NCF Nation: Jarvis Jenkins

Spring preview: Atlantic Division

February, 15, 2011
2/15/11
9:00
AM ET
It's that time of year, ACC fans. Duke kicks off the ACC's spring football schedule with practice tomorrow, so it's time to take a look at three storylines to watch for each program. We'll start with the Atlantic Division:

BOSTON COLLEGE

Spring practice starts: March 15

Spring game: April 16

What to watch:
  • The progression of quarterback Chase Rettig. As a true freshman, Rettig replaced Dave Shinskie as starter against Notre Dame on Oct. 2. He’ll only get better with more experience, and there’s room for improvement, as he threw nine interceptions and six touchdowns. He completed 51.3 percent of his passes for 137.6 yards per game. Two of those picks came in the 20-13 loss to Nevada in the Kraft Fight Hunger bowl, but he’s expected to take an important step forward this offseason and will need to if BC is going to graduate from the nation’s 109th best offense.
  • The offense under a new coordinator. Kevin Rogers replaced Gary Tranquill, who retired after the bowl game, and the Eagles will have to adjust to a new scheme and system, starting this spring. Rogers said he'll adapt his system to the personnel he has to work with, but considering he was hired on Monday, there hasn't been much time for him to evaluate film.
  • The revamped offensive line. BC has to replace three starters up front, including left tackle Anthony Castonzo, right guard Thomas Claiborne and right tackle Rich Lapham. Emmett Cleary and center Mark Spinney are returning starters, and left guard Ian White started a few games at the end of the year. Bryan Davis, Claiborne’s backup at right guard, and John Wetzel, Castonzo’s backup, are frontrunners to earn starts.
CLEMSON

Spring practice starts: March 7

Spring game: April 9

What to watch:
  • Quarterback Tajh Boyd. Prior to the arrival of two early enrollees, Boyd was the only scholarship quarterback on the roster, and his experience alone -- albeit limited -- makes it his job to lose. The staff wants him to become a little more accurate and consistent this spring. His education was accelerated at this time a year ago when former quarterback Kyle Parker spent the spring playing baseball, but that was under former offensive coordinator Billy Napier. He’s got a new coordinator -- and a new offense to learn.
  • The new offensive scheme. First-year offensive coordinator Chad Morris brings an up-tempo style similar to that of Auburn’s, and the Tigers will have to learn it as quickly as he’ll want them to execute it. Morris has said Boyd is suited just right to lead it. Morris will want to stretch the field in every direction, depend on a strong running game and include long pass plays. He’s tasked with improving an offense that ranked No. 10 in the ACC in both scoring offense and total offense.
  • Defense up the middle. It starts up front, where the Tigers have to replace defensive tackle Jarvis Jenkins. Linebacker Brandon Maye, who played in the middle a lot, decided to transfer, and safety DeAndre McDaniel, who controlled the middle of the field in the secondary, has also graduated. The Tigers have the No. 1 inside linebacker and No. 1 outside linebacker in the country in this year’s recruiting class, but they won’t arrive until the summer. For now, Corico Hawkins returns as a starting middle linebacker, while Quandon Christian is likely to stay on the outside. Rennie Moore will replace Jenkins, but McDaniel’s spot is up for grabs.
FLORIDA STATE

Spring practice starts: March 21

Spring game: April 16

What to watch:
  • Big holes on the offensive line. There’s depth, experience and incoming talent, but there are also big shoes to fill with the graduation of left guard Rodney Hudson and center Ryan McMahon. Right guard David Spurlock has been seen snapping on the sidelines at practices, indicating he could move to center, while recovering from concussions and going through rehab. McMahon’s backup was Jacob Stanley. Henry Orelus, Bryan Stork and Rhonne Sanderson all started at right guard for Spurlock when he was out. Junior college transfer Jacob Fahrenkrug, the No. 4 overall junior college prospect, could have an immediate impact at left guard.
  • Backup quarterback battle. With EJ Manuel a lock as the starter, the attention turns to the No. 2 spot. Clint Trickett, a redshirt freshman and son of offensive line coach Rick Trickett, and Will Secord, a redshirt sophomore, are the top two candidates. Secord was named the most improved quarterback of the spring at this time a year ago. Neither of them have thrown a collegiate pass.
  • Linebackers. The Seminoles will have to replace two starters in Kendall Smith and Mister Alexander. Nigel Bradham is the only returning starter. This spring will feature competition among Christian Jones, Telvin Smith, Vince Williams and Jeff Luc. It’s a more talented crop waiting in the wings, but inexperience is a factor. It’s a chance for Luc and Jones -- two of FSU’s top recruits in the 2010 class -- to remind everyone why they were rated the No. 1 inside linebacker and No. 2 outside linebacker, respectively, in the country.
MARYLAND

