ACC Positional Rankings – OL

As TDD continues counting down to kick off, we touch on the first set of lineman previews. For the Blue Devils that means replacing four starters from last year's group, which included NFL Draftee Drew Stronjy. How will head coach Ted Roof remedy this experience problem, and where does the current Duke group rank? Read of for the compelte story.

LINKS:
*- Part One - QBs
*- Part Two - RBs
*- Part Three - WRs

1. Florida State – This could be the best Seminole offensive line in recent memory, which is saying a lot. Tackle Alex Barron is the lastest great college tackle to play in Tallahassee. The other 4 returning starters are pretty good as well, including guard Matt Meinrod and C David Castillo. When the dust settles from the 2004 season, the Noles might end up with the best offensive line in the country.

2. Virginia – The Cavaliers also have the luxury of returning all 5 starters. Preseason first team all-american Elton Brown leads this experienced unit. Tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson has started every game in his career and will be looking for post-season accolades of his own.

3. Miami – The Hurricanes will always have great athletes up front. This year is no different. Left tackle Eric Winston will contend for all-american honors. The middle of the line is solid as well with returning starters Joel Rodriguez and guard Chris Myers.

4. North Carolina State – Despte the loss of 1st team all-ACC performer Sean Locklear, the Pack will be really solid here. The return of LT Chris Colmer from an injury redshirt will really bolster this unit. RT Derek Morris has tons of ability, literally tons since he is the ACC's biggest offensive linemam. Also returning are 2003 starters Jed Paulsen, Ricky Fowler, and Leroy Harris to give NCSU their best offensive front in many years.

5. Clemson – What was the worst unit in the acc 2 years ago is now a solid well-coached line. The Tigers drastically improved their performance in 2003 but has a few questions for 2004. The interior of the line is solid, with all 3 starters returning (LG Cedric Johnson, C Tommy Sharpe, and RG Nathan Bennett). Depth is also good here, as Brandon Pilgrim and Chip Myrick saw lots of playing time. Both tackles must be replaced, however, so a few of the 2003 reserves will need to step up.

6. Maryland – The most underrated aspect of Ralph Friedgen's tenure is his ability to get maximum performance out of his offensive line. This year should be no different. First team all-ACC performer LG C.J. Brooks returns as does senior C Kyle Schmitt. The right side of the line will need to be replaced.

7. Georgia Tech – The Jackets must overcome the loss of all-ACC tackle Nat Dorsey, however, Tech has a history of producing quality college linemen. OT Kyle Wallace is a candidate for postseason honors. Tech also has lots of 4th and 5th year players along the front, such as LT Kenton Johnson and LG Leon Robinson, which should make the offense go.

8. North Carolina – Senior center Jason Brown returns to anchor a UNC offensive line that returns 4 starters. The 2003 version of the Heels was proficient on offense. This is partly due to the play of Darian Durant, but it is also partly due to solid line play. RT Skip Seagraves and LT Willie McNeil provide experience for the Heels.

9. Virgina Tech – Virginia Tech mist contend with the loss of all Big East C Jake Grove. The Hokies will be buoyed by returning starters at both guard and tackle spots, including mammoth RT Jon Dunn.

10. Wake Forest – The Deacons lost 2 main cogs of the offensive line, including all-ACC guard Tyson Clabo. Despite this, the Wake offense relies on angles, cut blocks and mobility to execute their offensive scheme. This really helps their new lineman and their ability to adjust to starting. Returning starters C Blake Lingruen and RT Steve Vallos will need to provide leadership.

11. Duke – The Devils will have to replace 4 starters, including NFL draft pick LT Drew Strojny. There is hope, however, as several players are ready to step in to starting roles. LT Jim Moravchik is the Devils' most versatile lineman, having lined up at four different positions in his first two seasons. He is big, agile and a good technician. Some expect him to be Duke's best lineman since Lennie Friedman. RT Christian Mitchell, the only returning starter, has two years starting experience and will be counted on for leadership. Scrappy 5th year senior Dan Mooney will anchor the line at center. Guard Tyler Krieg has great athletic ability and is much more mobile than his predecessors. Despite the optimism for the starters, the reserves are untested and overall numbers are lacking. One or two of Duke's 6 OL recruits might have to play right away. The most likely candidate is OG Jonathan Terry. He is already big and strong enough to play at the college level.


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