UNC 20-yard line, four of which were downed at or inside the 10 (two downed at the 10, two at the 7). North Carolina’s average starting field position on its 13 possessions was its own 21.

ROOKIE – Nick O’Leary, Florida State, Fr., TE, 6-4, 240, Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

The true freshman led the Seminoles with a career-high 87 receiving yards on three receptions, which also matched his previous single-game best. O’Leary’s 58-yard reception of an EJ Manuel pass set up Florida State’s third score, good for a 21-0 lead against Boston College. It was the longest reception by an FSU tight end since Lonnie Johnson’s 78-yard catch in 1993. O’Leary also had a 23-yard reception which set up FSU’s final touchdown of the game early in the fourth quarter.

Summer summary: Miami

August, 25, 2011
Our summer series continues today taking a look back at the highlights from summer camp for each team in the ACC. Miami is up next, and while the NCAA investigation has no doubt been one of the biggest stories in all of college football, let’s go ahead and focus on what Miami has accomplished on the field this month:

  • The quarterback competition has been a dead heat. In the most recent scrimmage, seven yards separated Jacory Harris and Stephen Morris. Both of them have performed similarly with completions, attempts, touchdowns, interceptions, and other relevant statistics kept by the coaching staff.
  • Freshmen, redshirt freshmen and transfer players have performed well enough in summer camp to earn significant playing time. Mike Williams, who transferred from Wake Forest, could earn a starting job in the secondary. Receiver Phillip Dorsett has been very poised and could also be a starter. Tommy Streeter is more confident now, and those within the program sense his summer success will translate into games. Anthony Chickillo has also likely earned himself some meaningful snaps on the defensive line.
  • The offensive line has been a highlight, as the players have been moving well and working well together. Tyler Horn has taken on a leadership role, not only for the line, but the offense and entire team as well. Seantrel Henderson’s back injury was the most notable injury of the summer, and there’s still no timetable for when he’ll return.
  • Safety Vaughn Telemaque has had a particularly impressive summer, and overall, the entire team has been closer than usual, and hung out together more off the field.

Video: Miami OL Tyler Horn

August, 18, 2011

Heather Dinich talks with Miami OL Tyler Horn about the upcoming season during ACC media days in July.

ACC's preseason all-conference team

July, 27, 2011
Florida State and Miami led all ACC schools, each with four players selected to the 2011 Preseason All-ACC Football team in voting conducted by the media at the annual ACC Football Kickoff, which was held July 24-25 at the Pinehurst Resort in Pinehurst, N.C. The Preseason All-ACC team was announced Wednesday.

Here are the results:

WR Conner Vernon, Duke

WR Dwight Jones, North Carolina

TE George Bryan, NC State

T Blake DeChristopher, Virginia Tech

T Andrew Datko, Florida State

G Brandon Washington, Miami

G Omoregie Uzzi, Georgia Tech

C Tyler Horn, Miami

QB EJ Manuel, Florida State

RB Montel Harris, Boston College

RB Andre Ellington, Clemson


DE Brandon Jenkins, Florida State

DE Quinton Coples, North Carolina

DT Tydreke Powell, North Carolina

DT Brandon Thompson, Clemson

LB Luke Kuechly, Boston College

LB Sean Spence, Miami

LB Kenny Tate, Maryland

CB Chase Minnifield, Virginia

CB Jayron Hosely, Virginia Tech

S Ray-Ray Armstrong, Miami

S Eddie Whitley, Virginia Tech


PK Will Snyderwine, Duke

P Dawson Zimmerman, Clemson

SP Greg Reid, Florida State

ACC media days notebook

July, 24, 2011
Boston CollegeBoston College: Linebacker Luke Kuechly led the nation last year with 110 tackles -- so many that his dad often gave him grief last year about how many were legitimate. “He’s always like, ‘You just walk by the ball and they give you tackles,’” Kuechly said with a laugh. “I’m like, ‘Dad, man, I’m working for those.’ He said, ‘No, you’re not, they’re just tallying them up for you.’”

