You can check out all the final results here. Rather than fill a post with endless numbers and 40-yard dash times, we thought it would be fun to give you a glimpse of the combine experience through the players' eyes. Here is a look at selected tweets from ACC players during their time in Indianapolis.
Enjoyed my time in Indy felt a lot of things went well and got some great feedback, gotta keep on climbing and improving thanks for the love— Tajh Boyd (@TajhB10) February 24, 2014
I can't even explain this feeling right now. My feet hurt but I'm glowing right now. So proud of the RB's man. God is good all the time— Andre Williams (@drewill44) February 24, 2014
Blessed with the opportunity to be here http://t.co/xOi87VLoAr— IG:Heartbreak_uno4 (@Heartbreak_mea) February 22, 2014
I would say that was a good day. 4.42 40 yard dash, 38 inch vertical jump and 9 feet 11 inches broad jump ;)— Terrence Brooks (@_Showtime31) February 25, 2014
According to Wallace Matthews of ESPNNewYork.com, Winston broke his bat in half on a foul ball off Shane Greene, the Yankees' third pitcher of the day, and wound up "grounding out weakly to second." In the eighth inning, Winston struck out looking against Bryan Mitchell.
Doesn't matter. Not when you're the Heisman Trophy winner.
All eyes will be on Winston throughout the entire spring, as the top quarterback in the country tries to deliver a second national title to Florida State -- this one in baseball. Winston has said he wants to help the school win its first college baseball championship following 21 appearances in the College World Series. Oh, and of course, he wants to win another one in football, too.
Welcome back to the big leagues, FSU.
TAMPA, Fla. -- In little more than a month, Jameis Winston went from leading the Florida State Seminoles to the BCS National Championship to serving as a fifth-inning defensive replacement in a spring training baseball game against the New York Yankees.
It made no difference to the sparse crowd that turned out at George M. Steinbrenner Field -- just about all of it clad in FSU colors -- who cheered as the Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback jogged out to his position and again as he came to the plate in the top of the sixth with the Yankees leading 5-0.
"It was fun, man, but I think most of them Florida State fans were Yankees fans, they just had on garnet and gold," Winston said.
The crowd went nuts when he broke his bat in half on a foul ball off Shane Greene, the Yankees' third pitcher of the day. Winston wound up grounding out weakly to second. He received another ovation as he jogged back to the dugout.
- It's Bashaud Breeland's turn at the NFL combine.
- Former Georgia Tech defensive back Jemea Thomas got off to a good start in Indy.
- Andy Bitter has the latest on how the Hokies have performed at the NFL combine.
- Aaron Donald and Kareem Martin also had good performances.
- The ACC championship game has found a home in Charlotte.
- Miami has added another recruit to its 2014 class.
- Former Pitt receiver Devin Street didn't do too much to improve his draft stock.
- Syracuse fans could see a new young face at linebacker this fall.
- Jameis Winston vs. ... the Yankees?
We’ve already discussed DT Nile Lawrence-Stample.
Next up: RB Mario Pender
Credentials: An ESPN 150 recruit out of Island Coast High (Cape Coral, Fla.) in 2012, Pender has blazing speed and projected as a big-play threat in the FSU offense. The problem, however, is that two years into his career, he’s yet to see the field. This spring marks Pender’s third in Tallahassee, marking him as something of a veteran in Fisher’s offense, but a groin injury cost him all of the 2012 season and academic issues sidelined him throughout 2013.
How he fits: A year ago, Pender appeared the heir apparent to Chris Thompson as Florida State’s speedy, big-play threat in the backfield, and he showed impressive burst throughout the spring. But his grades became a problem and he was bounced from the team during fall camp, which in turn pushed Fisher to swap Karlos Williams from safety to tailback. That move proved a stroke of genius, but now Williams is atop FSU’s depth chart without a clear second option. Sophomore Ryan Green is the only other tailback with game experience on the roster, meaning Pender -- along with early enrollee Dalvin Cook -- will be in prime position to win a significant share of the carries.
Competition: Williams projects as the clear starter entering spring practice, but Fisher has never relied heavily on just one running back. Throughout his first four seasons as FSU’s coach, his leading rusher has accounted for less than 28 percent of the Seminoles’ total carries. So even if Williams proves to be a bell cow, there could be as many as 350 carries left over for the other running backs on the roster. Cook’s early arrival this spring means Florida State will have three former ESPN 300 players vying for that work behind Williams, which should make for an intriguing competition.
