ACC Preview 2006 - Top 5s
Posted Aug 9, 2006 2006 ACC Preview ACC Top 5s

 ACC Preview | All-ACC team and top 30 players | Top 5s | Unit Rankings 
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 1) The five games that will shape the ACC race (in order)
Sept. 4, Florida State at Miami
Because these two are in separate divisions, this has bigger implications for the national title picture than the ACC race.   
Sept. 9, Clemson at Boston College
It might be the ACC opener, but the loser will be in big trouble in the Atlantic Division battle.
Sept. 16, Clemson at Florida State
Florida State likely can’t lose to Miami and Clemson and play for the ACC title. The Tigers can set the tone to be the Atlantic Division favorites with a big win.
Oct. 28, Miami at Georgia Tech
The Yellow Jackets won a 14-10 stunner over the Canes last year. This season’s battle will go a long way to deciding the Coastal Division title.
Nov. 4, Virginia Tech at Miami
The road team has won the last two meetings.

2) Five non-conference games that ACC teams had better take very, very seriously
1. NC State at Southern Miss, Sept. 16
The Golden Eagles believe in playing anyone, anywhere, anytime. Now they get a big name in their house.
2. Louisiana Tech at Clemson, Sept. 30
The Tigers will already have played three ACC games with road tests at Boston College and Florida State and could look past the Bulldogs. Tech is strong on the road.
3. Boston College at Central Michigan, Aug. 31
Who wants to go on the road to Central Michigan to start the season a week before facing Clemson? While BC is hardly Indiana, CMU gave the Hoosiers all they could handle in last year’s season opener.
4. Houston at Miami, Sept. 30
Miami will be coming off what’ll certainly be an emotional battle at Louisville. Houston QB Kevin Kolb is just good enough to get red hot for a game and give the Canes some big-time problems.
5. South Florida at North Carolina, Oct. 14
Sandwich game. The Tar Heels have to face the brutal USF defense in between battles with Virginia Tech and Clemson.

3) Five best ACC pro prospects
1. Clemson DE Gaines Adams, Sr. - 55 tackles, 9.5 sacks, 15 TFL, 9 broken up passes, 29 quarterback pressures
 He should probably be off to the NFL. The starter at the Bandit end plays a little bit of defensive end and a little bit of linebacker with the size at 265 pounds to be a top run stopper and the speed and quickness to be a great pass defender. He does a little of everything very well with a great talent for getting into the backfield on a regular basis. 
2. Georgia Tech WR Calvin Johnson, Jr. - 54 catches, 888 yds, 16.4 ypc, 6 TD
While his numbers slipped after a record-setting freshman season, the 6-4, 235-pound Johnson became a more complete receiver and stopped relying solely on his ridiculous talents to get by. He figured out how to be more physical and use his strength and size more to his advantage and showed better route running ability. Now he has to be an even more polished route runner and do a better job of being open despite being the focus of every defensive gameplan. If he's the be-all-end-all pro prospect he's supposed to be, he has be a 7-10 catch per game receiver no matter what.
3. Miami SS Kenny Phillips. Soph. - 88 tackles, 3 TFL, 1 interception, 4 broken up passes
 He was as good as advertised. One of 2005's top recruits stepped and starred from the start showing off the 4.4 speed to be in on seemingly every play and the smarts of a long-time veteran. He's a good-sized hitter at 6-2 and 200 pounds with moves like a cornerback. 
4. Miami DE Baraka Atkins, Sr. - 50 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 5 TFL, 4 broken up passes, 6 quarterback hurries
Able to be used as a small, quick tackle or a big, run stopping end, the 6-4, 264-pound senior is a versatile player with 35 games of starting experience. Tough as nails, he fought through a knee injury to have a great season. While not a pure pass rusher, he's effective at getting into the backfield on a regular basis with 13 career sacks, 20.5 tackles for loss and 41 quarterback hurries.
5. Miami TE Greg Olsen, Jr. - 31 catches, 451 yds, 14.5 ypc, 4 TD
The sky's the limit for the soon to be first round draft choice. Olsen has it all from fantastic hands to good deep speed to good blocking ability in a 6-5, 252-pound frame. There are few better route runners and few tight ends in college football that can match what he can do in the open field. He'll likely be the team's leading receiver and the number one option on third downs. 