Spring practice starts: March 29

Spring game: April 30

What to watch:
  • New staff, new schemes. First-year coach Randy Edsall wants to be multiple, get vertical and take advantage of quarterback Danny O’Brien’s strengths. The departure of former defensive coordinator Don Brown to Connecticut was a surprise and a blow to the defense, which will now have to make a transition under a new coordinator who has yet to be hired.
  • Competition at linebacker. Two starters have to be replaced in Alex Wujciak and Adrian Moten, who were also both leaders of the defense. Demetrius Hartsfield returns as a starter, but the new staff will have to figure out who else fits into what slots. Ben Pooler has had knee trouble, but he is expected to compete with Darin Drakeford and Ryan Donohue, who were both No. 2 at their respective positions in 2010.
  • Special teams. Not only did the Terps lose a four-year starter in punter/placekicker Travis Baltz, they also have to replace their top kick returner and conference leader in all-purpose yards in receiver Torrey Smith, who left early for the NFL. Nick Ferrara handled kickoffs last year and was No. 2 behind Baltz at both kicker and punter, but he’s a placekicker first, and has to get back on track with consistency. He’ll be the only scholarship kicker on the roster until incoming freshman Nathaniel Renfro joins the team this summer. Dexter McDougle has returned kickoffs in the past, and Trenton Hughes is another option, but with a new staff, it could be a clean slate.
NC STATE

Spring practice starts: March 17

Spring game: April 16

What to watch:
  • Mike Glennon. The team is moving forward as if starter Russell Wilson won’t return, promoting Glennon to No. 1 on the depth chart. The offense will have a new look, as the plays will be suited to Glennon’s strengths. At 6-foot-7, he’s much taller than Wilson, a more prototypical drop-back passer with a strong arm. While the plays might look different to the fans, they’re the same ones Glennon has been practicing since the day he arrived on campus. He’s a smart, unflappable player scheduled to graduate this May, but we haven’t seen enough of him to know just how good he is.
  • A new crop of receivers. NC State will have to replace three seniors in Owen Spencer, Jarvis Williams and Darrell Davis. Spencer and Williams led the Pack in receiving last year, combining for nine touchdowns and over 1,600 yards. NC State will turn to Jay Smith, who had 10 catches in 12 games, Steven Howard, Quintin Payton, and T.J. Graham, who had four touchdowns and played in all 13 games. Payton played a little more toward the end of the year, and he’s a tall, big target (about 6-foot-4) and comparable to Williams. Bryan Underwood, who redshirted last year, could also contribute.
  • Running back competition. James Washington had taken over the starting job at the end of 2010, but he’ll be pushed this spring by Dean Haynes and Mustafa Greene, who led the team in rushing in 2010 as a true freshman. They’ll also be under the direction of a new assistant coach, as Jason Swepson is now the head coach at Elon. It will be the first time Greene has been in a spring practice, and Washington, who was hurt last year, is finally healthy.
WAKE FOREST

Spring practice starts: March 15

Spring game: April 16

What to watch:
  • Progress of quarterback Tanner Price. The maturation of Price, who started nine games as a true freshman last year, will be crucial to the Deacs’ hopes of returning to the postseason. Price was forced to play earlier than expected and finished with seven touchdowns and eight interceptions. He completed 56.8 percent of his passes for 1,349 yards.
  • A defense in transition. Coach Jim Grobe has said the staff is committed to making the transition to a 3-4 defense. The Deacons used that scheme to defend the triple option against Georgia Tech and Navy, and continued to experiment with it as the season progressed. This linebackers in this year’s recruiting class were brought in specifically with the 3-4 defense in mind.
  • Redshirt offensive linemen. There were three true freshmen who redshirted last year who are expected to give four returning starters some legitimate competition -- Colin Summers, Dylan Heartsill and Daniel Blitch. The Deacs will also have to replace starting center Russell Nenon. Chance Raines was his backup last year.

