Preseason All-ACC picks: Offense
As the college football season quickly approaches, it's time to unveil my ACC preseason all-conference picks. ACC player of the year C.J. Spiller is gone, but there's plenty of talented players to pick up the slack. In this installment, we will take a look at my first team All-ACC offense.
Quarterback: Christian Ponder - Florida State
This is a tough call with so many experienced quarterbacks in the league (Harris, Wilson, Nesbitt, Taylor, Parker), but Ponder is arguably the best of the bunch. Assuming he is fully recovered from his encounter with DeAndre McDaniel (still the dumbest decision he ever made), the Seminole senior is poised to put up big numbers with some solid receiving targets returning.
Running back: Ryan Williams - Virginia Tech (pictured)
Talk about making the most of an opportunity. As a redshirt freshman, Williams racked up 1,655 yards and 21 touchdowns after starter Darren Evans suffered a season-ending injury. Evans is back this year and will take some carries away from Williams, but that shouldn't keep Williams from having another great year.
Running back: Montel Harris - Boston College
Never heard of him? Well if you didn't know, now you know. Harris flew under the radar in his sophomore season despite rushing for 1,457 yards and 14 scores. Teams will be aiming to stop him now, but the always solid Boston College offensive line should be able to open the holes yet again this year.
Wide receiver: Leonard Hankerson - Miami
Hankerson's 2009 stats aren't spectacular (45 catches for 801 yards and 6 TDs), but anybody who has seen this guy knows why he is on this list. A physical specimen at 6-foot-3, 215 pounds, Hankerson is a nearly impossible matchup for opposing corners. It doesn't hurt to have Jacory Harris throwing to him either.
Wide receiver: Jarret Boykin - Virginia Tech
The number one target for Hokie quarterback Tyrod Taylor should put up significant numbers in his junior season. Boykin is an impressive athlete with size and playmaking ability. He could easily put up a 1,000 yard/10 touchdown season.
Tight end: Dwayne Allen - Clemson
This is a gut feeling pick. There may be more experienced tight ends in the conference, but Allen's potential in his first year as a starter is sky high. He scored three times for the Tigers in 2009 as a backup and caught a long touchdown pass in the spring game. With Kyle Parker's knack for finding the tight end, Allen should be a big surprise in the ACC this year.
Center: Sean Bedford - Georgia Tech
This senior is the starting point of Paul Johnson's flexbone offense and will help open holes for Josh Nesbitt and Co.
Tackles: Anthony Castonzo - Boston College, Chris Hairston - Clemson
Castonzo may be the best offensive lineman in the country, and the massive Hairston is the anchor of the Tigers offensive line.
Guards: Rodney Hudson - Florida State; Thomas Claiborne - Boston College
Hudson is the reigning ACC Jacobs Blocking Trophy winner, and Claiborne has proven to be yet another great Boston College offensive lineman.
Kicker: Casey Barth - North Carolina
This junior made 21 of 25 field goals last year and went 4-for-4 in back-to-back home wins against Duke and Miami.
Other players to watch out for: Russell Wilson (QB/NC State), Andre Ellington (RB/Clemson), Torrey Smith (WR Maryland), Donovan Varner (WR/Duke), Andrew Datko (OL/Florida State)