ACC: Vinston Painter

Florida State followed up its big first round with a huge NFL draft weekend, as the Seminoles led every program in the nation with 11 total picks, setting a new school record.

That's right. The Noles had more picks than national champion Alabama (nine) and SEC power LSU (nine), two schools that played for the national championship following the 2011 season. More than in-state rival Florida (eight), too.

Those numbers are clear validation the Seminoles have restocked their cupboards with an inordinate amount of talent as they re-emerge in the national conversation.

"It’s a great indication of how the program is truly developing," coach Jimbo Fisher said in a statement. “I think it shows we’re getting back to national prominence. Our players are doing a great job of representing themselves on and off the field leading to chances at the next level. I’m happy for all of these guys and want to thank them for helping return this program back to the national spotlight."

Overall, the ACC had 31 players taken for the ninth straight season, finishing second behind the SEC.

Here is a quick look back at all the selections:

First round
  • No. 7 Jonathan Cooper, OG, Arizona
  • No. 16 EJ Manuel, QB, Buffalo
  • No. 24 Bjoern Werner, DE, Indianapolis
  • No. 25 Xavier Rhodes, CB, Minnesota
  • No. 27 DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Houston
  • No. 28 Sylvester Williams, DT, Denver
Second round
  • No. 37 Giovani Bernard, RB, North Carolina
  • No. 40 Cornellius "Tank" Carradine, DE, San Francisco
  • No. 42 Menelik Watson, OT, Oakland
  • No. 51 David Amerson, CB, NC State
Third round
  • No. 73 Mike Glennon, QB, Tampa Bay
  • No. 89 Brennan Williams, OT, North Carolina
Fourth round
  • No. 127 Malliciah Goodman, DE, Atlanta
Fifth round
  • No. 136 Earl Wolff, S, Philadelphia
  • No. 141 Oday Aboushi, OG, New York Jets
  • No. 143 Jonathan Meeks, S, Buffalo
  • No. 149 Brandon McGee, CB, St. Louis
  • No. 154 Chris Thompson, RB, Washington
  • No. 162 Brandon Jenkins, LB, Washington
Sixth round
  • No. 171 Corey Fuller, WR, Detroit
  • No. 173 Vinston Painter, OT, Denver
  • No. 177 Dustin Hopkins, PK, Buffalo
  • No. 180 Nick Moody, LB, San Francisco
  • No. 187 Andre Ellington, RB, Arizona
  • No. 189 Mike James, RB, Tampa Bay
  • No. 206 Vince Williams, LB, Pittsburgh
Seventh round
  • No. 214 Travis Bond, OG, Minnesota
  • No. 215 Tommy Bohanon, FB, New York Jets
  • No. 224 Kevin Dorsey, WR, Green Bay
  • No. 229 Everett Dawkins, DT, Minnesota
  • No. 249 Sean Renfree, QB, Atlanta

Incoming member Syracuse had three players drafted as well: tackle Justin Pugh in the first round to the New York Giants; quarterback Ryan Nassib in the fourth round to the Giants; and safety Shamarko Thomas in the fourth round to Pittsburgh.

And now a few notes:
  • North Carolina had the second-most picks from the ACC with five -- its highest total since five were picked in 2011. The Tar Heels had three offensive linemen selected, the most from UNC in the draft since 1967.
  • Miami had its NFL draft streak extended to 39 consecutive seasons with Brandon McGee and Mike James both getting selected.
  • Virginia also had its draft streak extended to 30 straight seasons with Aboushi's selection.
  • Tommy Bohanon Bohanon became just the third Wake Forest fullback to have his name called in the draft, joining Ovie Mughelli (Ravens, 2003) and Neil MacLean (Eagles, 1958).
  • With four selections in this year's draft, Clemson has now had 23 players chosen over the last five years, and at least four every year Dabo Swinney has been head coach. It is the first time in history Clemson has had at least four players drafted each of the last five years.
  • Georgia Tech did not have a player selected for the first time since 2005. Three players with draft hopes ended up with free agent deals: T.J. Barnes (Jacksonville), Izaan Cross (Buffalo) and Rod Sweeting (New Orleans).
  • Pitt did not have a player drafted for the second consecutive season. Running back Ray Graham, who was the Panthers' best hope for selection, signed as an undrafted free agent with the Texans.
  • Here are a few other notable free-agent signings: Conner Vernon (Oakland), Chibuikem “Kenny” Okoro (San Diego), Marcus Davis (New York Giants), Lonnie Pryor (Jacksonville).