ACC and the NFL combine

February, 4, 2011
2/04/11
9:00
AM ET
The official list for the NFL combine has been released. A total of 48 players from the ACC have been invited to audition for the NFL from February 23 – March 1. When categorized by school, it's somewhat of a reality check to see how many of the best players in the conference are moving on, and which programs will take the biggest hit. It's impossible not to wonder how good North Carolina could have been had all of the following players remained eligible. The Tar Heels will send the most players to the combine with 11.

Here are the players who will represent the ACC:

BOSTON COLLEGE (3)
  • Anthony Castonzo
  • Rich Lapham
  • Mark Herzlich
CLEMSON (7)
  • Da'Quan Bowers
  • Marcus Gilchrist
  • Chris Hairston
  • Jamie Harper
  • Jarvis Jenkins
  • Byron Maxwell
  • DeAndre McDaniel
FLORIDA STATE (3)
GEORGIA TECH (3)
MARYLAND (3)
MIAMI (9)
NORTH CAROLINA (11)
NC STATE (2)
VIRGINIA (2)
  • Danny Aiken
  • Ras-I Dowling
VIRGINIA TECH (5)

Clemson recruiting analysis

February, 3, 2011
2/03/11
2:00
PM ET
CLEMSON TIGERS

The class

Recruits: 29

Top prospects: Inside linebacker Tony Steward and outside linebacker Stephone Anthony are both ESPNU 150 players and the top-ranked recruits at their respective positions. Five-star receiver Charone Peake is the No. 2 receiver in the country and No. 14 player overall in the ESPNU 150.

Needs met: The Tigers added three quarterbacks to a roster that previously had one scholarship quarterback in projected starter Tajh Boyd. The early departure of running back Jamie Harper to the NFL left a void at the position, but Mike Bellamy will play immediately. The defensive line also had big holes to fill with loss of Jarvis Jenkins and Da’Quan Bowers, but there are five defensive linemen in this class. The transfer of linebacker Brandon Maye from an already-thin position didn't help, but the addition of the top two linebackers in the country did.

Analysis: This was one of the most impressive classes and recruiting efforts in the country, considering the Tigers were coming off a 6-7 season that ended with back-to-back losses to South Carolina and South Florida. Coach Dabo Swinney and his staff exceeded expectations.

ESPN recruiting grade: B+

Recruiting rewind

January, 28, 2011
1/28/11
4:00
PM ET
There’s only one way to truly grade recruits -- look at their performances on the field after they sign. Some, like Clemson offensive lineman Chris Hairston, exceed their ranking expectations. Others, like Duke kicker Will Snyderwine, make names for themselves as walk-ons. And some, like Virginia Tech quarterback Tyrod Taylor, lend merit to the ranking system.

Using ESPN.com’s recruiting database, I took a look back at my 2010 all-conference team to see how each player fared in his respective recruiting class. Some players have flourished at other positions. Only five of the players were ranked among the ESPNU 150, and five were either unranked or joined the team as a walk-on.

Here’s a look back at the recruiting rankings for the ACC’s top players in 2010:

OFFENSE

QB: Tyrod Taylor, Virginia Tech:No. 16 player in ESPNU 150, No. 3 overall quarterback in the 2007 class

RB: Montel Harris, Boston College: No. 143 running back in the 2008 class

RB: Anthony Allen, Georgia Tech: No. 73 running back in Louisville’s class of 2007

WR Leonard Hankerson, Miami: No. 61 wide receiver in 2007 class

WR Torrey Smith, Maryland: No. 54 wide receiver in 2007 class

TE George Bryan, NC State: No. 16 tight end, class of 2007

C Sean Bedford, Georgia Tech: Joined the team as a walk-on in 2006

OL Rodney Hudson, Florida State: No. 16 offensive guard in the 2007 class

OL Anthony Castonzo, Boston College: Not ranked in the 2007 class

OL Chris Hairston, Clemson: Not ranked in the class of 2006

OL Brandon Washington, Miami: No. 11 offensive guard in 2008 class

DEFENSE

DL Da’Quan Bowers, Clemson:No. 1 overall player in ESPNU 150 Class of 2008, No. 1 overall defensive end