4) Five biggest ACC shoes to fill 
1. Virginia Tech QB Sean Glennon for Marcus Vick
Glennon redshirted last year when it became obvious that Marcus Vick was going to be the main man. At 6-4 and 215 pounds, he's a good-sized passer with decent skills and a good command of the offense. He's not going to run much, if at all, but he should be a more consistent passer than Vick. He saw time in four games completing 8 of 11 passes for 137 yards and two touchdowns, but he’ll have to battle with Cory Holt and Ike Whitaker for the starting gig.
2. Maryland TE Dan Gronkowski for Vernon Davis
The former quarterback is still figuring out how to play tight end. He's 6-6 and 262 pounds with decent hands and emerging blocking skills. He won't be an every down tight end with several options being moved in and out depending on the situation.
3. Virginia OT Eugene Monroe for D'Brickashaw Ferguson
Monroe will get the first shot at trying to replace Ferguson on the left side, but he'll have to return healthy after having problems with a dislocated kneecap this spring. While he's not close to being Ferguson, he's bigger at 6-6 and 318 pounds and should grow into being a decent all-around blocker over the next few years.
4. NC State DE Willie Young for Mario Williams
All Young has to do is replace the number one pick in the 2006 NFL Draft, Mario Williams. While he's not the physical freak of nature that Super Mario is, He's 6-5 and 230 pounds with decent speed and pass rushing skills. He was ready to play last year, but got banged up in spring ball and ended up redshirting. He's not going to put up 14 sacks and 23 tackles for loss, but he'll be a good one.
5. Boston College DE Jim Ramella for Mathias Kiwanuka
Ramella turned into a surprising performer as a true freshman showing good promise on the outside in a reserve role. He's a tall, quick pass rusher who'll have to stake a claim to a spot after missing time this spring recovering from surgery.

5) Five ACC breakout players
1. Florida State SS Myron Rolle, Fr.
Call it an educated projection that Rolle will start the season despite being listed behind Anthony Houllis. One of the nation's top recruits was the talk of spring ball proving to be every bit as good as his prep hype. He's 6-2 and 214 pounds with phenomenal speed that'll get him next-level notice right off the bat. What'll get him the most recognition right away is his huge hitting ability. It's not insane to consider him the team's best pro prospect even though he's a true freshman.
2. Virginia DE Chris Long, Jr. - 46 tackles, 1 sack, 10 TFL, 7 broken up passes, 26 quarterback hurries
Long turned into a top producer on the line with enough quickness to be a presence in the backfield and the strength to be a good tackler against the run. While not a pure pass rusher, the 278-pound junior is good at pressuring the quarterback thanks to a great motor, as evidenced by a brilliant performance against Minnesota in the Music City Bowl. Expect an All-ACC season.
3. Wake Forest Micah Andrews, Jr. - 110 carries, 621 yds, 5.6 ypc, 1 TD, 7 catches, 71 yds
With Chris Barclay out for the 2005 season opener, Andrews showed off what he can do by ripping off 254 yards and a touchdown in the loss to Vanderbilt. He followed it up with a 64-yard day against Nebraska and a 142-yard effort against East Carolina, but then he was pushed out of the spotlight when Barclay got back in the mix and finished his season up with an ankle injury before the Miami game. Now the job is all his and he should shine. He's not as fast as Barclay and doesn't have the same receiving skills, but he's more powerful and should be a workhorse. 
4. Duke NG Vince Oghobaase, RFr.
The star recruit of last season should quickly become one of the defense's best players now that he's back from the knee injury that cost him all of last year when he was supposed to start from day one. At 6-6 and 310 pounds, he's the team's biggest lineman as well as, arguably, the most heralding incoming lineman in the school's history.
5. Clemson NG Jock McKissic, Soph. - 18 tackles
McKissic had a good freshman year growing into a solid anchor on the nose. He's a strong 295 pounds and getting even stronger with room on his 6-6 frame to be a rock-solid 310 pounds. He was a key reserve last season and should be the teams top run stopper as the season goes on.