ACC's lunchtime links

April, 9, 2014
Apr 9
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What a year for UConn hoops.

High school to honor Jameis Winston

April, 9, 2014
Apr 9
11:10
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[+] EnlargeJameis Winston
AP Photo/David J. PhillipFSU quarterback Jameis Winston will have his No. 8 jersey retired by Hueytown (Ala.) High School this summer.

Florida State Seminoles quarterback Jameis Winston, less than two years removed from finishing his senior year, will have his No. 8 jersey retired by Hueytown (Ala.) High School this summer, according to a report.

Winston graduated in 2012, red-shirted at FSU that fall and has since led the Seminoles to the national championship while winning the Heisman Trophy.

Hueytown coach Mark Stephens told AL.com that the school would retire Winston's jersey this summer so there would be no conflicts with his football or baseball schedules at FSU. Winston also is a pitcher and an outfielder for the Seminoles.

"Him playing football and baseball makes it tough," Stephens said. "I spoke with that gentleman a little over a month ago and he said that Jameis has had one weekend off since football started last fall. But we're going to get it done."


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Projected Preseason AP Top 25 ESPN Insider Phil Steele joins Toni Collins to discuss his take on what he thinks the AP Preseason Top 25 will look like for the 2014 college football season.
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Fifth-year senior Cameron Erving walked off the practice field Saturday after one of the most interesting practices of his career. For those attending the afternoon practice, it was a bizarre sight watching Erving orchestrate the offensive line considering Florida State’s All-ACC left tackle is still only in his third year playing the position, and not once in his life had he previously snapped the ball. Erving, a potential first-round pick in 2015, would be the NFL’s tallest starting center at 6-foot-6.

[+] EnlargeJimbo Fisher
Kim Klement/USA TODAY SportsJimbo Fisher moves players to other positions in part to make them better.
The odds that Seminoles coach Jimbo Fisher would move his best offensive lineman out of one of football’s premium positions to play center are slim. It is the spring, and nearly the end of it, and Fisher said he is prepping for a worst-case scenario in which injuries force him to reshuffle his offensive line, which returns five players with starting experience.

"Center is like quarterback,” Fisher said. “You can move guards, tackles, receivers. Centers and quarterbacks, that's a learned profession and you have to have as many as you can. … We’re just doing things to develop backups and get other guys snaps.”

Through the spring, Fisher has mixed and matched his offensive line so his five starters have at least an elementary knowledge of playing more than one position on the line. It’s not limited to just the maulers up front either, as Fisher routinely cross-trains his linebackers and defensive backs.

Jalen Ramsey could play three positions in the secondary this fall. The same goes for defensive back Nate Andrews. Several Seminoles linebackers are receiving work at multiple positions.

Cross-training his players is not simply Fisher guarding against a series of injuries that would cause him to revamp his offensive line or back seven on defense. Fisher contends it makes a player better at his starting position. The constant formation and personnel changes opponents present necessitates a comprehensive awareness of the entire unit.

Redshirt sophomore Ukeme Eligwe is campaigning for a starting position this spring. He played in 13 games last season, mostly out of position at outside linebacker. A natural inside linebacker, he was uncomfortable and out of his element flanked to either side of the defense. But this spring he is once again playing inside linebacker and is doing so with a better appreciation and understanding of playing in the middle.

“Whatever the call is I know exactly what the outside man is doing and that makes it easier for me to know ‘I don’t have to go over here because he has the flats, and I can drop,’ so I’m glad I moved to the outside last year,” Eligwe said. “Now it’s a little easier. I know the defense a lot more.”

The 15 practices permitted during the spring are the optimal time for Fisher to explore. Coaches have a limited amount of hours of on-field practice time during the fall. Fisher said the hope is he can build a strong enough base in the spring that if and when a player is called upon in a meaningful situation, he can reach back into his library to bring forth the information he filed away five months earlier.

“It’s demanding on them because they have to learn quickly in a short amount of time, but in the long run it’s going to help. Right now you got to cram as much information as you can,” Fisher said. “If you’re familiar with something, it makes it easy to learn it once the package comes out.”

It would be na´ve to believe Fisher is not cramming that same information for his own use. He is interested to see how Ramsey works at nickelback or how Erving responds at center and whether it might give Florida State the best chance to win. The spring is meant for tinkering, but it also gives Fisher an opportunity to appraise his roster and formulate a way to get the best 11 players on the field.

“You don’t know a guy can do this [at a different position] and you can mix and match to get the best personnel on the field in different packages,” Fisher said. “… You’re always looking for that.”

ACC's lunchtime links

April, 8, 2014
Apr 8
12:00
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First prediction I've gotten right all tourney.
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Torrential downpours pelted the roof of the Albert J. Dunlap facility on Monday, but Jimbo Fisher’s ears were not in tune to the rain. The only thunder the Seminoles coach wanted to hear was when linebacker meets running back at the goal line.