DL Brandon Jenkins, Florida State: No. 18 defensive end in the 2009 class

DL Quinton Coples, North Carolina: No. 34 defensive end, class of 2008

DL Jarvis Jenkins, Clemson: No. 36 defensive tackle in the 2007 class

LB Luke Kuechly, Boston College: No. 19 outside linebacker

LB Nate Irving, NC State: Not ranked, class of 2006

LB Alex Wujciak, Maryland: No. 18 inside linebacker class of 2006

CB Jayron Hosley, Virginia Tech: No. 22 cornerback in 2009 class

CB Chase Minnifield, Virginia: No. 69 cornerback, class of 2007

S DeAndre McDaniel, Clemson: No. 105 in ESPNU 150 Class of 2006, No. 12 safety

S Kenny Tate, Maryland: No. 134 in ESPNU 150 Class of 2008, No. 19 wide receiver

SPECIALISTS

P: Matt Bosher, Miami: No. 4 kicker in 2006 class

K: Will Snyderwine, Duke: Joined the team as a walk-on in 2007 after an open tryout

PR: Tony Logan, Maryland: No. 21 quarterback in 2007 class

KR: David Wilson, Virginia Tech: No. 40 in ESPNU 150 Class of 2009, No. 5 running back
It’s time to reload in the ACC. Here’s a look at the position needs for each team in the Atlantic Division for the 2011 signing class:

BOSTON COLLEGE

Offensive linemen: Six players on the final two-deep roster for 2010 were either juniors or seniors, and the Eagles will have to find replacements for Anthony Castonzo, Rich Lapham and Thomas Claiborne. There were two juniors at center in 2011, and the recruiting overall at this position hasn’t been as strong in recent years.

Defensive linemen: The Eagles have been thin at the position to begin with since the departures of Ron Brace and B.J. Raji. The interior line should be a priority, as tackle Damik Scafe will graduate, and Kaleb Ramsey will be a senior. Defensive end Brad Newman will also graduate.

CLEMSON

[+] EnlargeDa'Quan Bowers
Kevin C. Cox/Getty ImagesReplacing Da'Quan Bowers is a top priority for Clemson.
Defensive line: The early departure of defensive end Da’Quan Bowers and the loss of Jarvis Jenkins makes this group a priority. Seven of the eight players up front on the final two-deep roster were either juniors or seniors.

Quarterback: Prior to the early enrollees, Clemson only had one scholarship quarterback on the roster -- projected starter Tajh Boyd. The depth needs to be rebuilt after the loss of starter Kyle Parker and transfer of backup Willy Korn.

Running back: The early departure of Jamie Harper to the NFL left a hole in the Tigers’ lineup. It’s not completely empty, as Andre Ellington remains the best back on the roster and Roderick McDowell was a redshirt freshman backup to Harper.

FLORIDA STATE

Offensive lineman – The departures of Rodney Hudson and Ryan McMahon will leave gaping holes up front, and A.J. Ganguzza and Antwane Greenlee aren’t expected to return. Overall, the staff is looking for bigger, better players. With the exception of right guard, this was a veteran group.

Running back: Despite the current depth, the coaching staff still wanted to sign about three more running backs in this class.

Wide receiver: This would be the third priority for the staff. Bert Reed and Taiwan Easterling will both be seniors, but the team has lacked some dynamic playmakers at the position.

Linebacker: The Noles lost two starters from last year’s Atlantic Division championship team, and there are several young players on the rise like Jeff Luc and Telvin Smith, but the staff wants more numbers at the position.

Safety: The Noles need an upgrade at this position.

Defensive line: This is a matter of mostly building depth and size and continuing to get better.

MARYLAND

Kicker/ Punter: Nick Ferrara has the ability to do both, but he also struggled at both in 2010. Travis Baltz was a four-year starter at punter who has to be replaced. The kicking game should be a top priority in this class, and a concern if Ferrara doesn’t become more consistent.

Wide receiver: The early departure of standout Torrey Smith to the NFL leaves quarterback Danny O'Brien without a favorite target. Seven of the nine receivers listed on the most current depth chart for 2010 were either juniors or seniors.