ACC pro days watch

March, 22, 2013
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Eight more ACC schools have completed their pro days. Here is a look at some of the highlights:

BOSTON COLLEGE
  • Twelve former Eagles participated during the Eagles' pro day.
  • Representatives from 12 different teams were there, including the Patriots and Saints.
  • Linebacker Nick Clancy, who was unable to attend the NFL scouting combine because of a broken arm, was satisfied with his performance, telling the MetroWest Daily News, "It’s something you train for three months for. I’ve been doing nothing but working out and eating right, and getting my body right for this day, so I think I did well and hopefully the scouts thought I did well, too."
FLORIDA STATE
GEORGIA TECH
  • Eight Jackets participated. The top two draft prospects -- TJ Barnes and Rod Sweeting -- did not run the 40 again, choosing to stand on their numbers from the combine. There are still some concerns about Barnes' weight.
  • Quarterback Tevin Washington says he will play any position in the NFL. He ran a 4.63 in the 40-yard dash.
  • Offensive linemen Omoregie Uzzi did only the bench press as he recovers from an injury. He was able to lift 225 pounds 22 times.
MARYLAND
  • Fourteen former Terps participated in pro day.
  • Tight end Matt Furstenburg, who has seen his draft stock rise over the past month, did not participate in the testing portion because of solid numbers from the combine. He ran the 40 in 4.62 seconds, third among tight ends. Furstenburg also placed third in the vertical jump (35.5 inches), fifth in the 20-yard shuttle (4.35) and fourth in the 60-yard shuttle (11.76) at his position. He did do some field drills.
NC STATE

  • All eyes were on quarterback Mike Glennon and cornerback David Amerson. Glennon stood on his numbers from the combine, but did participate in field drills. He impressed at least one draft analyst with his performance at pro day.
  • Amerson only did the vertical (38.5) and long jumps (11).
  • C.J. Wilson ran the fastest 40 time on the day, a sprint of 4.33.
  • Earl Wolff has peaked at the right time. He stood on all his numbers from the combine except the vertical (36).

VIRGINIA
  • Tackle Oday Aboushi, expected to be the top Cav taken in the draft, improved on the numbers he posted at the combine in the bench press and 40. He had 21 reps at 225 and ran the 40 in about 5.3. Aboushi told The Daily Progress, "I didn’t put up the numbers I wanted to (at the combine). The schedule was a little rough on me. I didn’t bench as well as I thought I was going to do. ... I could kind of redeem myself at pro day. I definitely had something to prove at pro day."
VIRGINIA TECH

  • All workouts were closed to the media, so not much data is available about how the former Hokies in attendance performed.
  • Offensive tackle Vinston Painter only did position drills for the scouts, happy with his numbers from the combine.
  • Linebacker Bruce Taylor, on the other hand, did everything but the bench press. He believes he improved on his 40 time, which was an eyebrow-raising 5.01 seconds.

WAKE FOREST
  • Eight former Deacs participated.
  • Fullback Tommy Bohanon has the best shot at getting drafted. He chose to stand on the numbers he posted at the combine in the bench press (36 reps at 225), vertical and broad jumps. According to NFL.com, Bohanon ran the 40 in 4.76 and 4.79 to improve on his combine time of 4.88. Bohanon told The Winston-Salem Journal, "I didn’t do anything on the inside with the bench press, but I did all the drills out here, and I improved a little, so that was good."

For a look back at the headlines from Clemson, Miami, Pitt and Syracuse, click here.

ACC's lunchtime links

March, 21, 2013
3/21/13
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These links are brought to you from Miami spring practice ...

ACC at the combine

February, 27, 2013
2/27/13
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The poking, prodding, interviews and drills have wrapped up at the NFL combine in Indianapolis. Now let's take a quick look at who stood out from the ACC during the all-important event.