One week removed from a scrimmage in which he dubbed his team “lazy,” Fisher beamed following Monday’s scrimmage when discussing the Noles’ toughness.

"Much more intensity, more physical, more plays being made. For instance, a guy was covered tight, made a great throw and catch. A guy gets out in the open field, some guy comes flashing out and makes a play,” he said. “Still have to get better, but it was a very physical, good scrimmage."

The message was sent last week that Florida State would not rest on its laurels from 2013. Fisher was laconic after the Noles’ first spring scrimmage, and the few words he had for his team gravitated around the term “average.” He needed to see a renewed toughness in a team that has all the tools to land a place in the inaugural college football playoff. And if the Noles were not going to show that grit, then Fisher felt he might as well be the one to bring it out of them.

The end of practices would be goal-line drills, often the ultimate test of a team’s bravado. It’s the 11 best on offense and 11 best on defense, scrapping for each and every yard. Linebacker Ukeme Eligwe said Fisher told his team he’s going to find out how many of his players are equipped to play for the Noles.

“There was some pops today,” Fisher said.

Sophomore defensive back Jalen Ramsey prides himself on his physicality, and he said the secondary on Monday laid some big hits on the young, inexperienced receivers. Ramsey was impressed to see the receivers -- all but two weighing less than 200 pounds -- get up and jog back to the huddle each time, though.

“Was a lot better intensity out there, a lot better toughness showed by everybody,” Ramsey said. “… Coach told us to step it up, toughen it up, have more competition out there so we really worked on that in practice last week and wanted to show it [Monday] in the scrimmage.”

Florida State is far from a complete team -- injuries and departures have created concerns -- but the attitude the coaching staff is looking for is taking shape.

Asked if this Monday scrimmage looked like a Florida State practice, Fisher once again was short. Except this time, however, he was considerably more affable.

“Yes,” Fisher responded. “Much more that way.”
Old Seminole Head or new one, Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher is not choosing sides.

Fisher was asked his thoughts on the new logo, which will be officially released April 11, following Monday's practice.

"It’s still our Seminole Head. It’s a beautiful head," he said. "It doesn’t change Florida State, what our values are, what our systems are. I don’t see the issue with it."

It was reported last week Florida State planned to change its logo. There were rumors the Seminole Tribe of Florida asked the university to alter the Seminole logo, but both the Tribe and Florida State told ESPN.com that it was a university decision. In a statement released last week, Florida State said the alterations began almost two years ago and the Tribe, student-athletes, coaches, boosters and administration were all consulted. The university had issues reproducing some of the details in the original Seminole logo and asked Nike to help produce a logo that can be achieved on a consistent basis.

That set off a faction of the Florida State fan base, which took to social media to voice its displeasure. The athletic department's official Twitter responded to the negative feedback by telling its followers they can offer their opinions to the school in an email.

"Did I like the old one? Yes. Do I like the new one? Yes. It’s our logo and not drastically that much different," Fisher said. "To me, I haven’t been there that long, but I’ve been a Florida State fan, too, and I don’t think it’s that big of a deal. If the Seminole Tribe is fine with things and they like that, to me, that’s great. But it still doesn’t change our traditions, our values and what we are."

Noles quarterback Jameis Winston is also a fan of the new logo. He offered his thoughts in a tweet.

ACC's lunch links

April, 7, 2014
Apr 7
12:00
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I'll go with UConn tonight. You?
For the second straight recruiting class, more than 100 players from junior colleges signed with schools from the power five conferences. And for the second straight class, Florida State contributed to that number.

Of course, that’s nothing new for Seminoles coach Jimbo Fisher. He has signed a junior college player every recruiting cycle since he was named coach in 2010, and that will be extended again in 2015.

[+] EnlargeJimbo Fisher
Melina Vastola/USA TODAY SportsFSU coach Jimbo Fisher has had success with junior college prospects.
A decade ago, some programs were unwilling to recruit junior college players. (One assistant coach told ESPN that his head coach once characterized junior college players as “nothing but thugs, criminals and dummies.”) But recruiting junior college players is a must for nearly every FBS program now.

“Those guys are making an impact,” Fisher said, “… and we’ve had some pretty good success with our guys here lately.”

That’s a slight understatement from Fisher. Former Noles Menelik Watson and Cornellius Carradine were both second-round selections in the 2013 NFL draft, and Fisher could have another player from the juco ranks taken high in the draft in the coming years. Last week, Fisher said Kareem Are, who enrolled in January out of Fort Scott (Kan.) Community College, is the surprise of spring practice.