Outlook: While Green and Cook have bright futures regardless of their work this spring, Pender’s situation is a bit more nebulous. He has ample talent, but even while he looked sharp last spring, he struggled with blitz pick-up, blocking and decision making. A season spent on the sidelines certainly didn’t help his development, and if he can’t lock down a significant role in 2014, it’s fair to wonder if Pender will ever make a serious impact for the Seminoles. Still, there’s reason for optimism. Cook is a burgeoning star, but he’s just two months removed from high school. Green showed promise in a small role in 2013, but he exhibits many of the same flaws as Pender did in the spring. That means it’s a legitimately open competition for carries, and of the four tailbacks on the roster -- including Williams -- none have been playing the position for FSU longer than Pender. At worst, he could develop into a nice change-of-pace/third-down back in 2014, and given the turnover at the position, Fisher will be happy to have some options.
TAMPA, Fla. -- The New York Yankees could face a hard-throwing Heisman Trophy winner in their first spring training game Tuesday.
Florida State, with 2013 Heisman winner and closer Jameis Winston, will play the Yankees at Steinbrenner Field.
"I'm looking forward to seeing him," Hall of Fame closer and Yankees spring training instructor Goose Gossage said.
Winston told ESPN that he expects to be nervous against the Yankees, who he said are his "favorite team."
"I think I'm going to be a little starstruck," he said.
Winston led the Seminoles' football team to the 2013 national title with a 14-0 record that was capped on Jan. 6 by a 34-31 victory over Auburn in the BCS National Championship. The 6-foot-4, 230-pound sophomore has allowed one hit over four scoreless innings in three games this season.
"It will be fun to watch," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "Obviously, he's extremely athletic when you watch him play the game of football. He's got a great arm. Pretty mature for his age."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Sticking with Charlotte was its best option.
So it came as no surprise when the league announced a six-year extension to play its title game at Bank of America Stadium through the 2019 season. While it is true there have been attendance issues the last two years, Charlotte has been a much better host than previous destinations Jacksonville, Fla., and Tampa, Fla. In four years in Charlotte, the game has averaged about 70,000 fans and sold out the first two years.
"Our coaches and teams really prefer a neutral site," commissioner John Swofford said during a news conference in Charlotte on Monday. "They feel like that's what best for a championship-caliber game. [Campus sites] got some discussion, but quite frankly the success the game has had in Charlotte in every way over the last four years meant that conversation didn't really grow legs.
"We've been in Jacksonville and Tampa. There's no question that Charlotte has supported this game stronger than any other place that we have been. When you consider the fact that it's in the middle of our footprint, that there are a number of alums from all our schools in this great city, and has a facility of this caliber that is being modernized as we speak, coupled with what goes on in Uptown, where you can stay, you can eat, you can party, you can walk to the game, see the game, and then go back and do the same thing all over again. It's a terrific place, terrific venue. You couple all that with the support we've received from the sports foundation, and it became a pretty easy decision, actually."
The game needed a long-term home, and now it has one in an NFL stadium that is undergoing $75 million in renovations. The next step is making the ACC championship game an annual destination for league fans, not just those with a team in the championship game. Will Webb, executive director of the Charlotte Sports Foundation, said his group has reached out to the corporate community and is also considering a collegiate seat license that would give fans access to the same seat for the ACC championship game, Belk Bowl and potentially neutral-site games being played there, including North Carolina-South Carolina in 2015.
"We want to make this a long-term home and the message is going to be delivered that for that to happen, we've got to have broad support," Webb said. "We can't rest on our laurels and say, 'We've got it.' We have to earn it for the next extension."
The game moved to Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte in 2010. In four years in Charlotte, the game has averaged nearly 70,000 fans, including two sellouts.
"Charlotte has been an outstanding partner and continues to facilitate the growth and success of the game and our many ancillary events that make this weekend a true celebration of ACC football," Swofford said.
