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ACC Preview 2006 - Unit Rankings

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Aug 9, 2006


CollegeFootballNews.com 2006 ACC Preview Unit Rankings

 ACC Preview | All-ACC team and top 30 players | Top 5s | Unit Rankings 
- Boston College Preview |  Clemson Preview | Duke Preview |
 Florida State Preview
- Georgia Tech Preview | Maryland Preview | Miami Preview | NC State Preview
- Virginia Preview | Virginia Tech Preview | Wake Forest Preview

 Offenses
1. Florida State
There's way too much speed and way too much returning talent to not be more consistent. It all stems from the offensive line, which was never healthy last year but has just about all the key parts returning. The receiving corps should be fantastic if Greg Carr and De'Cody Fagg end up being consistent home-run hitters while Chris Davis makes plays like a number one target. Lorenzo Booker and Antone Smith might be the fastest backs in the country, but they need holes to run through. QB Drew Weatherford had a tremendous freshman year and should be even better now that he knows what he's doing.
2. Clemson
3. Miami
4. Virginia Tech
5. Georgia Tech
6. Maryland
7. Boston College
8. Virginia
9. NC State
10. Wake Forest
11. North Carolina
12. Duke

Quarterbacks
1. Florida State
Everyone raise your hand, including the FSU coaching staff, if you thought Drew Weatherford was going to start every game and arguably, turn into the ACC Player of the Year. He's a tough, confident passer who became a better decision maker as the year went on. Xavier Lee is a multi-talented playmaker who might not settle for being the second banana for too long. He'll get a shot to make more of an impact this fall when he comes back from a shoulder injury. 
2. Miami
3  Georgia Tech
4. Clemson
5. Boston College
6. Maryland
7. Virginia Tech
8. Virginia
9. NC State
10. Wake Forest
11. North Carolina
12. Duke


Running Backs  
1. Clemson
Is this the ACC's best backfield? If not, it's close with three great options and a true freshman in C.J. Spiller that might turn out to be the best of the bunch. James Davis is a 1,000-yard back waiting to happen with the hands and moves to do everything for the offense, while Reggie Merriweather is a productive, experienced number two back who can handle the starting job if needed. Demerick Chancellor is one of the team's fastest players and should be used as a big play back throughout the year. Alex Pearson is a big blocking fullback who should be a fine replacement for Cliff Harrell.
2. Maryland
3. Miami
4. Virginia Tech
5. Florida State
6. Boston College
7. North Carolina
8. Wake Forest
9. NC State
10. Georgia Tech
11. Virginia
12. Duke


Receivers
1. Florida State
The receiving corps is loaded with size, speed, talent, and now, experience. Chris Davis is a nice veteran to serve as a go-to target, while Greg Carr and De'Cody Fagg are big, lightning fast deep receiver who'll led Drew Weatherford bomb away. Joslin Shaw is a rising playmaker after converting from running back, and track star Kenny O'Neal will bring even more speed. The concern, at least early on, will be at tight end needing true freshmen Brandon Warren and Caz Piurowski to push Charlie Graham.
2. Virginia Tech
3. Miami
4. Clemson
5. Virginia
6. Georgia Tech
7. Maryland
8. NC State
9. Boston College
10. North Carolina
11. Wake Forest
12. Duke


Offensive Lines
1. Clemson
The line is very big and very, very experienced with all five starters returning and several other quality reserves that can step in without missing a beat. Consistency will be the key needing to be better in pass protection. Having a mobile quarterback like Will Proctor will help. It'll be a dominant run blocking unit that should pave the way for well over 2,000 yards on the ground. Roman Fry earned all-star honors at left guard last year, and he won't be the only All-ACC performer this season with tackle Barry Richardson and center Dustin Fry sure to get attention. 
2. Georgia Tech
3. Florida State
4. Maryland
5. Boston College
6. Virginia
7. Virginia Tech
8. Miami
9. Wake Forest
10. NC State
11. North Carolina
12. Duke


Defenses
1. Miami
The defense will once again be among the best in the nation with size, speed, and backups that would start for about 100 other teams. The safeties are among the best in Miami history with Brandon Meriweather and Kelly Phillips each deserving of All-America consideration and Anthony Reddick and Lovon Ponder more than good enough to step in without missing a beat. Cornerback is the X factor needing Glenn Sharpe to be ready to roll after suffering a knee injury last year and Randy Phillips needing to step up and be a consistent playmaker. There are too many great defensive ends and linebackers for the starting spots, and the tackles have the potential to be a strength after a little bit of starting experience.
2. Virginia Tech
3. Clemson
4. Georgia Tech
5. Florida State
6. Boston College
7. NC State
8. Maryland
9. North Carolina
10. Virginia
11. Wake Forest
12. Duke

Defensive Lines
1. Miami
The line could be something special if the tackles come through with big seasons. 300 pounders Kareem Brown and Antonio Dixon and the quick Teraz McCray should be strong against the run, but the starting experience isn't there. The ends are deep and fantastic as Baraka Atkins, Bryan Pata, Eric Moncur and Calais Campbell are all pass rushing terrors who'll form a great rotation to steadily get to the quarterback. 
2. Georgia Tech
3. Clemson
4. Florida State
5. Virginia Tech
6. Boston College
7. NC State
8. North Carolina
9. Duke
10. Maryland
11. Virginia
12. Wake Forest

Linebackers
1. Miami
There aren't any national stars, at least not yet, but the return of Tavares Gooden from a shoulder injury, Darryl Sharpton from an ankle and knee problem, and Willie Williams getting a full season healthy will make this a very good, very deep corps. It's not all that big, but everyone can run and there will be big-time competition all season long for playing time. Glenn Cook will have a fight on his hands with Sharpton for the job in the middle, while veteran Jon Beason will have to use his experience to hold off Williams.
2. Virginia Tech
3. Georgia Tech
4. Clemson
5. Florida State
6. Boston College
7. Maryland
8. Wake Forest
9. NC State
10. Virginia
11. North Carolina
12. Duke


Defensive Backs
1. Miami
This won't be the nation's number one pass defense again, but it won't be far off. There's a little bit of a question mark at corner needing Glenn Sharpe to return 100% from a torn ACL and hoping for either Randy Phillips or Bruce Johnson to go from being decent backup to a solid starter, or else hope for star recruit Ryan Hill to live up to expectations right away. The safeties are among the deepest and most talented Miami has ever had with Brandon Meriweather and Kenny Phillips each on the short list for All-America honors and Anthony Reddick, once he returns from a knee injury, isn't far behind. Lovon Ponder is a great looking young safety who has to somehow find his way on the field.
2. Virginia Tech
3. NC State
4. Boston College
5. Florida State
6. Clemson
7. Maryland
8. Virginia
9. North Carolina
10. Georgia Tech
11. Duke
12. Wake Forest

Special Teams
1. Virginia Tech
As always, the Virginia Tech special teams will be among the best in the country. Placekicker Brandon Pace and punter Nic Schmitt are All-America candidates, and now the return game has to step up after a mediocre 2005. Eddie Royal is too speedy not to do more as the team's main kick returner, while the rest of the top receivers will also provide a little help.
2. Miami
3. NC State
4. Maryland
5. North Carolina
6. Florida State
7. Georgia Tech
8. Boston College
9. Clemson
10. Virginia
11. Wake Forest
12. Duke