Are has only participated in half of Florida State’s practices, but he has seen significant time with the first-team offense at left guard as the Noles battle some injuries and experiment with varying lineups along the offensive line. Senior Cameron Erving has been alongside Are for much of those drills working at left tackle and even some center. Erving said there is a different level of maturity with Are and junior college players in general.

“For the most part the guys we’ve had here that transferred from juco, they’ve come with a different focus,” Erving said. “They were hungry and always felt like they had something to prove. Those guys have always played hard from what I’ve seen, seeing Menelik, seeing Kareem come from juco, seeing guys like [senior Desmond Hollin].

Troy Morrell has coached Butler (Kan.) Community College to three national championships in his 15 seasons as coach. He said junior college recruits are better prepared physically and academically than they were even just a few years ago. Watson declared for the NFL after just one season at Florida State. Coaches are constantly looking for ways to improve their team, and the junior college ranks have a number of able bodies that can contribute immediately.

“They’re going to maybe be more prepared in the classroom. That gives the schools a little more freedom to be able to recruit a junior college kid that maybe they haven’t been able to before,” Morrell said.

“And there’s a tremendous amount of pressure for those big schools to win.”

Reviewing the ACC pro days

April, 4, 2014
Apr 4
2:30
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Pro days are now in the rearview mirror, with a month remaining between now and the NFL draft. With that, let's take a look back at some notable performances from ACC pro days this year.

Boston College (March 12)
Big name: RB Andre Williams. Representatives from 29 NFL teams were on hand to see the nation's top running back from last season. Williams says he improved on his combine 40-yard-dash time of 4.56. Also of note: Nate Freese, who went 20 of 20 last season on field goal tries, did not disappoint in front of his future employers, hitting a 60-yard try.

[+] EnlargeSammy Watkins
AP Photo/Michael ConroyClemson WR Sammy Watkins in all likelihood will be the first ACC player drafted in May.
Clemson (March 6)
Big name: WR Sammy Watkins. Watkins stood on his 40 time of 4.43 from the combine but was there to help out quarterback Tajh Boyd, doing little to change the general consensus that he is the top receiver in this year's draft. Boyd said scouts told him his performance was much better than his showings at the combine and Senior Bowl, as he connected on short, intermediate and deep routes with familiar receivers in familiar environs.

Duke (March 26)
Big name: CB Ross Cockrell. Cockrell improved on his combine results, with Duke saying that his 40 time was sub-4.4, which is better than what he ran in Indianapolis (4.56).

Florida State (March 17)
Big name: Where to begin? DL Timmy Jernigan slightly improved his combine 40-time from 5.06 to 5.03. S Terrence Brooks, LB Telvin Smith, DB Lamarcus Joyner and LB Christian Jones all drew a crowd, but they declined to run the 40 in front of reps from all 32 NFL teams, content to sit on their combine performances.

Georgia Tech (March 28)
Big name: LB Jeremiah Attaochu. Attaochu ran drills at both linebacker and defensive lineman, recovering nicely from a hamstring injury in the Senior Bowl that forced him out of the combine. He said his 40 time was in the 4.5s. DB Jemea Thomas also impressed, reportedly running a 4.38 40.

Louisville (March 17)
Big name: QB Teddy Bridgewater. With scouts from 29 teams watching, Bridgewater was off target with several of his throws. He ran an unofficial 4.78 40 time, but the potential No. 1 pick misfired on at least 10 passes, leaving some questions lingering heading into the draft.

Miami (April 3)
Big name: OT Seantrel Henderson. This is the name that is going to stick out, as Henderson did not finish his workouts. His agent later told reporters that it was due to dehydration. With 30 NFL teams represented, quarterback Stephen Morris took a strong step forward, reportedly completed almost all of his 67 throws.

North Carolina (March 25)
Big name: TE Eric Ebron. Ebron stood on his 40 time from the combine of 4.60, but his pro day was marred by several dropped passes, though the always upbeat tight end was not stressed about the drops when speaking to reporters afterward.

NC State (March 25)
Big name: CB Dontae Johnson. Johnson showed his versatility, as he can play corner or safety, and he said he felt better than he did at the combine, where he ran a 40 time of 4.45 and jumped 38.5 inches in the vertical.

Pittsburgh (March 3)
Big name: DT Aaron Donald. College football's best defensive player rested on his combine numbers in the 40 (4.68) and bench press (35 times), but teammates Tom Savage and Devin Street helped themselves. Savage impressed during a scripted 100-throw workout while Street said he ran a sub-4.5 40.

Syracuse
Big name: LB Marquis Spruill. Spruill recovered nicely from a combine snub, weighing in at 231 pounds, nine pounds heavier than his playing weight. He did not disclose numbers. Running back Jerome Smith, meanwhile, said he ran in the 4.5-4.6 range, which would be an improvement over his combine time of 4.84.

