NCF Nation: Keion Payne

Weekend ACC scrimmage notes

March, 26, 2012
3/26/12
2:30
PM ET
Three ACC schools held scrimmages over the weekend. Here's a roundup of the good and bad from a busy weekend.

DUKE
Sean Renfree completed 14 of 17 passes for 220 yards and three touchdowns. Tight ends David Reeves and Issac Blakeney had scores of 31 and 70 yards, respectively.

Corey Gattis led all pass-catchers with six receptions for 81 yards and a 42-yard touchdown catch from Thomas Sirk. Sirk did a bit of everything, completing 5 of 9 passes for 75 yards, carrying it four times for 54 yards and hauling in two receptions for 25 yards.

The Blue Devils' spring game is March 31.

MIAMI
No Stephen Morris, no problem. At least on Saturday at Ted Hendricks Stadium in Hialeah. With Morris out recovering from back surgery, Ryan Williams completed 14 of 21 passes for 228 yards and four touchdowns. Early enrollees Gray Crow and Preston Dewey were behind the Memphis transfer, going a combined 11-for-26 for 64 yards in action that was more situationally simulated than a typical spring game, which Miami will hold April 14.

Mike James and Eduardo Clements combined for 134 rushing yards and four touchdowns on 31 carries, with James accounting for three of those scores.

The Hurricanes will hold another scrimmage at 6:45 p.m. ET this Friday at Bishop Verot High School in Fort Myers.

Also, defensive back Keion Payne was dismissed from the team for a violation of team rules, UM associate athletic director for communications and marketing Chris Freet told reporters. Payne had appeared in just two games.

WAKE FOREST
Michael Campanaro impressed as the Demon Deacons' top receiver, catching 10 balls for 116 yards to lead the offense, which got off to a rough start.

After misfiring on seven of his first eight pass attempts, Tanner Price finished strong, completing 17 of 30 passes on the day for 169 yards and a touchdown on six drives. Nikita Whitlock had an 87-yard interception return for a score on Price.

Reserve signal-caller Patrick Thompson finished 5-for-6 passing for 79 yards with a touchdown, and Wake's defense finished with five sacks from five different players.

“I think we’ve improved quite a bit from the first day of practice when we didn’t look very good,” coach Jim Grobe said of the offensive line. “I thought Thursday we improved a little bit and I thought today we got a little better. It’s going to take time before these guys are really comfortable.

"We’ve got guys who like to play, who like to get after it but they’re just making too many mistakes right now and you can’t do that up front. We just play against too many good people. You want to get to the point where when they beat us, they beat us physically and not because we didn’t block the right guy.”

Wake Forest's spring game is April 14.
As advertised ...

1. Florida State: The Noles have one of the best cornerback duos in the country in Greg Reid and Xavier Rhodes. They combined for 33 passes defended last season, the most of any pair of cornerbacks in the nation. Mike Harris had 41 tackles and four picks as a reserve.

[+] EnlargeGreg Reid
Matthew Emmons/US PresswireFlorida State cornerback Greg Reid is also one of the ACC's top return men.
2. Virginia Tech: Jayron Hosley is one of the top boundary corners in the country, and the Hokies also have Kyle Fuller, who had six deflections last season, and Cris Hill (two deflections) at field corner.

3. Maryland: The Terps return both starters in Cameron Chism and Trenton Hughes, who combined for 36 career starts. Chism is a strong cover corner who had 70 tackles and eight deflections last season. Hughes had nine pass deflections.

4. NC State: Both starters return in C.J. Wilson and David Amerson. Wilson had 46 tackles, two interceptions and six pass breakups, and Amerson had 57 tackles. Justin Byers and Gary Grant also have experience.

5. North Carolina: The Tar Heels lost some remarkable talent in their secondary, including cornerback Kendric Burney, but there is a lot of depth at the position. Jabari Price started four games last season, Charles Brown has 22 career starts but sat out last season, and Mywan Jackson and Tre Boston both have at least four starts each.

6. Boston College: The Eagles will miss DeLeon Gause, but Donnie Fletcher has 17 career starts, 56 tackles last season, and led the team with five picks. C.J. Jones played in 12 games as a backup last season with 16 tackles. Dominique Williams also saw some time and had four tackles, and true freshman Al Louis-Jean, who was the No. 9 cornerback in the nation as ranked by ESPN Recruiting, enrolled early.

7. Clemson: It’s a young group, as the Tigers had to replace Marcus Gilchrist and Byron Maxwell. Xavier Brewer had 10 starts with 50 tackles and two interceptions last season, Coty Sensabaugh had 31 tackles in three starts, and senior Mansa Joseph will also be competing for playing time with sophomore Martin Jenkins.

8. Virginia: The Cavaliers return both starters in Chase Minnifield and Devin Wallace, but Wallace was suspended and missed spring ball and is still suspended. Wallace had 38 tackles and six breakups last season. Chris Broadnax, Rijo Walker, Drequan Hoskey and Pablo Alvarez will all compete for playing time.

9. Miami: The Hurricanes have to replace both starters in Brandon Harris and Ryan Hill. Jo-Jo Nicholas moved to corner and Brandon McGee, who was the nickel back last season, will compete along with Lee Chambers, Keion Payne, Nathan Gholston and true freshman Thomas Finnie, who had a great spring.

10. Georgia Tech: The Jackets had to replace their entire secondary, including cornerbacks Mario Butler and Dominique Reese. They’ve still got several cornerbacks with experience in Rashaad Reid, who started 14 games in 2008 and 2009, Rod Sweeting (38 tackles, seven pass breakups, one interception), Louis Young (10 tackles), and Michael Peterson (six tackles, one pass breakup).

11. Wake Forest: The Deacs have a deep enough secondary that they can live without the experience of cornerback Kevin Johnson, who started five games last season but will sit out this season while academically ineligible. Josh Bush had 33 tackles and four pass breakups last season, Kenny Okoro is a rising star, A.J. Marshall has three starts and Dominique Tate returns after missing last season while on academic suspension.

12. Duke: Ross Cockrell is a returning starter and finished last season with 60 tackles and 10 passes defended. He was only a freshman but he tied for eighth in the ACC with passes defended with 10 in 12 games. Johnny Williams had four pass breakups last season.

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