ClemsonClemson: The pace of Clemson’s offense has sped up under first-year coordinator Chad Morris, and it starts at the heart of the line. Instead of looking to the sideline and getting the play, Clemson center Dalton Freeman said he’s running straight to the ball. “When you’re looking at the sideline for a couple of years, waiting to hear the signal, to going straight to the ball and getting into your stance, it’s a big transition but it’s been a smooth one.”

DukeDuke: Quarterback Sean Renfree said his improved decision-making was the biggest difference down the stretch last season. “Towards the end of the season I was thinking you don’t have to score every series,” he said. “Do the little things to give yourself a chance in the fourth quarter.” Renfree, who’s visibly bigger, faster and stronger, said he’s much more confident entering his second season as starter.

Florida StateFlorida State: The Seminoles are already preparing for their Sept. 17 home game against Oklahoma. “I watch film on them every day,” said defensive end Brandon Jenkins. “That’s a key factor.” Jenkins said last year’s 47-17 loss stuck with them for a long time, but they’re “going to try to change that this year.” He said the Noles have grown most in leadership and maturity since that loss.

Georgia TechGeorgia Tech: While Georgia Tech might not find its next 1,000-yard rusher this fall, A-back Roddy Jones said the Jackets will get their yards by committee this year. “I think there will definitely be at least two,” he said of the B-backs. “We have four who are capable of doing the job. I don’t think any of them will be as explosive as [Jon] Dwyer was, but every single one is capable of being as effective as Anthony [Allen] was.”

MarylandMaryland: Linebacker Kenny Tate said his move from safety to linebacker isn’t as significant as some might think. “It’s really not a huge change,” he said. “… I still have the freedom to move around, I’m just closer to the line.” Tate said he has heard that the move could be a boost in his NFL stock because he can showcase his ability to blitz and also play safety.

MiamiMiami: The Hurricanes will be hunkered down in a hotel to stay focused during the first few weeks of summer camp, according to center Tyler Horn -- who said the team could use it. “Obviously what we did last year was not good enough,” Horn said. “The focus has been an emphasis and being mentally tough … Nothing but good can come out of it.”

UNCNorth Carolina: Quarterback Bryn Renner lost a video game to offensive lineman Jonathan Cooper, and Cooper immediately got the silent treatment. Cooper said Renner is “very competitive. He hates to lose.” One of the adjustments Renner will have to make, Cooper said, is accepting the ups and downs of his position. “You’re not always going to be the glory guy, you’re going to have to take some of the falls with it as well.”

NC StateNC State: Tight end George Bryan said he kept his personal feelings out of former quarterback Russell Wilson’s decision to transfer. He didn’t know until he found about it on TV. “I trust whatever decision was made,” he said. Bryan said he hopes Wilson does well at Wisconsin. “If it’s on TV, I’ll definitely watch it and be cheering for him.”

VirginiaVirginia: Cornerback Chase Minnifield said he “doesn’t have many expectations” for himself: Just an All-American, All-ACC, and the best corner in the country. “I don’t really care what my interceptions are,” he said. “I think a good corner is a guy who doesn’t give up too many passes and doesn’t give up any touchdowns. If I can get that done, I’ll be all right.”

Virginia TechVirginia Tech: Safety Eddie Whitley said he has seen quarterback Logan Thomas making “big strides, even from spring to now.” Whitley said Thomas is ahead of the curve, but expects opponents to disrespect Thomas’ IQ and arm strength. During voluntary workouts this summer, Thomas would run a play, and ask Whitley what coverage the defense was in and why, and how he can throw the ball better against it.

Wake ForestWake Forest: One priority for the defense is creating turnovers, as the Demon Deacons ranked tied for No. 94 in the country last season with 17. Linebacker Kyle Wilber said the players were young, “cocky and arrogant” and thought they were going to easily strip the ball last year. “If we don’t help out our offense and put them in the best position they can be in, how do we expect to win?”

