Mickey Plyler's Blog for May 31

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ACC Running Back Rankings

The ACC is loaded at running back. I think 10 teams can consider their running back position a strength. Almost every team has depth and talent at this position. There are also a bunch of young backs that are entering the league. With the quarterback position being a question mark for a lot of ACC teams, I look for the RBs to be the focus of a lot of offenses in this league.

1. Clemson

James Davis (5-11, 210, So) 165 carries for 879 yards and nine touchdowns

Reggie Merriweather (5-8, 215, Sr) 149 carries for 715 yards and seven touchdowns

Demerick Chancellor (6-1, 195, Fr)

C.J. Spiller (5-11, 190, Fr)

See my blog from yesterday for complete running back coverage for the Tigers.

2. Florida State

Lorenzo Booker (5-11, 193, Sr) 119 carries for 552 yards and four touchdowns

Antoine Smith (5-9, 188, So) 36 carries for 188 yards and three touchdowns

Jamaal Edwards (6-0, 215, Jr)

Russell Ball (5-7, 175, Fr)

Marcus Sims (6-0, 215, Fr)

Booker was the number-one back in the country out of high school but has not been that productive yet. Smith showed a lot during the spring and could be a great one. Edwards impressed us out of high school but has not had much of a chance yet. FSU has a great stable of backs but has not used them enough. Bowden swears they will have a renewed emphasis in the running game this season.

3. N.C. State

Andre Brown (6-0, 232, So) 129 carries for 667 yards for six touchdowns

Toney Baker (5-10, 228, So) 124 carries for 546 yards and five touchdowns

Jamelle Eugene (5-10, 202, Fr)

Brown and Baker might have been the top freshman tandem in the nation last year. State won five of their last six after they decided to run the football. If they are to improve on last year they have to make more of a commitment to the run.

4. Boston College

L.V. Whitworth (6-0, 220, Jr) 189 carries for 807 yards and five touchdowns

Andre Calender (5-11, 204, Jr) 142 carries for 708 yards and three touchdowns

A.J. Brooks (6-0, 199, So)

Mark Palmer (6-3, 245, Sr.)

Brian Toal

The Eagles are committed to the run. Whitworth and Calender combined for over 1,500 yards and eight scores. They have the luxury of running behind a huge offensive line. Brooks has been injury prone. Toal is a linebacker that is brought in on short yardage situations.

5. Miami

Tyrone Moss 95-9, 220, Sr) 137 carries for 701 yards and 12 touchdowns

Charlie Jones (5-10, 205, Jr) 123 carries for 507 yards and five touchdowns

Andrew Johnson 95-11, 200, Jr)

Derron Thomas (5-9, 190, So) 47 carries for 150 yards

Graig Cooper (5-11, 190, Fr)

Javarris James (6-0, 200, Fr)

The Hurricane teams of the past always had a game-breaker at running back. Moss needs to be healthy to regain his form. Jones is very talented but has been inconsistent. Thomas catches the ball very well. The Canes recruited three very talented freshmen.

6. Virginia Tech

Brandon Ore (5-11, 204, So) 109 carries for 647 yards and six touchdowns

George Bell (5-10, 220, So)

Elan Lewis (5-9, 220, So)

The Hokies are also very committed to the run. They will again be among the leaders in the league in rushing despite losing two of their top three backs. I think Ore is a very special talent. He may be the most talented back in the ACC. Bell came out of high school very highly thought of but has been injured.

7. North Carolina

Ronnie McGill 95-11, 220, Sr) 130 carries for 530 yards and five touchdowns

Barrington Edwards (6-0, 230, Jr) 114 carries for 397 yards and two touchdowns

Justin Warren (6-1, 192, Jr)

Richie Rich (5-9, 190, Fr)

It is hard to believe that McGill is a senior. He has rebounded from injury very well. Edwards came out of high school highly rated but did not make it at LSU and transferred to Chapel Hill. He is a big, powerful back. The Tar Heels would like for this group to lead their team in 2006.

8. Maryland

Josh Allen (5-11, 207, Sr)

Lance Ball (5-9, 225, Jr) 189 carries for 903 yards and six touchdowns

Da’Rel Scott (6-0, 185, Fr)

Allen missed 2005 with a knee injury but he should be full speed this season. Ball filled in very well and is the conference’s leading returning rusher. Scott is the future at this position for the Terps. Maryland has a new offensive coordinator as Head Coach Ralph Friedgen will assume play calling duties. The head coach will call the plays and needs to get his running game back on track.

9. Georgia Tech

Tashard Choice (6-1, 205, Jr) 117 carries for 513 yards and six touchdowns

Rashaun Grant (5-10, 200, Jr)

Jamaal Evans (5-8, 190, Fr)

Tech will miss P.J. Daniels but Choice will not miss Adrian Peterson. Choice had a nice year last season after transferring from Oklahoma. Choice should be the workhorse but Grant is a solid back up. The Jackets felt they found a sleeper in the spring with Evans.

10. Wake Forest

Micah Andrews (5-11, 215, Jr) 110 carries for 621 yards and one touchdown

De’Angelo Bryant (6-0, 245, So) 22 carries for 89 yards and one touchdown

Josh Adams (6-0, 170, Fr)

No one is more committed to the run than Wake Forest. Barclay led the league in rushing last year and Andrews will have a shot to do the same this season. Bryant is a bruiser. Adams was perhaps the top back in North Carolina last season.

11. Virginia

Jason Snellings (5-11, 233, Sr) 58 carries for 325 yards and two touchdowns

Michael Johnson 95-9, 200, Sr)

Cedric Pearman (5-10, 200, So)

Keith Payne (6-3, 195, Fr)

Two years ago Al Groh had Alvin Pearman. Last year he had Wali Lundy. The Cavs have a drop off in power back Jason Snellings. Johnson is a speedster that had a nice freshman campaign but has done little since. I think Payne will have to be a factor.

12. Duke

Justin Boyle (6-1, 225, Jr) 134 carries 458 yards and nine touchdowns

Ronnie Drummer (5-9, 175, Jr) 33 carries for 337 yards and two touchdowns

Re’Quan Boyette (5-10, 190, So)

Actually this is a pretty good group of backs. Boyle is a power guy that scored nine times last season. Drummer is a wide out/slot back that will see time all over the field. Boyette was the highest recruited of the trio.

In summary, defensive coordinators have a bunch of talented backs to prepare for each week in this conference.

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