NCF Nation: B.J. Cabbell
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich
At 6-foot-7, 320 pounds Virginia offensive tackle Will Barker looms large. He's not the only one. Left tackle Landon Bradley is also 6-foot-7. So is left guard Austin Pasztor. Right guard B.J. Cabbell is 6-foot-6. Center Jack Shields is the shortest at 6-foot-5.
|Bob Donnan/US Presswire|
|Vic Hall isn't concerned his height will limit his effectiveness at quarterback.|
And the central figure of their offense, the one lining up behind them every snap when practices begin on Friday, will be 5-foot-9 quarterback Vic Hall.
Nobody is questioning Hall's athleticism -- he's played cornerback, quarterback, returned punts, covered kickoffs and was even the holder on place kicks.
It's his height that's under scrutiny.
"Honestly it didn't seem to affect him at all during the spring," Barker said. "Me and Landon being tall ... tall defensive linemen, he seemed to handle it pretty well. He's a nimble enough guy that if he can't throw over somebody maybe he can move around them and then throw it. I think that works for him. I can't speak for him, but I don't think it's an issue."
Neither does Hall.
"This spring we didn't have a lot of problems with that," Hall said. "Obviously I can't see everything, with them being as tall as they are, but with more and more reps and knowing the plays, you know where guys on the team are going to be."
Hall started 11 games at cornerback last year and started at quarterback against Virginia Tech in the season finale. He only attempted one pass, though, against the Hokies. Hall worked exclusively at quarterback this spring and heads into summer camp as the first-string quarterback.
"If you're not 6-6 or 6-5, people are always going to question what you can do," Hall said. "They say, 'He's 5-9 but ... I try to have a lot of 'buts' [like] he's fast or he's strong or he can do this."
Hall has also drawn some inspiration from former Virginia quarterback Marques Hagans, who is listed at 5-foot-10 for the Washington Redskins, and, like Hall, had to help out the Cavaliers at other positions before he was given a shot at starting quarterback in 2004.
"He was the same height as me," Hall said. "That let me know that you don't have to be 6-5 or 6-4 to play quarterback."
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.