Running back: The Terps have to replace starter Da’Rel Scott, and Davin Meggett will be a senior. There is some talent behind Meggett in D.J. Adams, but the position could use more depth.

Secondary: Six of the top 10 players in the secondary were either juniors or seniors in 2010, including safety Antwine Perez, who will graduate. Kenny Tate and Cameron Chism will both be seniors, and the corner position is the biggest need.

Defensive end: Defensive coordinator Don Brown would like to bring in at least one player who can really bring some speed off the edge.

NC STATE

Kickers: The Wolfpack lost their starting punter and place-kicker, easily making kickers the biggest need in this recruiting class.

Defensive linemen: With the exception of sophomore Brian Slay, the entire 2010 line was comprised of juniors and seniors. The Pack have to replace two starters, and two returning starters, Jeff Rieskamp and J.R. Sweezy, will be seniors.

Linebackers: This was another veteran group for NC State, with five of the six players on the two-deep either juniors or seniors. Nate Irving’s graduation will be a big hit and Audie Cole will be a senior.

Quarterback: If Russell Wilson leaves early, the position will be even thinner, but backup Mike Glennon will be a junior, so the staff needs to build more depth.

WAKE FOREST

Offensive linemen: The Deacs will have four redshirt juniors returning up front, and have to replace redshirt senior center Russell Nenon. The staff is looking to increase the depth and talent up front.

Linebackers: The position hasn’t been the same since the 2008 class (Aaron Curry and Stanley Arnoux). They were both drafted and two of the fastest players the program has ever seen. The staff needs to bring in more talent and speed here.

ESPN.com 2010 All-ACC team

December, 8, 2010
12/08/10
10:30
AM ET
This is usually one of the most difficult posts of the season, but for some reason, this year there seemed to be more separation between the good players and the great ones in the ACC.

Honestly, the biggest internal debate was over the kicker, a battle between Virginia Tech’s Chris Hazley and Duke’s Will Snyderwine. The coaches voted Snyderwine an All-America selection, and that was hard to ignore, as was the fact that he is the master of the onside kick, and hit four that Duke retained. Duke isn’t the most athletic team, but because of Snyderwine’s ability to put the ball in a 3-yard square, the Blue Devils were right there with everyone else in kickoff coverage (No. 3 behind division champs Florida State and Virginia Tech). The frustrating part of compiling this team is that there is always a deserving player left off -- always. There’s no question, though, that everyone on this year’s ESPN.com All-ACC team deserves it.

Here’s a look at your ESPN.com all-conference team for 2010:

OFFENSE

QB: Tyrod Taylor, Virginia Tech

RB: Montel Harris, Boston College

RB: Anthony Allen, Georgia Tech

WR Leonard Hankerson, Miami

WR Torrey Smith, Maryland

TE George Bryan, NC State

C Sean Bedford, Georgia Tech

OL Rodney Hudson, Florida State

OL Anthony Castonzo, Boston College

OL Chris Hairston, Clemson

OL Brandon Washington, Miami

DEFENSE

DL Da’Quan Bowers, Clemson

DL Brandon Jenkins, Florida State

DL Quinton Coples, North Carolina

DL Jarvis Jenkins, Clemson

LB Luke Kuechly, Boston College

LB Nate Irving, NC State

LB Alex Wujciak, Maryland

CB Jayron Hosley, Virginia Tech

CB Chase Minnifield, Virginia

S DeAndre McDaniel, Clemson

S Kenny Tate, Maryland

SPECIALISTS

P: Matt Bosher, Miami

K: Will Snyderwine, Duke

PR: Tony Logan, Maryland

KR: David Wilson, Virginia Tech
Auburn survived its first test on the road two Thursdays ago in a 17-14 win at Mississippi State.

Clemson has whipped through two glorified scrimmages.

They meet up on the Plains this Saturday night in a game that should be revealing for both teams. SEC blogger Chris Low and ACC blogger Heather Dinich take a closer look at this battle of Tigers.