Virginia (March 17)
Big name: OT Morgan Moses. A considerably different-looking Moses showed up at 311 pounds, roughly 20 pounds lighter from his playing days with the Cavaliers. After clocking in at 5.35 in the 40 at the combine, he unofficially ran between 4.9 and 5.06 at his pro day, though he pulled a hamstring during one of the runs, forcing him to miss the remainder of his drills.

Virginia Tech (March 19)
Big name: QB Logan Thomas. Thomas remains a fascinating prospect to keep an eye on in the NFL, and he threw well in front of NFL scouts at pro day. Corner Antone Exum impressed as well, running 40 times of 4.53 and 4.55.

Wake Forest (March 17)
Big name: WR Michael Campanaro. After seeing his final year end prematurely because of a shoulder injury, Campanaro, the only Demon Deacon to have garnered a combine invite, again impressed in receiver drills, making his case to become a potential mid-round pick. Nose guard Nikita Whitlock, meanwhile, saw himself lining up as a fullback for the first time in his career. Weather conditions were less than ideal for the NFL hopefuls.
It was reported Wednesday that Florida State was altering its Seminoles logo, the university has released a statement on the forthcoming changes to one of college football’s most recognizable logos.

The new logo, which will be released April 11, has been under discussion for almost two years after issues reproducing the Seminole Head.

“The issue was that our Seminole Head, while as recognizable and iconic as any in all of sports, does not reproduce well in a number of mediums,” the university statement said. “It is particularly difficult to embroider and impossible to accurately represent on some materials including at midfield at Doak Campbell Stadium. We believe this image is the best in all of sports and that the result of our efforts will maximize the symbol on a national level.

“The refined logo will allow us to use it more prominently across all platforms including our uniforms, sideline apparel and graphics.”

It was originally rumored the Seminole Tribe of Florida requested alterations to the Seminole logo, but both the Tribe and Florida State said the changes did not come at the Tribe’s behest. Florida State said in the statement Nike helped recreate the logo.

“We tasked Nike for help in refining the logo so that consistency can be achieved without diminishing the identity of the iconic image,” the statement said. “We arrived at a design that can take FSU Athletics into the future.”

ACC lunchtime links

April, 4, 2014
Apr 4
12:00
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Lots of news out of Tallahassee ...

Feds open investigation into FSU

April, 3, 2014
Apr 3
6:17
PM ET

The U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights has opened an investigation into Florida State's handling of sexual assault allegations against quarterback Jameis Winston and potential Title IX violations by the university.

USA Today Sports first reported the investigation Thursday. It stems from a complaint filed with the Office for Civil Rights by the accuser in the Winston case.

"Our client is particularly gratified by the OCR's decision to investigate and look for discrimination and find remedies to it,'' the accuser's lawyer, Baine Kerr, said, "because her primary goal, from the beginning, has been affecting change that will make women at Florida State safer on campus.''

The accuser, a Florida State student, said she was raped by Winston in December 2012. Deadspin.com reported Thursday that school officials met with Winston in January 2013 to discuss the matter. But the school might have violated federal law by delaying its investigation and meeting with Winston, alone, despite legal advice to the contrary.

No charges were filed by State Attorney Willie Meggs against Winston, the reigning Heisman Trophy winner.

Winston's accuser filed her complaint with the Office of Civil Rights in March, 16 months after she first reported the incident.

The OCR tells schools that "conduct may constitute unlawful sexual harassment under Title IX even if the police do not have sufficient evidence of a criminal violation. In addition, a criminal investigation into allegations of sexual violence does not relieve the school of its duty under Title IX to resolve complaints promptly and equitably.''


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ACC's lunchtime links

April, 3, 2014
Apr 3
12:00
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Lots of injuries, not a lot of quarterbacks ...

Getting to know Shy Tuttle 

April, 3, 2014
Apr 3
10:00
AM ET
Throughout this recruiting cycle, RecruitingNation will profile a number of ESPN 300 prospects in the 2015 class, including an inside look at the prospect, his recruitment, a scouting report and what college program could benefit when he ultimately makes his decision.

LEXINGTON, N.C. -- When going down the list of the most productive players in the Class of 2015, defensive tackle Shy Tuttle might be at the top.

In three varsity seasons, Tuttle, No. 12 in the ESPN Junior 300, has more than 230 tackles, including over 50 tackles for loss and more than 30 sacks.
According to North Davidson head coach Mark Holcomb, there are more reasons for his success than just raw talent.

“He is stronger and quicker than the kids he’s lined up against, so he’s able to push kids on this level around,” Holcomb said. “But he plays hard, runs to the ball, and effort is something you can’t coach, and he came here with that. He plays hard, lifts hard and just does things the right way.”


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