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2008 ACC Preview - Unit Rankings
Georgia Tech DT Vance Walker
Georgia Tech DT Vance Walker
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Aug 6, 2008


2008 CFN Preview - ACC Unit Rankings from top to bottom

2008 CFN ACC Preview

Unit Rankings

Team Previews & Predictions
Atlantic
Boston Coll | Clemson | Florida St | Maryland | NC State | Wake Forest
Coastal Duke | Georgia Tech | Miami | North Carolina | Virginia | Virginia Tech

- 2008 CFN ACC Preview
- CFN All-ACC Team & Top 30 Players

- ACC Team-by-Team Capsules

- ACC Schedules & Predictions

Offenses
1. Clemson
The All-ACC trio of QB Cullen Harper, RB James Davis, and WR Aaron Kelly resisted the temptation of testing NFL waters, giving Clemson the key parts of one of the league’s top offenses. Add in Davis’ dynamic running mate, C.J. Spiller, and the Tigers have the ingredients to be balanced and downright combustible. The key to the success, however, lies with an offensive line that’ll be breaking in three new starters, including both tackles. Chris Hairston and Cory Lambert are being counted on to win the tackle jobs on a front wall that could dictate whether or not the Tigers reach their goals this season.

2. Virginia Tech
3. Boston College
4. Florida State
5. Virginia
6. Miami
7. Maryland
8. Wake Forest
9. North Carolina
10. Georgia Tech
11. NC State
12. Duke

Quarterbacks  
1. Clemson
In under a year Clemson has turned a blinking question mark into an ideal situation. In Cullen Harper, the Tigers now have a steady veteran with a future in the pros. In Willy Korn, they’ve got a brilliant young talent who can use the next five months as a stepping stone before taking over the job in 2009.

2. Virginia Tech
3. Boston College
4. Florida State
5. Wake Forest
6. Duke
7. North Carolina
8. Miami
9. Virginia
10. Maryland
11. Georgia Tech
12. NC State


Running Backs
1. Clemson
As long as the Clemson coaching staff can keep both stars happy and well-fed, James Davis and C.J. Spiller will again be the catalysts of one of the most balanced offenses in America. Anticipating that the backfield could be cleaned out by next spring, the Tigers will look for spots to get true freshmen Jamie Harper and Andre Ellington acclimated to the speed of the game.

2. Miami
3. Virginia
4. Florida State
5. Wake Forest
6. Georgia Tech
7. NC State
8. Maryland
9. Virginia Tech
10. North Carolina
11. Boston College
12. Duke

Receivers
1. Florida State
As long as the quarterback does his job, the Seminoles have the makings of one of the ACC’s best receiving corps. Once Preston Parker and Greg Carr get back on the field together, they’ll form a dangerous pair, and freshmen Bert Reed and Taiwan Easterling are oozing with potential.

2. Clemson
3. North Carolina
4. Boston College
5. Maryland
6. Virginia
7. Miami
8. NC State
9. Virginia Tech
10. Duke
11. Georgia Tech
12. Wake Forest

Offensive Line
1. Virginia Tech
Things can’t possibly get worse than last year, especially with Sergio Render and Ed Wang about to come into their own as two of the ACC’s up-and-coming linemen. If the offensive line is going to do its part to help jump start a suspect offense, it needs to give the quarterbacks more time. It will. Expect a night-and-day difference.

2. Boston College
3. Virginia
4. Miami
5. Wake Forest
6. Maryland
7. Georgia Tech
8. Florida State
9. North Carolina
10. NC State
11. Clemson
12. Duke

Defenses
1. Boston College
Matt
Ryan got most of the pub last fall, but the defense was the backbone of a program that often had trouble putting points on the board.  Even without LB Brian Toal and DT B.J. Raji, Boston College finished second nationally in run defense and No. 19 in total D, despite beginning the season without any true stars. The cornerstones of this year’s crew will be DE Alex Albright, DT Ron Brace, and LB Mark Herzlich, who’ll help form a sturdy front wall that’ll again be tough to run on. The pass defense, however, will be easier for opponents to navigate. Fiery S Jamie Silva and top CB DeJuan Tribble are gone, putting pressure on Marcellus Bowman and DeLeon Gause, respectively, to bridge the gap.       

2. Clemson
3. Florida State
4. Georgia Tech
5. Virginia Tech
6. Wake Forest
7. North Carolina
8. Maryland
9. Virginia
10. Miami
11. NC State
12. Duke

Defensive Lines
1. Georgia Tech
Even after losing Darrell Robertson and  Adamm Oliver, Georgia Tech will boast one of the most talented defensive lines in the ACC, if not the country. The unit needs to be every bit as good as expected in order to take some pressure off a fledgling back seven. The evolution of Michael Johnson into one of the game’s elite pass rushers is a storyline that will be one of the highlights of the ACC season, while Vance Walker is a special tackle to build a defense around. 

2. Clemson
3. Boston College
4. Florida State
5. Virginia Tech
6. NC State
7. Miami
8. North Carolina
9. Duke
10. Virginia
11. Wake Forest
12. Maryland

Linebackers
1. Boston College
Brian Toal is the key in 2008. This is a quality unit no matter what he gives the defense, but if he’s completely healthy, Boston College will be home to one of the dozen or so best linebacker corps in the country. Even after losing Jolonn Dunbar to the New Orleans Saints, the Eagles are well-stocked and go two-deep with players capable of stepping into the lineup and making plays.

2. Virginia
3. Wake Forest
4. Florida State
5. Miami
6. Maryland
7. Georgia Tech
8. Virginia Tech
9. North Carolina
10. Clemson
11. Duke
12. NC State

Defensive Backs
1. Clemson
For the second consecutive year, Clemson will be home to some of the best secondary talent in the ACC, combining outstanding athleticism with intimidating hitters. If, as expected, the Tigers are generating pressure up front, it’ll be next to impossible to navigate past this group.

2.
Wake Forest
3. Florida State
4. Virginia Tech
5. Maryland
6. North Carolina
7. Boston College
8. Virginia
9. Miami
10. Georgia Tech
11. NC State
12. Duke

Special Teams
1. Virginia Tech
Eddie Royal and Jud Dunlevy leave behind big holes, but this is still Virginia Tech, where special emphasis and extra time is always dedicated to special teams. The Hokies always do the little things well, such as covering kicks and blocking punts, which aren’t always easy to locate on a stat sheet.

2. Wake Forest
3. Clemson
4. North Carolina
5. Florida State
6. Maryland
7. Georgia Tech
8. Miami
9. Virginia
10. NC State
11. Boston College
12. Duke