Preseason watch lists complete

July, 18, 2011
The members of the National College Football Awards Association unveiled their preseason watch lists over a 13-day period concluding with the Walter Camp Award's list today. Fifteen of the association's 21 awards selected a preseason watch list, and I've compiled your ACC candidates here:

  • Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina
  • Jayron Hosley, DB, Virginia Tech
  • Brandon Jenkins, DT, Florida State
  • Luke Kuechly, LB, Boston College
  • Ray-Ray Armstrong, Miami
  • Donnie Fletcher, Boston College
  • Jayron Hosley, Virginia Tech
  • Chase Minnifield, Virginia
  • Greg Reid, Florida State
  • Xavier Rhodes, Florida State
  • Kenny Tate, Maryland
  • Nigel Bradham, LB, Florida State
  • Jaymes Brooks, G, Virginia Tech
  • Audie Cole, LB, NC State
  • Jonathan Cooper, G, North Carolina
  • Quinton Coples, OT, Florida State
  • Blake DeChristopher, OT, Virginia Tech
  • Marcus Forston, DT, Miami
  • Dalton Freeman, C, Clemson
  • Brandon Jenkins, DE, Florida State
  • Cam Johnson, DT, Virginia
  • Luke Kuechly, LB, Boston College
  • Donte Paige-Moss, DE, North Carolina
  • Tydreke Powell, DT, North Carolina
  • Sean Spence, LB, Miami
  • Bruce Taylor, LB, Virginia Tech
  • Joe Vellano, DT, Maryland
  • Brandon Washington, G, Miami
  • Dalton Freeman, Clemson
  • Cam Holland, North Carolina
  • Tyler Horn, Miami
  • Brian Moore, Duke
  • Nigel Bradham, Florida State
  • Zach Brown, North Carolina
  • Ramon Buchanan, Miami
  • Audie Cole, NC State
  • Luke Kuechly, Boston College
  • Kevin Reddick, North Carolina
  • Sean Spence, Miami
  • Kenny Tate, Maryland
  • Bruce Taylor, Virginia Tech
  • Ray-Ray Armstrong, S, Miami
  • Nigel Bradham, LB, Florida State
  • Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina
  • Donnie Fletcher, CB, Boston College
  • Jayron Hosley, CB, Virginia Tech
  • Brandon Jenkins, DE, Florida State
  • Luke Kuechly, LB, Boston College
  • Chase Minnifield, CB, Virginia
  • Donte Paige-Moss, DE, North Carolina
  • Kevin Reddick, LB, North Carolina
  • Greg Reid, CB, Florida State
  • Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State
  • Sean Spence, LB, Miami
  • Kenny Tate, LB, Maryland
  • Bruce Taylor, LB, Virginia Tech
  • Casey Barth, North Carolina
  • Nate Freese, Boston College
  • Dustin Hopkins, Florida State
  • Will Snyderwine, Duke
  • Dawson Zimmerman, Clemson
  • Ray-Ray Armstrong, S, Miami
  • Nigel Bradham, LB, Florida State
  • Zach Brown, LB, North Carolina
  • Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina
  • Marcus Forston, DT, Miami
  • Jayron Hosley, CB, Virginia Tech
  • Brandon Jenkins, DE, Florida State
  • Luke Kuechly, LB, Boston College
  • Chase Minnifield, CB, Virginia
  • Donte Paige-Moss, DE, North Carolina
  • Tydreke Powell, DT, North Carolina
  • Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State
  • Sean Spence, OLB, Miami
  • Kenny Tate, LB, Maryland
  • Bruce Taylor, LB, Virginia Tech
  • Andrew Datko, OT, Florida State
  • Blake DeChristopher, OT, Virginia Tech
  • Marcus Forston, DT, Miami
  • Dalton Freeman, C, Clemson
  • Tydreke Powell, DT, North Carolina
  • Omoregie Uzzi, OG, Georgia Tech
  • Brandon Washington, OG, Miami
  • EJ Manuel, Florida State
  • Danny O'Brien, Maryland
  • Sean Renfree, Duke

Rimington Trophy watch list announced

July, 13, 2011
The Rimington Trophy committee has released its 2011 fall watch list for the award given to the nation's top center. Four of the 43 players are from the ACC:

Dalton Freeman, Clemson
Cam Holland, North Carolina
Tyler Horn, Miami
Brian Moore, Duke

Look who's talking ...

