2008 ACC Football Season Preview: Preseason All-ACC

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TSL’s 2008 season preview continues today with the Preseason All-ACC Team.
The ACC has lost stars such as Matt Ryan, Brandon Flowers and Kenny Phillips,
but as always there are talented players just waiting to take over.

First, let’s start with the offense.


2008 TSL Preseason All-ACC Offense

Position

Name

Team

QB

Cullen Harper

Clemson

RB

James Davis

Clemson

RB

Josh Adams

Wake Forest

WR

Hakeem Nicks

UNC

WR

Aaron Kelly

Clemson

TE

Greg Boone

Virginia Tech

OT

Andrew Gardner

Georgia Tech

OT

Eugene Monroe

Virginia

OG

Sergio Render

Virginia Tech

OG

Nick Marshman

Virginia Tech

C

Edwin Williams

Maryland

Clemson easily has the most offensive skill position talent in the ACC. Their
quarterback, running back and wide receiver all make the list, and backup
tailback C.J. Spiller has All-ACC talent. The Tigers will be pretty scary this
year, if their offensive line can just be adequate.

UNC wide receiver Hakeem Nicks is the best wideout in the ACC, in my opinion.
He had 74 catches for 958 yards last season. He had eight catches for 94 yards
against the Hokies, which isn’t something you see very often.

I feel like Greg Boone will have a big season, if used properly. He’ll catch
25 passes or so (big numbers for a VT tight end), and I also feel like that he
could be Tech’s #1 option at fullback on the goal line or in short yardage
situations. Boone could end up being Tech’s Offensive MVP this season, if
the Hokies are able to get him the ball enough to max out his potential.

Virginia Tech and Maryland have the top two offensive lines in the ACC, in my
opinion, and three of the five players on the preseason list play for the Hokies
or Terps. I think Nick Marshman will have a very good season and move on to the
NFL. Up at UVA, Eugene Monroe will continue the tradition of Elton Brown,
D’Brickashaw Ferguson and Branden Albert.

Defensively, the conference lost a lot of talent to the NFL, but there are
plenty of guys who are ready to step up.


2008 TSL Preseason All-ACC Defense

Position

Name

Team

DE

Everette Brown

Florida State

DT

Vance Walker

Georgia Tech

DT

Vince Oghobaase

Duke

DE

Ricky Sapp

Clemson

LB

Aaron Curry

Wake Forest

LB

Clint Sintim

Virginia

LB

Derek Nicholson

Florida State

CB

Macho Harris

Virginia Tech

CB

Alphonso Smith

Wake Forest

S

Kam Chancellor

Virginia Tech

S

Michael Hamlin

Clemson

Along the defensive line, I’m not buying the Michael Johnson hype. He is a
defensive end from Georgia Tech who is a preseason All-American according to
some folks, despite the fact that the rising senior has started just one game in
his career, and has just 10 career sacks. He might be a very high NFL Draft Pick
based on his athletic ability, but he’s just another Kentwan Balmer to me until
I actually see him do it on the field.

There are a lot of very good linebackers in the ACC. Curry is my personal
favorite, but Sintim and Nicholson are very good. I also like guys like Brian
Toal, Mark Herzlich, Dave Philistin, etc. However, there just aren’t enough
spots to include all those guys. Oh, and I do think Brett Warren and Purnell
Sturdivant could be right there by the end of the year.

Virginia Tech dominates the secondary, as usual. Last year I had Flowers and
Harris as All-ACC corners. At the end of the season, the media only picked
Harris. They probably felt bad about picking two corners from the same team.
This year I’ve got Harris and Chancellor. I’m not convinced there is a better
corner or a better free safety in the conference.

Now, for a look quick look at the specialists.


2008 TSL Preseason All-ACC Special Teams

Position

Name

Team

K

Sam Swank

Wake Forest

P

Sam Swank

Wake Forest

KR

C.J. Spiller

Clemson

PR

Jacoby Ford

Clemson

Swank is the big name kicker/punter in the conference, and he’ll probably get
the nod for both spots. Brent Bowden could definitely have a chance to sneak in
there at punter though.

I like C.J. Spiller at kick returner. At punt returner, Jacoby Ford could be
very good, if Clemson decides to use him there. They could use Spiller there as
well.

Now let’s see who has the most Preseason All-ACC players.


Most All-ACC Players

Team

Number

Clemson

7

Virginia Tech

5

Wake Forest

4

Virginia

2

Georgia Tech

2

Florida State

2

UNC

1

Maryland

1

Duke

1

It’s no surprise that Clemson comes in at #1. They have the most star caliber
players in the ACC. Virginia Tech comes in at #2, with Wake Forest just behind
the Hokies at #3. Florida State had just two players on the list, but they have
several other guys who were very close to being included.

However, football isn’t necessarily about the most star power. It’s about
depth, and it’s about team play. Clemson, Virginia Tech, Florida State and Wake
Forest are the most likely candidates to win the ACC. Of those four, the one
that comes together the most as a team over the next few months will likely be
crowned as conference champs in December.

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