Gus Malzahn
John Reed/US PresswireGus Malzahn's spread offense should keep Clemson's defense guessing.
Chris Low: Heather, I say we dub Saturday’s Auburn-Clemson matchup the Lewis Grizzard Bowl. He’s the late Southern humorist and Atlanta newspaper columnist who once said Clemson was “Auburn with a lake.” He nailed it, because the number of similarities between the schools is uncanny. It’s only fitting that they resume a series that was played fairly regularly when Ralph “Shug” Jordan was coaching at Auburn and Frank Howard at Clemson. As I look at this game, right off the bat I wonder if Clemson is ready for the pace of game Auburn wants to play. There’s no such thing as playing too fast for Auburn offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn, who wants to run as many plays as he possibly can.

Heather Dinich: C-Low you’re not the only one wondering that. Clemson coach Dabo Swinney knows his team hasn’t been tested yet like it will on Saturday. Wins over North Texas and Presbyterian aren’t exactly bowling over any Top 25 voters. One of the biggest keys to this game for Clemson will be stopping the run, and that’s something the Tigers struggled with last year -- just ask Georgia Tech, who rushed for over 300 yards twice last season in wins over Clemson. Of course, Clemson will also have to keep Auburn quarterback Cam Newton in check. We know Newton can run deceptively well for his size, but how good of a passer is he? Will he be able to win the matchup against All-America safety DeAndre McDaniel?

CL: Newton hasn’t had to beat anybody yet throwing the football, and while he has an incredibly strong arm, it’s fair to say that we’ve yet to see how accurate he is when it comes to throwing the ball down the field. Malzahn will take whatever the defense is giving him, and having a 250-pound quarterback like Newton who can run makes Malzahn’s spread offense that much more effective. He’ll run a reverse pass on one play, a bubble screen on the next and then try to hit you deep. In other words, Malzahn is going to make you defend everything, but he’s never going to stray too far away from the run. Even though Newton is leading the Tigers in rushing through two games with 241 yards, running backs Onterio McCalebb and Mike Dyer are both averaging more than 6 yards per carry. If I were Clemson, Heather, I’d get ready for a heavier dose of Dyer, the Tigers’ prized freshman.

[+] EnlargeDeAndre McDaniel
Jeremy Brevard/Icon SMIAll-America safety DeAndre McDaniel could be lined up all over the field.
HD: No doubt, C-Low, and I talked to coach Dabo Swinney on Wednesday about how the Tigers plan to counter all of the misdirection, play fakes and talented runners. He said they’re preparing for the tempo you mentioned, which he compared to a 2-minute drill the whole game. The Tigers have to do a great job with their rush lanes, stay disciplined with their alignments, tackle well, and do a good job of disrupting that flow by winning first downs and getting them out of their comfort zone. Expect McDaniel to be lined up all over the field. Clemson might even have the edge up front with its defensive line now that defensive tackle Jarvis Jenkins is back.

But hey, it’s not like Clemson doesn’t have some talented runners of its own. Haven’t you heard about “the New Storm”? Andre Ellington and Jamie Harper helped Clemson average 9.8 yards per rush against North Texas. I know Auburn’s run D is good, but has it really been tested?

CL: No, Auburn’s run defense hasn’t been tested. Arkansas State picked Auburn apart with short passes in the opener, and then Ted Roof’s defense bounced back against Mississippi State and was outstanding in the second half when the offense started to sputter. Mississippi State’s running game, though, is not one of the better ones in the SEC, at least not with Anthony Dixon no longer around. The best news for Auburn in the Mississippi State game was junior defensive tackle Nick Fairley stepping to the plate and playing the game of his life. He was a dominant force in the middle with 2.5 tackles for loss, an interception and fumble recovery. The Tigers aren’t going to get that kind of production from him every game, but they’re so much better against the run if he’ll come to play like that every game. A major concern remains depth at linebacker. Josh Bynes played every snap against Mississippi State. He’s a good one, but you know that has to catch up with you at some point in the fourth quarter.

HD: Indeed it does. It sounds like we’ll find out a lot more about both of these teams on Saturday. Of course, there’s another record on the line Saturday as well -- my picks. I know you were puffing your chest up a bit last year after boosting your prediction percentage with all of those Florida and Alabama picks, but it’s time to even the score this year. I’m playing it smart on Saturday, and sticking with the home team, Auburn. I think Auburn will get pressure on Kyle Parker and win the battle up front. Then again, Clemson seems to be at its best when the least is expected -- and right now, not much is expected from anyone in the ACC.
The ACC released the 2010 preseason all-conference team, as voted on by 52 members of the media at the conference media days in Greensboro, N.C. UNC led all schools with five players selected, followed by Boston College with four players.