The actual dates of the six championship games in the agreement are:
Dec. 6, 2014
Dec. 5, 2015
Dec. 3, 2016
Dec. 2, 2017
Dec. 1, 2018
Dec. 7, 2019
First up: DT Nile Lawrence-Stample
How he fits: With Timmy Jernigan off to the pros where he’s widely expected to be a first round selection, Florida State has a major vacancy in the middle of the line. While there are a handful of solid candidates for the gig, none has more experience than Lawrence-Stample, and while his combination of size and athleticism might not rival Jernigan, Lawrence-Stample has plenty of talent to work with.
Competition: Redshirt sophomore Justin Shanks, redshirt freshman Keith Bryant and oft-injured junior Derrick Mitchell will be Lawrence-Stample’s main competition this spring, but none has any significant on-field experience, which could allow the veteran to pull well ahead on the depth chart. In the fall, however, a new push will come from a group of five incoming defensive tackles, led by Demarcus Christmas and Derrick Nnadi.
Outlook: There’s a lot to like about Lawrence-Stample, from his strong recruiting pedigree (he was an ESPN 150 player in 2011) to his work ethic in practice. Coaches raved about his progress last spring when he wrapped things up with four sacks and nine tackles in the Garnet & Gold game. But all that practice field success didn’t translate into a big 2013 season. Expect Lawrence-Stample again to be a hot name this spring as he works to secure a full-time starting job, but questions will linger on whether he can translate those performances to game days in the fall. Replacing Jernigan is one of the biggest concerns for Florida State in 2014, and Lawrence-Stample’s play this spring could help make it an easier transition.
Charlotte's Bank of America Stadium signed a six-year extension to host the ACC championship through 2019.
Charlotte has hosted the conference title game since 2010.
In four years in Charlotte, the game has averaged nearly 70,000 fans, including two sellouts. The ACC's title-game average attendance is second only to the SEC's.
ACC commissioner John Swofford made the announcement at a news conference Monday at Bank of America Stadium, home of the Carolina Panthers, calling it "an easy decision."
"There is no question that Charlotte has supported this game more than any place we've been," Swofford said.
Swofford said Charlotte has provided a great footprint for the game because of its centralized location and because of the Panthers' facility, which is considered one of the NFL's top venues and is undergoing a $112.4 million renovation.
"We have a facility of this caliber that is being modernized," Swofford said. "You can stay and eat, party and walk to the game, and then go back and do it all over again. Couple that with the support we have received and it became a pretty easy decision."
The six-year deal coincides with the extension of the Belk Bowl, the annual game played in late December in Charlotte that also has a deal running through the 2019 season.
Charlotte Sports Foundation executive director Will Webb said he's pleased with the six-year agreement and wants to keep the game in Charlotte longer.
"There won't be a better venue for a conference to play a championship than here in Charlotte," Webb said.
Webb said the Charlotte Sports Foundation is considering selling "collegiate seat licenses," which would allow fans to purchase tickets to both games.
Swofford said the conference only briefly considered playing the game at the home site of the conference's top team.
Ronny in Edgemoor, SC writes: Hi Heather, Enjoyed and agree with your article, It is time for the divisions to change. As a fan, it makes no sense to (keep) the divisions as they are. A more logical North-South format would be better and allow more fans to travel to away games because more would be more local or regional games, (than) if we are stuck in the traditional divisional format. The blue collar worker is earning less money today, yet costs keep rising. Cutting travel miles would help with ticket sales. It is sad to see so many empty seats on the TV screens at ACC stadiums.
Michael in Atlanta, GA writes: Heather, Saw your article on competitive balance. I love the idea of some flexibility on scheduling and championship games, but if they keep the current divisions I don't think there's actually an long-term advantage to making changes. If we pretend Syracuse, Pitt, and Louisville had been in the ACC in their current divisional homes, we can do some quick number-crunching. Over the last three years, the average Atlantic division team won 7.8 games, and the average division champ won 12.0. The Coastal compares at 6.9 and 9.7. Hence the perception of being weaker. But over the previous three years, the Coastal's average was 7.4 with a champ at 10.7, while the Atlantic was 6.6 and 9.3. Almost the reverse situation. So sure, we could re-arrange divisions to make things more balanced ... but are we going to do it again every 2-4 years? Or every time one division has two top-ten teams? Sure, Clemson and FSU look the best now, but VT and Miami have been there before. Just set it up where each team has 3 teams they play every year, plus 5 others one year, the other 5 the next. Everyone plays everyone home and away every four years, all legitimate natural rivalries are preserved (no team can really claim more than 3 rivals), and the schedule may not be perfectly balanced but it'll be less random than it is now.
