NCF Nation: Tony Logan

You asked, I answered. Readers (particularly @AsylumGodfather) were calling for more position rankings, so the receivers are up next. This could be the strongest position group in the conference, and one of the more difficult to rank, so I looked back on a few stats to help me separate them, including how some of these guys did against their best competition (i.e. Danny Coale versus FSU, wow). Here’s the final verdict of which teams in the ACC have the best combination of depth and talent:

1. Virginia Tech: With Jarrett Boykin and Coale returning, the Hokies’ passing game has a chance to flourish this fall. Boykin, Coale and Dyrell Roberts were the team’s top three receivers last year for the second straight season, combining for 113 catches, 1,882 yards and 11 touchdowns. Add to that Marcus Davis, D.J. Coles, E.L. Smiling -- it’s a bottomless cup of depth and talent.

2. Duke: Conner Vernon has 128 catches in his first two collegiate seasons and Donovan Varner ranked fourth in the ACC in pass receptions (60) and seventh in yardage (736). Their combined 274 receptions are the most of any active duo in the ACC. They are the top two returning leaders in catches per game, and Vernon is the ACC’s returning leader in receiving yards per game. The Blue Devils also have sophomore Brandon Braxton (14 catches), who could make a name for himself as the third option this year.

3. Florida State: Every Seminole who caught a pass last season returns. Bert Reed, Taiwan Easterling and Rodney Smith return with a combined 50 career starts. Reed ranks second among all returning ACC receivers with 141 career receptions. Willie Haulstead had 38 catches last season, Smith had 31, and there’s plenty of rising talent like Christian Green.

4. North Carolina: Like Florida State, North Carolina returns all of its receivers, including two who redshirted last season. Dwight Jones, who had 946 yards and 62 receptions, leads the group, but Erik Highsmith (25 catches, 348 yards and three touchdowns) must be accounted for as well. Defenses also can’t forget about Jheranie Boyd, who is a deep threat.

5. Miami: The Canes will miss the production of Leonard Hankerson, but they don’t have to if one or two of the other players show more consistency. Travis Benjamin has big-play capabilities and averaged 17.3 yards on his 43 catches last season. There is no shortage of other options with LaRon Byrd, Aldarius Johnson, Tommy Streeter, Allen Hurns and Kendal Thompkins. Which one will rise to the occasion?

6. Clemson: It was the DeAndre Hopkins show last season, and he should again highlight the Tigers’ passing game. As a true freshman, Hopkins had 52 catches, the most by a first-year player in school history. Jaron Brown returns with 10 career starts, and the Tigers also have Marquan Jones (21 catches) and Bryce McNeal (19).

7. Maryland: The Terps have to replace their top two receivers from a year ago in Torrey Smith and Adrian Cannon, and no clear frontrunners emerged this spring. Quintin McCree leads all returners with 16 catches, followed by Kevin Dorsey (15), Ronnie Tyler (13), Kerry Boykins (10), and Tony Logan.

8. Boston College: True freshman Bobby Swigert led the Eagles last year with 39 catches and four touchdowns in five starts. The Eagles are hoping to get a significant boost from the return of Colin Larmond Jr., who missed all of last season with a knee injury, but the young group should be better regardless because of the experience gained last season.

9. Virginia: The Cavaliers will miss Dontrelle Inman, who averaged 16 yards per catch on 51 receptions, but returning starter Kris Burd finished fifth in the ACC last season in pass receptions (58). The group will also get a boost from the return of Tim Smith, who missed almost all of last season with an injury, and Matt Snyder (30 catches) and Ray Keys (three catches).

10. NC State: NC State has to replace its top two receivers from a year ago, and T.J. Graham is the team’s leading returning receiver with 25 catches. Steven Howard, Jay Smith and Quintin Payton all have experience, and redshirt freshman Bryan Underwood, Tobias Palmer and Everett Proctor have also been competing for playing time.

11. Wake Forest: Chris Givens (35 catches, 13.7 average), Michael Campanaro (10 catches) and Danny Dembry are the lead candidates to start, but the Deacs are missing a spark like Kenny Moore (2007) and D.J. Boldin (2008) provided. There were too many dropped passes in the spring game, so this group has some work to do in summer camp.

12. Georgia Tech: Yes, Georgia Tech throws the ball, just not often enough or efficiently enough to be anywhere but last place on this list. Stephen Hill led the Jackets last year with 15 catches for 291 yards and three touchdowns. He should show progress this fall now that there’s no pressure on him to be the next Demaryius Thomas. If he doesn’t show more consistency, the Jackets could turn to Daniel McKayhan, Tyler Melton or Jeremy Moore.

Recruiting rewind

January, 28, 2011
1/28/11
4:00
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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

ESPN.com 2010 All-ACC team

December, 8, 2010
12/08/10
10:30
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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

Pregame notes

November, 20, 2010
11/20/10
7:52
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COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- There are no lineup changes for Maryland, and for FSU, Henry Orelus will make his first start at guard in place of Rhonne Sanderson. Chris Thompson will start at tailback.

Maryland will be wearing specially-designed uniforms as part of their partnership with the Wounded Warrior Project, a non-profit organization that provides programs and services for injured services members and their families. Three servicemen wounded in action will be honored Saturday night.