Clemson safety DeAndre McDaniel got the most votes, being named on 48 of the 52 ballots, while North Carolina defensive end Robert Quinn (47 votes) and Virginia Tech tailback Ryan Williams (45) were the next highest. Virginia and Wake Forest were the only two schools not represented here.

Offense

WR Donovan Varner, Duke

WR Torrey Smith, Maryland

TE George Bryan, NC State

T Anthony Castonzo, Boston College

T Chris Hairston, Clemson

G Rodney Hudson, Florida State

G Thomas Claiborne, Boston College

C Sean Bedford, Georgia Tech

QB Christian Ponder, Florida State

RB Ryan Williams, Virginia Tech

RB Montel Harris, Boston College

Defense

DE Robert Quinn, North Carolina

DE Allen Bailey, Miami

DT Marvin Austin, North Carolina

DT Jarvis Jenkins, Clemson

LB Alex Wujciak, Maryland

LB Quan Sturdivant, North Carolina

LB Luke Kuechly, Boston College

CB Kendric Burney, North Carolina

CB Brandon Harris, Miami

S DeAndre McDaniel, Clemson

S Deunta Williams, North Carolina

Specialists

PK Matt Bosher, Miami

P Matt Bosher, Miami

SP Torrey Smith, Maryland
Here's a quick breakdown of Clemson's 21-13 win over Kentucky in the Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl:

[+] EnlargeCJ Spiller
AP Photo/Mark HumphreySpiller finished with 172 yards and one touchdown in Clemson's win.
How the game was won: Clemson’s defense, which had become rather generous in losses to South Carolina and Georgia Tech, came up with the stops it needed to in the second half and a game-changing turnover. After capitalizing on the only turnover of the game -- a Kentucky fumble -- Clemson's defense stifled Kentucky on fourth-and-8 from the Clemson 32-yard line, with Kentucky out of time outs. Ricky Sapp came up with a huge tackle and Clemson took over on downs. With the help of standout senior running back C.J. Spiller, the Tigers were able to control the clock in the waning minutes to preserve the win.

Turning point: With 11:33 left in the game, Clemson linebacker Kavell Conner forced a fumble, and Jarvis Jenkins recovered it at Kentucky’s 19-yard line for the first turnover of the game. Three plays later, Spiller scored on an eight-yard touchdown run. It gave the Tigers the 21-13 lead, an edge they would not relinquish.

Stat of the game: Time of possession was 20:15 to 9:45 in the first half, in favor of Kentucky. One way to keep the ball out of Spiller’s hands was to keep him off the field, and Kentucky was able to do that in the first half. Not the second.

Player of the game: Spiller. Clemson could not have done it without him in the second half, and Kentucky could not stop him. He finished with 172 all-purpose yards, set the school record for consecutive touchdowns in a game, and scored what would be the touchdown that sealed the win. It was quite a grand finale for the senior.

Unsung hero of the game: Fullback Chad Diehl. He was the lead blocker for Spiller and Jamie Harper, both of whom scored touchdowns in the game. On third-and-goal with about five minutes left in the first half, Harper punched in a one-yard touchdown run when Diehl knocked safety Calvin Harrison over to pave the way. It gave Clemson a 14-10 lead, the Tigers’ first lead of the game.

What it means: Clemson redeemed itself for back-to-back losses to rival South Carolina and Georgia Tech, and proved that it took this game seriously despite their disappointment about not playing in a BCS bowl. That’s a credit to first-year coach Dabo Swinney for once again getting the team focused and back on track. While it was a celebratory farewell to super seniors like Spiller and Jacoby Ford, it was also a sneak peak at the future, as Harper showed a lot of promise and was key in the win. Seniors like Spiller earned the first bowl win of their career, and set a strong foundation for 2010. The Tigers also avoided another embarrassing ACC loss to a mediocre SEC team and improved the ACC’s bowl record to 1-2.

Record performance: Spiller’s touchdown in the fourth quarter set a school-record 14 straight games with at least one touchdown.

SPONSORED HEADLINES