Gregory Breitenbeck in Boone, NC writes: Heather, I wanted to express my thoughts to you and your readers but I don't have a Facebook account (and don't want one). Many of your readers are spot on that relative strength in the ACC will wax and wane. Realignment should focus on improving the product delivered to the schools supporters. Accordingly, I suggest the following: Atlantic Division -- Florida State, Georgia Tech, Clemson, North Carolina, NC State, Duke, Wake Forest. Coastal Division -- Miami, Virginia Tech, Boston College, Syracuse, Pittsburgh, Louisville, Virginia. If we expand to include Notre Dame and another northern school such as Navy, put those schools in the Coastal and move Virginia back to where it belongs in the Atlantic. I'd appreciate your getting these thoughts into a future column.
Dave in Baltimore, MD writes: I know people love to talk about re-aligning divisions, but you can't re-align them every time one division gets hot. When divisions first started I would argue that the Coastal was much stronger with FSU and Clemson both being down at the time. With a slight drop off of Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech, and Miami and UNC never quite getting to the top, the Atlantic is now the stronger division with the resurgence of FSU and Clemson. I think you're also making a lot of assumptions based on end of season rankings that the Atlantic will have three top 15 teams. Key losses and rising stars can have a major impact on a team’s performance from year to year and I definitely think Louisville and Clemson have some spots to fill, as I'm sure FSU will lose some key players to the draft also. I think there are too many variables year to year to just re-align divisions every time a team gets hot. I can see the argument that maybe Louisville should have been put into the Coastal division when they joined the league, but it’s too late for that now as the league schedule has already been set. I would also argue what is even the point of having divisions if it is just going to be the top two teams in the BCS playing in the title game? But that may be an argument for another day ...
- John Swofford has quietly made the ACC into a powerhouse league, writes Yahoo.
- Athlon counts down the 10 best ACC linebackers from the BCS era.
- Louisville’s Lorenzo Mauldin is excited about his new role as a stand-up rusher in Bobby Petrino’s 3-4 defense, writes the Louisville Courier-Journal.
- Syracuse has a new tight ends coach, writes The Post-Standard.
- But the Orange lost a punter, writes the Troy Nunes blog.
- Florida State has plenty of representatives at the NFL combine, writes the Tallahassee Democrat.
- A hamstring injury forced Georgia Tech’s Jeremiah Attaochu out of the NFL combine, writes the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
- Versatility might be a good selling point as former Clemson lineman Brandon Thomas embarks on his NFL career, writes The Post and Courier.
- Former Clemson coach Tommy Bowden says the PAT could use a makeover, writes The State.
- NC State projects to be around the middle of the pack nationally in 2014, writes Backing the Pack.
- A once-prized quarterback recruit will be lining up at tight end for Virginia Tech in 2014, writes The Virginian-Pilot.
- A former Virginia Tech running back is in trouble with the law, writes The Roanoke Times.
Some seasons, like 2011, Florida State relied heavily on the new recruits. Others, like 2012, only a select few saw routine playing time.
This week, we dig into the Class of 2014 to project which of the newest group of Seminoles project to make an instant impact on the field this season.
We’ve already looked at DT Demarcus Christmas, RB Dalvin Cook, DB Trey Marshall and FSU’s wide receivers.
Last up: LB Kain Daub
The need: After three years of relative consistency at the position, Florida State’s linebacker corps is getting a nearly complete makeover in 2014. Gone are seniors Telvin Smith and Christian Jones, leaving only junior Terrance Smith with starting experience among the group. Last year’s position coach, Charles Kelly, is also moving to the secondary as he takes over as coordinator this year, and FSU has yet to officially announce his replacement. Fisher suggested Kelly will stick with a defensive scheme similar to the one Jeremy Pruitt ran in 2013, but that’s certainly not set in stone either -- meaning the amount of time FSU spends in a 3-4 vs. a 4-3 look isn’t entirely settled either.