  • The defensive backs were the last group to go, wrapping up Tuesday. And there were some pretty good performances. Miami cornerback Brandon McGee posted one of the fastest 40 times at the combine, running a 4.40 to rank him No. 13 among all participants. He also was a top performer in the bench press and 20-yard shuttle run. Those numbers will not do anything but help his draft stock.
  • [+] EnlargeDavid Amerson
    AP Photo/Dave MartinNC State cornerback David Amerson showed off his speed at the NFL combine, clocking a 4.44 in the 40-yard dash.
  • NC State cornerback David Amerson was out to prove himself at the combine after an up-and-down 2012 season. He definitely opened eyes with his performance, which NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock described as "excellent." Amerson ran a 4.44 in the 40 and was also a top performer in the vertical jump.
  • Those two guys were not the only fast defensive backs at the combine. Of the players with the top 15 times at the position, six have ACC ties. Rod Sweeting of Georgia Tech (4.42), Shamarko Thomas of Syracuse (4.42), Xavier Rhodes of Florida State (4.43) and Earl Wolff of NC State (4.44) were among the fastest.
  • Speaking of Rhodes, his vertical leap was incredibly impressive, at 40.5 inches to tie for first among all defensive backs and rank No. 3 overall. He also was a top performer in the broad jump, and certainly helped himself with his day. So did Thomas, one of the most underrated players in college football last year. Though Thomas made some headlines after he fell at the end of his 40, he had a huge day. He also leaped 40.5 inches and was a top performer in the 20-yard shuttle and broad jump.
  • The ACC had several top performers in the bench press as well. Wake Forest fullback Tommy Bohanon tied for No. 4 overall with 36 reps and was also a top performer in the vertical jump and 60-yard shuttle. Also in the top 15 overall for bench: North Carolina guard Jonathan Cooper (35), NC State guard Zach Allen (32) and Virginia Tech offensive tackle Vinston Painter (32). Speaking of Cooper, ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay said the lineman "had one of the more impressive workouts."
  • Florida State quarterback EJ Manuel had a nice combine himself, though he was inconsistent with his throws. Manuel was a top performer in the broad jump, ranking No. 3 among all quarterbacks after jumping 9 feet, 10 inches. He also was a top performer in the 40 (4.65), vertical jump (34), 3-cone drill (7.08) and 20-yard shuttle (4.21) to rank among the top 5 in each category.
  • The folks at Scouts Inc. had this to say about Clemson receiver DeAndre Hopkins, a top performer at his position in the bench press and vertical jump (36): "His 4.57 in the 40 is about what we expected. His game is more about being physical, though, and Hopkins showed good ball skills. He is was one of the most natural pass-catchers on the field, with good focus in the gauntlet drill and the ability to extend fully for balls." He's got a second-round grade.
  • Virginia Tech receiver Marcus Davis put up some good numbers as well, topping his position with a vertical jump of 39.5 inches, while also posting good numbers in the 40 (4.56) and bench press (19 reps). It's never been about physical talent for Davis, so the numbers aren't much of a surprise. He has to put it all together on the field.
  • Now for running back: North Carolina's Giovani Bernard was a top performer in various categories. He ran a 4.53 in the 40; and was a top performer in the 20-yard shuttle and 60-yard shuttle. Miami running back Mike James also put up some good numbers.

BLACKSBURG, Va. -- Virginia Tech quarterback Logan Thomas said he probably won’t sleep too well following his pedestrian performance in the Hokies’ 20-17 overtime win against Georgia Tech.

It might help him to watch the game film of the first three and a half quarters.

It was a snoozefest. Nyquil in uniform. Until the final 7:46 of regulation, when the Hokies scored 10 points to tie the game at 17 and force the first overtime game in Lane Stadium history. It was a thrilling, historic, dramatic finish that went off like an alarm and reminded many of us why we love college football.

You never know what you’re going to get -- and that just might be the story of the Hokies this fall.

There were signs that Virginia Tech can again play its way to the ACC championship game -- and historically, the winner of this game has gone on to do just that in each of the past seven seasons. But more often than not Monday night, the offense was sluggish, Thomas' throws were off, and the youth and inexperience around him was exposed. The defense, though, lived up to the billing, particularly on the interior defensive line, which was disciplined and effective against the Jackets’ spread option offense. It was only the first game of the season -- a big one as far as the conference standings go -- but this team’s identity will likely grow with the offense this year.

[+] EnlargeCody Journell
AP Photo/Don PetersenVirginia Tech eked out a win over Georgia Tech on Cody Journell's field goal in overtime.
“They say when you’re ripe, you rot,” said linebacker Jack Tyler. “We like to say that we’re green, we still have room to grow.”

And a schedule that will allow them to do it.

The Hokies’ most difficult game of the month is behind them. Three of the next four games are in Lane Stadium, the lone exception being a trip to Pittsburgh to face a team that just lost to Youngstown State. With upcoming nonconference games against Austin Peay, Pittsburgh, Bowling Green and Cincinnati, Virginia Tech could be a deceiving 5-0 heading into an important Coastal Division game against North Carolina on Oct. 6.

