Feats of Strength
… Matt Ryan isn’t
the only high-profile Eagle who needs to be replaced on the Heights.
His blindside protector, Gosder Cherilus, is also gone. Boston
College’s answer to the void at left tackle is to slide sophomore
Anthony Castonzo over from the right side of the line. A starter at
right tackle as a freshman, he knew the move was coming shortly after
the bowl game ended. The probable replacement at right tackle will be
enormous sophomore Rich Lapham, who played sparingly in 2007.
As Good As Advertised … In just a couple of weeks, true freshman
RB Josh Haden has shown why he received so many offers during
last year’s recruiting cycle. A stop-and-go gamebreaker that the Eagles
haven’t had for years in the running game, he’s already considered to be
the feature back this fall. By graduating early and getting 15 spring
practices under his belt, Haden has a big advantage over the rest of his
Toal Collector … Oft-injured LB Brian Toal has declared
himself to be 100% and without restrictions on the field or in the
weight room. The senior, who sat out 2007 to recover from shoulder
surgery, is a welcome addition to a unit that must replace Jolonn
Dunbar. A little rusty but in great shape, he’s no longer going to be
runner in short yardage situations.
… The offensive
tackle glass appears to be half empty at this time for Clemson. While
sophomore Chris Hairston left no doubts that he’s ready to be a
fixture on the right side, the staff is feeling a little pensive about
left tackle Cory Lambert. While Lambert has made strides since
the end of last season, he’s still not where he needs to be. At 6-6 and
310 pounds, Hairston looks capable of eventually following former Tiger
Barry Richardson on to the All-ACC team. However, the line needs a ton
of help after a nightmare of a spring against the Tiger defensive front.
Bowers Power … True freshman DE DaQuan Bowers made an instant
impact in his first spring, leaving no doubts that he’ll be on the field
plenty this fall. Showing the speed and strength that made him one of
the most coveted recruits in the country, he capped a solid spring with
seven tackles, four tackles for loss, and three sacks in the spring
Do-or-Dye … Determined to earn a bigger role in the offense,
sophomore WR Xavier Dye performed like a different player in his
second spring. Using all of his speed and every inch of his 6-5 frame,
he closed the session with six catches for 87 yards and a touchdown in
the spring game. Still a backup, he’s preparing to be the go-to
receiver in 2009 after Aaron Kelly graduates.
The Next Big Thing
Everette Brown played at a high level throughout the spring,
performing as if he’s ready to become the Noles’ next big thing at
defensive end. After posting 6.5 sacks a year ago, he looks capable of
doubling that number with a combination of speed, power, and want-to
that’s been too much for the Florida State offensive line to handle.
Weatherford Underground… Starting QB Drew Weatherford is
recovering from a knee injury that ended his spring a couple weeks early
and expects to be ready for summer camp. In the meantime, his absence
had a silver lining allowing backups Christian Ponder and
D'Vontrey Richardson to get showcase their skills while getting more
reps with the first team.
Seamless Transition … Last season’s most reliable offensive
lineman, Rodney Hudson, is in the process of making a smooth and
unorthodox transition from center to left tackle. A tremendous athlete
and worker, he validated the staff’s decision by winning the Hinesman
Award given annually to the most dominant Seminole of the spring.
Potential starting receivers Isaiah Williams and LaQuan
Williams missed the end of spring practice with injuries that’ll
require surgery. Isaiah Williams suffered a broken hand and LaQuan
Williams broke his hand, but both are expected to be back in time for
fall practices. The injuries opened the door for Adrian Cannon,
Torrey Smith, and Tony Logan to get more reps with the
Quarterback Battle ... The on-going competition at quarterback
involving Jordan Steffy, Chris Turner, and Josh Portis
is expected to continue through the summer. Steffy and Turner are the
favorites, with Portis not far behind. Portis may have the best
combination of skills of the trio, but will have trouble getting on the
field unless he can get a better grasp on the offensive playbook.
Dynamic Duo: The Sequel ... The Terrapins are developing a new
backfield tandem to replace Keon Lattimore and Lance Ball. Sophomores
Da’Rel Scott and Morgan Green enjoyed productive springs,
solidifying their roles as the top two runners this fall. Scott, in
particular, shows great acceleration and should have no problem finding
daylight running behind the massive Maryland line.
Make Room for
An already muddled race at quarterback added a new name in the spring.
Redshirt freshman Russell Wilson showed good poise and touch on
his passes, joining Daniel Evans, Harrison Beck, and
Justin Burke in a competition that surely won’t be decided until the
team gets back together in August. Heralded true freshman Mike
Glennon will be arriving in a couple of months.
Hill of a Recovery … Injured TE Anthony Hill didn’t
participate in any contact drills in April, but was able to complete
individual drills and work out in the training room. One of the
offense’s best weapons before tearing knee ligaments last year, he
remains the kind of pass-catcher that’s capable of ending the year on
the All-ACC squad.
Welcome Back … After missing all of last season, WR Geron
James is back on the Wolfpack squad, looking to recapture the form
that made him an exciting prospect in 2006. At 6-4 and 200 pounds, he’s
got terrific size and the ball skills to beat defenders on jump balls.
… Ben Wooster was a beast throughout the spring, leaving no
doubts that he’ll be able to supplant John Tereshinkski and Zac Selmon
at tight end. Showing great speed and soft hands, Wooster capped the
session with five catches in the spring game for 138 yards and two
touchdowns, including a 65-yarder in which he blew past the secondary.
Chris Crossed … As if replacing a couple of starting offensive
linemen, including C Steve Justice, isn’t daunting enough, the Deacons
learned in March that hulking guard Chris DeGeare will be
ineligible for academic reasons. To fill the void, the coaches are
expected to shift Joe Birdsong from the left side to the right.
Adams’ Caddy … While ACC Rookie of the Year Josh Adams is
the undisputed feature back on the Deacon offense, his backup appears
capable of busting loose when he gets a chance this fall. Redshirt
freshman Brandon Pendergrass hits the hole quickly and is capable
of going the distance when he gets outside the tackles.
ACC Spring Football - What's Happening?
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