July, 11, 2011
The ACC on Monday announced the names of the 24 players who have been chosen to attend the 2011 Atlantic Coast Conference Football Kickoff, July 24-25 at the Pinehurst Resort in Pinehurst, N.C.

This is one of my favorite events of the year, as it's the first real sign the season is right around the corner. I will be covering every second of it, tweeting and posting videos of players and coaches. I'll have more on it as it gets closer, but here are the players who will be available for interviews from each school:

Boston College
Montel Harris, tailback, senior, Jacksonville, Fla.
Luke Kuechly, linebacker, junior, Cincinnati, Ohio.

Landon Walker, offensive tackle, senior, North Wilkesboro, N.C.
Brandon Thompson, defensive tackle, senior, Thomasville, Ga.

Sean Renfree, quarterback, junior, Scottsdale, Ariz.
Matt Daniels, safety, senior, Fayetteville, Ga.

Florida State
EJ Manuel, quarterback, junior, Virginia Beach, Va.
Brandon Jenkins, defensive end, junior, Tallahassee, Fla.

Georgia Tech
Roddy Jones, A-Back, senior, Stone Mountain, Ga.
Logan Walls, defensive tackle, senior, Dawsonville, Ga.

Danny O’Brien, quarterback, sophomore, Kernersville, N.C.
Kenny Tate, linebacker, senior, Forestville, Md.

Tyler Horn, center, senior, Memphis, Tenn.
Sean Spence, outside linebacker, senior, Miami, Fla.

North Carolina
Jonathan Cooper, center, junior, Wilmington, N.C.
Tydreke Powell, defensive tackle, senior, Ahoskie, N.C.

NC State
George Bryan, tight end, senior, Castle Hayne, N.C.
Audie Cole, linebacker, senior, Monroe, Mich.

Kris Burd, wide receiver, senior, Matoaca, Va.
Chase Minnifield, cornerback, senior, Lexington, Ky.

Virginia Tech
Danny Coale, wide receiver, senior, Lexington, Va.
Eddie Whitley, safety, senior, Charlotte, N.C.

Wake Forest
Joe Looney, offensive guard, senior, Lake Worth, Fla.
Kyle Wilber, outside linebacker, senior, Apopka, Fla.
Ranking offensive linemen is not easy. But hey, either is being an offensive lineman. Here are your best "big uglies."

1. North Carolina: Three starters and one part-time starter return from last year’s team, and this line could be the biggest and best since Butch Davis was hired. Guard Jonathan Cooper (22 starts), center Cam Holland (20) and tackle James Hurst (12) have combined for 54 career starts. Travis Bond has four starts and is the leading candidate to take over at the other guard position.

2. Miami: The Canes return nine of their top 10 offensive linemen including four starters from last year, and Joel Figueroa was granted a sixth season of eligibility. Even with the coaching change, the Canes should be strong up front. Center Tyler Horn is a veteran, Brandon Washington is a difference-maker, and there’s enough competition that Seantrel Henderson spent most of the spring as a backup.

3. Clemson: First-year offensive line coach Robbie Caldwell has four returning starters to work with in Landon Walker, Antoine McClain, Dalton Freeman and David Smith. They also have top reserve Mason Cloy, who has 19 career starts and has played in 38 games. There is plenty of depth for a dependable rotation.

4. Virginia Tech: All four returnees started every game last year, and there is enough depth that the Hokies should be able to rotate the most players up front they ever have. It’s a veteran group led by Blake DeChristopher, Andrew Lanier, Jaymes Brooks and Greg Nosal.

5. Florida State: Despite the losses of Rodney Hudson and Ryan McMahon, there’s experience up front. This fall, the starting lineup will consist of tackle Andrew Datko, left guard Bryan Stork or David Spurlock, center Jacob Fahrenkrug, right guard Spurlock or Stork, right tackle Zebrie Sanders. Just how good they’ll be remains to be seen as the majority of them were out with injuries this past spring.