Odds are 47 first-half rushing yards aren’t going to continue to cut it. To be fair, a 22-yard loss contributed to that after freshman punter A.J. Hughes let a bad snap sail through his hands. The errant play set up Georgia Tech’s first touchdown that tied the game at 7. For a long, long time.

“We’re not as good of a football team as we need to be right now, but I think we’ve got the potential to be a really good football team,” coach Frank Beamer said. “That’s our challenge is to keep growing, keep getting better, day by day.”

Nobody in the program shied away from the fact that there’s room for improvement.

Thomas’ performance wasn’t exactly first-round-esque. He completed 21 of 38 passes for 230 yards and two touchdowns. He had a couple of overthrown balls, and the offense never quite got into a rhythm, but his receivers weren’t flawless, either. He took all of the blame, though.

“The offensive line played great, the receivers played great and the running backs played great,” Thomas said. “I would say I was the one holding us back.”

Some growing pains were to be expected. Virginia Tech had to replace four starters on the offensive line, a first-round draft pick in running back David Wilson, and the top two pass catchers in school history. This offense got a makeover, and it showed. The same five linemen started every offensive snap against Georgia Tech. Six players made their first career starts, including offensive tackle Nick Becton, offensive tackle Vinston Painter, guard David Wang and tailback Michael Holmes.

“It’s the first game, we had a bunch of young guys who hadn’t played a lot,” linebacker Bruce Taylor said. “In the fourth quarter we showed some promise, that’s something to look forward to for next week. The offense looked a lot better in that fourth quarter. ... We can only build from here and it will look better from here.”
Virginia Tech senior offensive tackle Blake DeChristopher has a strained left pectoral muscle and will be out four to six weeks, the school announced Tuesday afternoon.

We won't know how Virginia Tech handles this as far as the lineup goes until the depth chart is released on Thursday for practice, but Vinston Painter and Michael Via are the leading candidates to replace DeChristopher, according to a school spokesman. Via started three games at center as a redshirt freshman in 2009 and played well, but he has played mostly tackle since. He was expected to concentrate on the center spot this fall.

Of course it's reason for concern, especially with a first-year starting quarterback taking over. Virginia Tech wants the best protection it can have for Logan Thomas, but there are two reasons for optimism here:

1. Virginia Tech's schedule. The Hokies aren't exactly lining up against Boise State without DeChristopher. They open against Appalachian State and a road trip to East Carolina.

2. Depth. The fact that Virginia Tech even has options as to what to do without DeChristopher is a sign that the depth up front is better than it has been in recent years.

Frank Beamer on position changes

March, 28, 2011
3/28/11
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There will be some significant movement on the roster when the Hokies start spring practices on Wednesday. Here are the major position changes, followed by coach Frank Beamer's take on each:

Chris Drager from defensive end back to tight end: "What an unselfish guy. I came to him a couple years back and said to him, 'We need help at defensive end,' and I really think he feels like -- and I do, too -- his best NFL position is probably tight end. There's some value to having played both. NFL people will look at that as a positive, too. He's been a very unselfish player, very much a team player."

Vinston Painter from guard to tackle: "Vince has had a great offseason program, running a great 40, strong and has really excelled in the weight room here. You need those athletic guys at tackle. They've got to block those athletic defensive ends. If he can get out there at tackle and play the way I think he's capable of -- and I think he's ready to do that -- he could be a big, big help for this football team."

Laurence Gibson from tackle to guard: "That's a good position for him. He's not quite as nifty as he probably needs to be out there at tackle. That helps him."

James Hopper from rover to tailback: "He was an exceptional tailback in high school. That will give him a chance to get in and use some of his quickness."

Antone Exum from free safety to rover: "You have a guy who's got a lot of athletic ability. We want him to really hone in and play consistent, play the way he's very, very capable."

Riley Beiro from tailback to fullback: "We've really got some good fullbacks in there. Joey Phillips, Martin Scales are two guys I really think have a lot of ability, and Beiro fits into that category also. We're getting some guys there that we really feel solid about at that fullback position."

Dominique Patterson and Nick Dew to whip linebacker: "We're really looking for playmakers there at that whip and we've got several there right now. As we look at them, I see when you talk about Jeron Gouveia-Winslow, Alonzo Tweedy, Patterson, Dew ... you're talking about some really good players. We'll see what happens there, but our first priority is to get some good playmakers at the whip position and then some of those guys may need to go somewhere else. They're good players and for the most part, they need to be on the field playing."

Josh Oglesby from fullback to tailback: "He's been a good tailback. With the two guys coming out early, I think he gives us a very solid, very good tailback."

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