One aspect of this game that might be overshadowed is the impact of special teams, especially in the return game. Maryland's Tony Logan leads the ACC in punt returns, Torrey Smith is dangerous on kickoff returns, and FSU's Greg Reid is an electric returner.
Maryland quarterback Danny O'Brien doesn't look like he's dwelling on last week's three interceptions, and his teammates and coaches are helping him succeed as the Terps have a 7-0 lead at Boston College. The Terps are mixing it up well with the run and pass -- they needed to establish the run this week after failing to against Clemson -- and they're not trying to force things or ask O'Brien to do too much.

Tony Logan helped out with a nice punt return that landed the Terps at midfield en route to their scoring drive. O'Brien converted a fourth-and-7 and a fouth-and-1 on that drive. Maryland can win this game if O'Brien continues to manage the offense like this.

ACC predictions: Week 7

October, 14, 2010
10/14/10
9:01
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Predictions: ACC | Big 12 | Big East | Big Ten | Pac-10 | SEC | Non-AQ

Wake Forest was two points away from making me look smart. Miami was light years. So it goes. After a 4-2 record last week, my overall record stands at 39-12. That’s a 76.4 winning percentage. Forget that. I’m aiming for Joe Paterno’s age (83).

Here’s to a better week:

Virginia Tech 38, Wake Forest 17: The Deacs have had trouble with mobile quarterbacks, and won’t be able to contain Tyrod Taylor or the Hokies’ running game. Wake’s rushing defense is No. 101 in the country, allowing just under 200 yards per game, and the Hokies are averaging 211 on the ground.

Florida State 31, Boston College 14: Once again, BC’s defense will make a play that gives the offense a short field, but the Eagles will again come up short under center. Chase Rettig has been able to practice this week, but the Seminoles, who lead the nation in sacks for the third straight weeks, will have the edge up front and pressure the rookie.

Clemson 38, Maryland 10: Tigers’ running back Andre Ellington will have a big day, and the Clemson defense will expose Maryland’s issues at quarterback. The Tigers will have to contain Tony Logan on punt returns -- he’s had two for more than 80 yards for touchdowns in the past two games -- and force the Terps into uncharacteristic turnovers.

NC State 35, East Carolina 28: It should have the feeling of a rivalry game and could turn into a shootout, but NC State easily has the better defense. Both teams rank among the top 13 in the nation in scoring offense, but the Pirates are ranked 114th in total defense, allowing 457 yards per game.

UNC 17, Virginia 14: Running back Johnny White will be the difference, again helping out in the passing game, and UNC will break its streak of 14 straight losses in Charlottesville. The Tar Heels’ defense is coming together and will have the advantage up front as Virginia is tweaking its rotation on the offensive line.

Georgia Tech 35, Middle Tennessee 14: Middle Tennessee is 2-3 in the Sun Belt and has one of the worst rushing defenses in the country. That’s one weakness you can’t afford against Paul Johnson’s spread option offense, which has the No. 3 rushing offense in the country at 328 yards per game.

Miami 38, Duke 27: Consider this a trap game for the Canes, as Duke has had a bye week to heal and prepare and will have home-field advantage. The Blue Devils aren’t good enough defensively, though, to stop Miami’s speed or its explosive kicking game. The Canes will pull away late.

Vote: Capital One Impact Performance

October, 4, 2010
10/04/10
10:32
AM ET
Time once again to vote for the Capital One Impact Performance of the weekend.

Here are your nominees:
  • Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson has 494 yards of total offense and five touchdowns in a win over Indiana.
  • Virginia Tech's David Wilson returns a kickoff 92 yards for a touchdown against NC State.
  • Pittsburgh running back Ray Graham runs for 277 yards and three touchdowns in a win over FIU.
  • Maryland's Tony Logan returns a punt 84 yards for a touchdown to spark a comeback win over Duke.

Terps hang on against Duke

October, 2, 2010
10/02/10
9:49
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Maryland is 4-1 heading into its bye week after a 21-16 win against Duke.


Repeat: Maryland has won four games. That's twice as many as it did last year and two wins shy of bowl eligibility. Rejoice, Maryland fans, rejoice. Just don't get too carried away -- Maryland didn't exactly dominate the Blue Devils. Instead, the Terps had to climb out of a 9-0 hole and were outgained in total yards (399-294). Still, it's progress, and Maryland is heading in the right direction. Tony Logan continues to impress in the return game and Maryland is even better when everything is clicking for Danny O'Brien and Torrey Smith is healthy. The competition is only going to get tougher with a road trip to Clemson looming, but if there's one team in the ACC Maryland has figured out how to beat (somehow), it's Clemson.

Terps regain control

September, 25, 2010
9/25/10
1:11
PM ET
Maryland has only two rushing yards, but who needs 'em when you've got a punt return for a touchdown? The Terps have regained control in this game with a 14-7 lead against FIU thanks to Tony Logan's 85-yard punt return for a touchdown. There's still nothing much convincing about Maryland's offense in this game, and a one-possession lead shouldn't give the Terps any sense it's time to relax.

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