The competition: There are a lot of job openings among the linebackers, but there’s also some stiff competition. It’s a deep group, despite being short on experience. Among the inside LBs, Reggie Northrup is the most experienced, having gained valuable reps in reserve duty in each of the past two seasons. E.J. Levenberry impressed as a true freshman in 2013, too. Among the outside linebackers/edge rushers, Ukeme Eligwe and Matthew Thomas both figure to push for playing time this spring. When fall camp opens, two more members of a talented signing class -- Jacob Pugh and Delvin Purifoy -- join the mix as well.
The prediction: Daub has a lot going for him in the battle for playing time at linebacker. His versatility as either an inside or outside LB provides FSU’s coaches with options. His arrival in time for spring practice gives him a chance to settle into the scheme. But more than anything, his pure talent should make him a player worth watching. Attrition sapped a lot of veteran talent from the linebacking corps for several years, but Florida State’s past two recruiting classes have restocked the coffers, meaning the competition will be stiff for Daub. But his lack of experience won’t be held against him, and his ability to contribute in several areas -- including on special teams -- puts him in good position to see the field routinely, even if a starting job isn’t in the cards.
How does the Atlantic Division compare to the SEC West?
"It compares, the style of play and the speed of the game, the talent of the defensive front, it’s very comparable and very, very competitive," Petrino said in a recent interview. "Particularly when you see what Florida State did in the national championship game, the style of play they play, and the players they have, that’s what you strive to get, to be able to match that type of speed and talent."
Petrino gets his first taste of the Atlantic when the Cards begin conference play later this year. Florida State and Clemson clearly make the Atlantic the best division in the ACC. Alabama, Auburn and LSU clearly make the SEC West the best division in the SEC. Going back to the 2011 BCS games, seven of the eight SEC representatives came from the SEC West. That includes Arkansas in the 2011 Sugar Bowl when Petrino was still the Razorbacks' head coach. In the SEC's seven-game national championship streak, three different SEC West teams won the crown.
While the SEC West is deeper top to bottom than the Atlantic, Florida State and Clemson have held their own against major competition of late. Not only did the Seminoles beat Florida and Auburn last season, Clemson beat Georgia and Ohio State. They each have two BCS appearances in the last three seasons. Florida State has a national championship. In Petrino's last three seasons at Arkansas, the national champion came from the SEC West.
Petrino ended up with 10 or more wins his last two seasons with the Razorbacks and 6-2 marks in the conference, but he could never quite figure out how to beat Alabama, going 0-4 during his four-year tenure there. If Florida State is emerging as a power the way Alabama has, then Louisville will have its work cut out for it. But here is one key difference -- Louisville is in much better shape today than Arkansas was when Petrino took over that program for the 2008 season.
The Cards are a top-15 program. The big unknown is whether they still will be in a tougher conference. And Florida State is the measuring stick. When asked how far away the Cards are from Noles, Petrino said, "We're about to find out."
Five Programs Expecting 2014 Boost
Final Washington State 45 Colorado State 48 Final 20 Fresno State 20 25 USC 45 Final Buffalo 24 San Diego State 49 Final Tulane 21 Louisiana-Lafayette 24
Final Pittsburgh 30 Bowling Green 27 Final Utah State 21 23 Northern Illinois 14
Final Marshall 31 Maryland 20 Final Syracuse 21 Minnesota 17 Final Brigham Young 16 Washington 31
Final Rutgers 16 Notre Dame 29 Final Cincinnati 17 North Carolina 39 Final Miami (FL) 9 18 Louisville 36 Final Michigan 14 Kansas State 31
Final Middle Tennessee 6 Navy 24 Final Ole Miss 25 Georgia Tech 17 Final 10 Oregon 30 Texas 7 Final 14 Arizona State 23 Texas Tech 37
Final Arizona 42 Boston College 19 Final Virginia Tech 12 17 UCLA 42 Final Rice 7 Mississippi State 44 Final 24 Duke 48 21 Texas A&M 52
Final Nebraska 24 22 Georgia 19 Final UNLV 14 North Texas 36 Final Iowa 14 16 LSU 21 Final 19 Wisconsin 24 9 South Carolina 34 Final 5 Stanford 20 4 Michigan State 24 Final 15 UCF 52 6 Baylor 42
Final 13 Oklahoma State 31 8 Missouri 41 Final 12 Clemson 40 7 Ohio State 35