6. NC State: The Pack lost Jake Vermiglio and will be without injured left guard Andrew Wallace for about half of the season, but Zach Allen, Camden Wentz and R.J. Mattes are returning starters. There’s also a lot of talent waiting to emerge with young players like Duran Christophe, Rob Crisp, Tyson Chandler, Torian Box and Andy Jomantas.

7. Virginia: Four players return with a combined 64 career starts in Anthony Mihota, Austin Pasztor, Oday Aboushi and Morgan Moses, who started the final seven games of the season as a true freshman. Pasztor is in his fourth season as a starter and has 32 career starts.

8. Boston College: Despite the losses of Anthony Castonzo, Thomas Claiborne and Rich Lapham, the Eagles are almost settled up front, it’s the experience behind the starters that’s reason for concern. The No. 2 offensive line is comprised entirely of redshirt freshmen. Mark Spinney returns at center, the projected starting guards are Nathan Richman and Ian White, who started three games as a freshman, and the tackles are Emmett Cleary and John Wetzel.

9. Maryland: It’s been an injury-prone group the past two seasons and that didn’t change this past spring. Left tackle Justin Gilbert, one of the top linemen on the team, reinjured the same knee he had ACL surgery on and will be out until October. R.J. Dill was also injured this spring, though he played in the spring game, and Justin Lewis was rehabbing from offseason surgery. Pete White also missed practices, so the group needs to solidify the two-deep roster.

10. Georgia Tech: The Jackets return three starters in guard Omoregie Uzzi, guard Will Jackson and tackle Phil Smith. Sophomore Jay Finch played extensively last season and Ray Beno and Nick McRae were key reserves. Redshirt freshmen Catlin Alford and Morgan Bailey could also work their way into the rotation. Uzzi will be the leader of the line, but they were outplayed by the defense this spring.

11. Wake Forest: Four starters are back, but the Deacs will sorely miss the experience and leadership of former center Russell Nenon. Garrick Williams started the final three games of 2010 -- two at guard and one at center, but he struggled with the snaps towards the end of spring and isn’t where the staff needs him to be yet.

12. Duke: The Blue Devils should take another step forward this season under offensive line coach Matt Luke, and they need to -- Duke’s running game was last in the ACC last year and 104th in the country. Brian Moore replaces a three-year starter at center, but given his experience at right guard the past two seasons, it should be a smooth transition. That will leave a hole, though, at the right guard position, where Laken Tomlinson and John Coleman are the top candidates.
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:


[+] 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.


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.


[+] 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.


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.

Hope and concern: Miami

June, 3, 2011
The hope and concern series continues today with Miami.

Biggest reason for hope: Strength up front

The offensive line will have a veteran look, led by senior center Tyler Horn, senior guard Harland Gunn and junior guard Brandon Washington, and if Seantrel Henderson is a backup? That’s some legitimate depth. With nine of the top 10 players returning and Joel Figueroa granted a sixth season of eligibility, this should be one of Miami’s better lines in recent years. Defensively, Miami was good last year and should be even better this season with juniors and seniors leading the way. Adewale Ojomo, Marcus Robinson, Micanor Regis, Marcus Forston and Olivier Vernon should prove to be one of the best defensive lines in the ACC.

Biggest reason for concern: Uncertainty at quarterback

The fact that Al Golden still doesn’t know who his starting quarterback will be for the season opener should be unsettling to fans, as should the fact that Miami quarterbacks combined for 27 interceptions last year. Whether it’s Jacory Harris or Stephen Morris, Miami needs a dependable leader to emerge this summer. Harris had 15 interceptions to 14 touchdowns last year, and it seems as if he’s never been the same since he’s suffered various injuries over the past few years. Both quarterbacks made progress this spring, but not enough was revealed in the spring game to convince anyone that 2011 will be any different or better than last year.

More in this series: