NCF Nation: Anthony Mihota

ACC helmet stickers: Week 11

November, 13, 2011
11/13/11
12:07
AM ET
Here are your top five performers for Week 11:

Virginia Tech quarterback Logan Thomas: He played an outstanding game in the Hokies' 37-26 victory over Georgia Tech on Thursday night. Thomas threw for three touchdowns and ran for two more. He completed 7 of 13 passes for 209 yards and ran for another 70 yards. He also completed 75 percent of his third-down passes.

Florida State's special teams: Greg Reid scored on an 83-yard punt return, and Dustin Hopkins kicked three field goals to help lift the Noles over rival Miami, 23-19. Hopkins accounted for the only points in the third quarter with a 21-yard field goal, and his 38-yarder to start the fourth quarter put FSU up 23-7.

BC linebacker Luke Kuechly: He finished with 18 tackles in the 14-10 win over NC State, extending his streak of double-digit tackles to 32 consecutive games, the longest such streak in FBS. In the third quarter, Kuechly became the fifth player in ACC history to record 500 or more career tackles. He now has 509, fourth-best on the conference record list.

Clemson kicker Chandler Catanzaro: His game-winning, 43-yard field goal as time expired assured Clemson of a 31-28 win over Wake Forest and its second appearance in the ACC title game in three seasons. It was the first time since 2007 that Clemson had won on a last-second field goal. It was also the first time since 1948 -- when the stat started being tracked -- that Clemson won at home on a last-second field goal.

Virginia's offensive line: The Cavaliers have now gone three consecutive games without giving up a sack and the line paved the way for Kevin Parks and Perry Jones in the 31-21 win over Duke. It was the tenth game in a row that the offensive line has had the same five starters -- guards Austin Pasztor and Luke Bowanko, tackles Oday Aboushi and Morgan Moses and center Anthony Mihot . The last time the same five players started an entire season on the offensive line at UVa was 2004.

ACC's Players of the Week

September, 6, 2011
9/06/11
1:17
PM ET
Every week, the league offices in Greensboro, N.C., announce the top performers of the week based on votes by members of the media. Every week I will pass them on. Here are the ACC's Players of the Week for Week 1, as released and written by the ACC:

OFFENSIVE BACK – Danny O'Brien, Maryland, QB, So., 6-3, 215, Kernersville, N.C.

Danny O’Brien led Maryland to a 32-24 win over Miami by going 31-of-44 for 348 yards and a touchdown, as well as running for 37 yards. It was the third 300-yard passing game of the sophomore’s career. He completed 6 of 7 passes for 72 yards and a touchdown on the game’s opening drive, and after four series, was 19-of-26 for 228 yards. O’Brien spread the ball around, hitting six receivers on the night. His 385 total yards were the third most in the FBS in the opening weekend.

OFFENSIVE RECEIVER -- Stephen Hill, Georgia Tech, WR, Jr., 6-5, 206, Lithonia, Ga.

Stephen Hill recorded a career-high 181 yards and two touchdowns on four receptions in Georgia Tech’s 63-21 win over Western Carolina last Thursday, averaging 45.3 yards per catch. Hill became the first Yellow Jacket to catch two touchdown passes in a game since 2007 as Georgia Tech racked up 365 yards passing -- the most in the Paul Johnson era on the Flats.

OFFENSIVE LINEMAN -- Anthony Mihota, Virginia, C, Sr., 6-4, 285, Fredericksburg, Va.

Mihota had a total of 16 knockdown blocks on 67 plays in helping UVa roll up 240 rushing yards and 256 passing yards in a 40-3 win over William & Mary. The strong offensive line play helped Virginia hold a 15-minute advantage in time of possession.

CO-DEFENSIVE LINEMAN -- Brian Slay, NC State, DT, Jr., 6-3, 290, Ashburn, Va.

A junior defensive tackle from Ashburn, Va., Slay played 45 snaps in only his second career start, and recorded six total tackles (four primary) and two sacks for losses of seven yards. Slay also caused a fumble and recovered two, taking one 52 yards for a touchdown, the fourth-longest fumble return in school history and the longest in 16 years. Slay’s touchdown return, the second of four NC State touchdowns set up directly by turnovers, came midway through the third quarter and gave NC State a 23-7 lead.

CO-DEFENSIVE LINEMAN -- Joe Vellano, Maryland, DT, Jr., 6-2, 285, Rexford, N.Y.

Joe Vellano played a pivotal role in Maryland’s 32-24 win over Miami. The junior recovered two fumbles, the first of which led to a field goal and the second of which he scooped up and ran in 30 yards for a touchdown. The return for a touchdown came with 0:47 left in the second quarter, giving Maryland a 20-14 lead and the momentum heading into halftime. Vellano also had two tackles on the evening while manning the interior of the line.

LINEBACKER -- Luke Kuechly, Boston College, LB, Jr., 6-3, 237, Cincinnati, Ohio

Junior linebacker Luke Kuechly recorded 19 tackles in Boston College’s 24-17 loss to Northwestern. The Cincinnati, Ohio, native has now tallied 10 or more tackles in 23 consecutive games which is the longest active streak of double-digit tackles in the country. Kuechly also recorded his fifth career interception with just over nine minutes to play in the first half and returned it 23 yards to the Northwestern 2-yard line. BC scored its first touchdown of the season two plays later.

DEFENSIVE BACK -- Cameron Chism, Maryland, CB, Sr., 5-10, 190, Washington, D.C.

Cameron Chism made a number of big plays for Maryland, none bigger than intercepting Miami quarterback Stephen Morris on fourth-and-3 and returning it 54 yards for a touchdown with under a minute to play. The score increased Maryland’s lead from a single point to 32-24. Chism also had a hand in another defensive score when he forced a fumble that Joe Vellano scooped up and ran in 30 yards for a TD just before halftime. The senior finished the game with six tackles, including one tackle for loss.

SPECIALIST -- T.J. Graham, NC State, WR, Sr., 6-0, 180, Raleigh, N.C.

Graham, a senior wide receiver and kick returner from Raleigh, returned three punts for 88 yards against the Flames, including a game-changing 82-yard return for a touchdown. That return was the 11th longest in school history and his second career punt return for a touchdown. Graham also returned four kickoffs for 99 yards, including one for 44 yards that put the Pack in business at the Liberty 33-yard line. Two plays later, Curtis Underwood scored on a 33-yard run. For the game, Graham had 88 yards on punt returns, 99 yards on kick returns, and a reception for seven yards, giving him 194 all-purpose yards.

ROOKIE -- Kevin Parks, Virginia, RB, Fr., 5-8, 195, Salisbury, N.C.

Parks enjoyed one of the best debuts by a running back in UVa history. The Salisbury, N.C., native rushed for 114 yards on 16 carries (7.1 average), and scored three touchdowns (19, 1, 26), the most rushing TDs by a Cavalier in the program’s history. It marked just the sixth time a UVa player has scored three TDs in season-opening game.
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.
This morning we looked at the main recruiting needs for the Atlantic Division. Here are the priorities for each team in the Coastal Division:

DUKE

Offensive line: The Blue Devils will have to replace one starter in center Bryan Morgan, and it’s still a relatively young group, but with several redshirt sophomores on the roster, the staff wants to load up two grades behind them to fully stock the position for the future.

Defensive line: This has always been Duke’s deficiency, which means it will always be a priority to catch up and build depth. The Blue Devils will have to replace two starters in Wesley Oglesby and Patrick Egboh. Noseguard Charlie Hatcher will be a redshirt senior.

Cornerback: Duke only loses one starter, cornerback Chris Rwabukamba, but it’s another position that has been weak and needs better athletes.

GEORGIA TECH

Offensive line: The early departure of Nick Claytor to the NFL didn’t help the depth, but there were still several young players who gained valuable experience and others who redshirted to help the depth. While no true freshman is likely to make an immediate impact, the staff is still looking to build the numbers up front.

Linebacker/defensive line: The Jackets need to find more athletes who are suited for Al Groh’s 3-4 scheme. Fast athletes who are versatile enough to play a hybrid role, with the ability to move in space, will be a priority in this class.

MIAMI

Quarterback: With Jacory Harris being a senior, A.J. Highsmith moving to defense, and Spencer Whipple struggling in what little time he has played, the position needs a boost. It didn’t help that Teddy Bridgewater reneged on his commitment.

Linebacker: This is a position former coach Randy Shannon had put an emphasis on building, and there are young players and depth, but it was also a veteran group in the 2010 two-deep, with mainly juniors and seniors.

Wide receiver: The upperclassmen did all of the work in 2010, with Leonard Hankerson leading the way. Travis Benjamin, Aldarius Johnson and Laron Byrd will all be seniors. An influx of young talent is needed.

Defensive end: The staff is looking to improve the depth here, get stronger up front, and build upon the success from 2010. Marcus Robinson, Adewale Ojomo, and Micanor Regis will all be seniors.

NORTH CAROLINA

Tailback: Injuries depleted this group in 2010, and Anthony Elzy, Johnny White and Shaun Draughn were both seniors. Ryan Houston was able to redshirt and will return as a fifth-year senior, but the Tar Heels need more dependable runners and a foundation for the future.

Defensive line: The Tar Heels have to prepare for some departures, especially on the interior, where all four players on the two-deep roster in 2010 were juniors.

Secondary: UNC will have to replace three starters in the secondary this spring, and three backups this year were juniors. Because of the NCAA investigation, this is a group in which backups had to develop quickly, so there are some experienced younger players, but the group still needs to reload.

Tight end: The loss of Zach Pianalto and his backup, Ed Barham, leaves the position thin.

VIRGINIA

Offensive line: With starting right guard B.J. Cabbell gone, starting center Anthony Mihota a senior, and starting left guard Austin Pasztor a senior, the staff has to prepare for some departures. Morgan Moses and Oday Aboushi are talented young players, but the rotation needs more of them.

Defensive line: End Zane Parr’s decision to leave early for the NFL draft hurt the position’s depth, and the Cavs will also have to replace John-Kevin Dolce at tackle. Three other players in the two-deep will be rising seniors, and with Virginia switching back to a 4-3 defense under Mike London, the Cavs have to rebuild up front.

Secondary: Cornerback is of particular concern, as Chase Minnifield will be a senior, and starter Mike Parker will graduate.

VIRGINIA TECH

Running back: The early departures of Ryan Williams and Darren Evans to the NFL left David Wilson as the only tailback with any significant experience. Overall, the Hokies have four tailbacks on their current roster.

Defensive line: The Hokies will have to replace redshirt senior starters Steven Friday and John Graves, and starting left end Chris Drager will be a redshirt senior this year.

Wide receiver/tight end: Starters Jarrett Boykin and Danny Coale will be seniors, and tight end Andre Smith will graduate.

Secondary: Half the players on the two-deep roster against Stanford were either juniors or seniors, and the Hokies will have to replace rover Davon Morgan and cornerback Rashad Carmichael.
Virginia's first spring practice of the Mike London era is in the books, and today the team issued its post-spring depth chart.

A few quick points:

  • Three positions on defense feature co-starters, including two of the three linebacker spots. Junior Aaron Taliaferro and Steve Greer are listed as co-starters at middle linebacker, while senior Jared Detrick and sophomore Ausar Walcott are the co-starters at weak side linebacker. Junior Chase Minnifield and sophomore Devin Wallace are listed as co-starters at one cornerback spot, opposite co-captain Ras-I Dowling.
  • As expected, senior Marc Verica tops the depth chart at quarterback, while Ross Metheny and Michael Strauss are listed as co-backups.
  • Offensive line will continue to be a position to monitor during preseason camp, but here are the starters coming out of spring ball: left tackle Landon Bradley, left guard Austin Pasztor, center Anthony Mihota, right guard B.J. Cabbell, right tackle Oday Aboushi.
  • Sophomore Perry Jones is listed as the top running back ahead of senior Keith Payne, who rejoined the team after a one-year leave of absence.
  • The depth chart doesn't include specialists, but the competition at kicker will spill into the fall after a poor showing at the spring game April 10.

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