Mickey Plyler's Blog for June 27

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ACC Offensive Line Rankings

1. Clemson-See Monday’s (6/26) blog for in-depth look at Clemson’s OL.

2. Maryland-The Terps have two of the best tackles in the league. Heyer missed last season but is considered a top NFL prospect. Gaither is a huge prospect that played well as a true freshman. Crummey is one of the top guards in the league. Woods started as a freshman at the other guard. This group was good before Heyer came back but now is very good.

3. Boston College-The Eagles lost two All-ACC caliber linemen from last season but return three starters and usually are very deep and talented along their front. Marten might move from guard to tackle but he is still the most talented from this group. Cherilos is a typical BC tackle, which is a compliment. Beekman returns at guard and is considered among the best in the league. They must find two new starters but there is depth in Chestnut Hill.

4. Wake Forest-The Deacs return four starters including Vallos and Justice, two of the top linemen in the ACC. Some question their blocking tactics but no one can question their toughness. This group comes off of the football and should be one of the tops in the ACC again this season. They also red-shirted a big group last year and could be much deeper this season.

5. Virginia Tech-The Hokies usually have one of the top offensive lines in the country despite not having highly rated recruiting classes or NFL draft picks. Stinesping does as great job as the OL coach and OC here. Brown moved to the offensive line in August last season and impressed. McGrath is solid at center. Fry has Clemson ties and played well in the bowl game. This group lacks experience but is usually hard-nosed and physical.

6. Miami-The Cane offensive line had huge build up last season but really under achieved. They lose four of those starters and only return Wollschlager at center. Bain, Youngblood and Morse were highly recruited but it is time to see some production from this group.

7. Georgia Tech-This group did not play all that well last season but it returns four starters from a year ago and should improve with the experience. Gardner is the most talented as he impressed as a freshman. Wrotto moves to offense after starting on defense.

8. Florida State-The group suffered injuries and had no depth last year. In fact it was the worst group of FSU linemen I have seen. They have moved their tackles to guards and hope JUCO Shannon Boatman can take over at one tackle spot. The Seminoles signed six offensive linemen in February. This group should improve with the experience but they could not have been much worse. They lack toughness and did not compete often last year.

9. Virginia-The Cavs lose D’Brickshaw Ferguson, a first round pick, and two other starters from last season. They also lost their offensive coordinator and offensive line coach, Ron Prince, who left to become the head coach at Kansas State. Monroe is a highly touted tackle that will take over from Ferguson at left tackle. Cunningham moves to center. Lipsey and Albert are solid but not spectacular.

10. North Carolina-The Tar Heels have concerns along their offensive front after losing three starters from an average group from last season. Chacos is by far the most talented and experienced. He is a rare sixth year player. Lemming missed most of last year but returns at center. Gray is considered by some coaches as one of the most underrated guards in the ACC.

11. N.C. State-The Wolfpack have had to patchwork their offensive line together in recent years. Injuries and a lack of depth have hurt here. The 2006 season will have two returning starters including one of the league’s top centers in Harris. Crouch played as a true freshman and returns at right guard. The Pack ran the football more effectively late last year and will count on this OL to do more in 06.

12. Duke-I have been high on Duke’s quarterback and wide receivers thus far in my previews (well, I have been at least by Duke’s standards). However, the offensive line is a complete overhaul. Rumsey is the only returning starter. This is the weakness of the Blue Devils offense.

In summary, Clemson and Maryland are the top two offensive lines in the ACC but Boston College and Wake Forest should feel pretty good about their fronts. Miami and FSU have highly touted players but have not produced up front in recent years. There are not a lot of high NFL prospects along the offensive line this season in the league but there are a few teams like the Tigers, Terps, BC, WF and GT that have experienced groups that have worked together.

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