ACC Spring Football - What's Happening?

Here are three key spring tidbits you need to know about for each ACC team in the Atlantic Division.

Boston College  

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 class.

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.

Clemson 

The Tackle Situation … 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 game.

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.   

Florida State 

The Next Big Thing … Junior 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.       

Maryland 

Broken Bones ... 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 first team.

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.               

NC State 

Make Room for Wilson … 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.


Wake Forest 

Wooster MassBen 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.


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