After a redshirt season in 2010, McDermott saw the field in limited time last fall. After Tyler Horn graduated, a big opportunity opened up for the sophomore center and he responded.
"I thought a guy who took the biggest jump in the spring was Shane McDermott," said offensive line coach Art Kehoe. "His shoulder was a bit dinged up but he never complained, never missed a practice. He really worked hard."
With having just limited experience on the field during his first two years as a Hurricane, McDermott performed during the spring like a veteran.
"His reach blocks and his cutoffs, he didn't put the ball on the ground very often, only a couple times," Kehoe said about what impressed the coaches about his play.
One thing that has always separates McDermott from other centers, even back in high school, is how well he knows the game.
"He made big jumps to me and understanding the defensive structure, getting us on cue," Kehoe said. "From a physical and technique standpoint, he got a lot better."
McDermott is one of two offensive linemen who really jumped out as potential leaders of the unit during the spring.
"(Brandon) Linder, too," Kehoe said. "I think those two are the leaders and two of the best players and they've held up and gotten better. They've competed. As they go, we'll go as an offensive line."
The Hurricanes are hoping that McDermott and Linder can be the leaders of a very good group in 2012 -- one that has lots of size and athletic ability on it.