Ok, let's clear something up first: The grades assigned to each recruiting class in the ACC were not mine. They were from ESPN Recruiting. That's for all of the angry Clemson fans who are in the mailbag yelling at me for the Tigers' B+. Sorry, guys, not my department. That takes care of about half the mail for this week. Now on to other pressing issues ...
Steve in Atlanta, Ga., writes: Last year the ACC football schedule was announced the day after signing day. Any word on this year?
HD: I expect it some time next week, but that's not a guarantee. They're still working some things out. There, now I answered the second half of the questions in the mailbag this week. There was one or two more, though ...
Carl in New York writes: ok heather for real where do you see fsu in national picture in 2011?
HD: I see them in the ACC championship game and Discover Orange Bowl as a two-loss team, losing to Oklahoma and somebody in the ACC, not sure who. For real.
Ben in Blacksburg writes: Hey HD,Where do you foresee VT in the years to come with another sub-par recruiting class. I know the staff focuses on its ability to make players, not recruit them. But with the lack of depth in this class, I am truly worried about our ability to stay atop the ACC, never mind make any national title runs. Year after year, I see new coaches convincing highly touted players to believe in their new systems at a program and usually these coaches fail to deliver. But Ive always wanted to know how Beamer and Co. have so much difficulty attracting players to one of the most consistent programs in the nation? Any thoughts? What are we doing wrong?
HD: Yet another hot topic in the mailbag. Look, until Virginia Tech starts LOSING, I see zero reason to be concerned about the players the Hokies are bringing in. Could Virginia Tech have done a better job this year overall and in-state? You don't know the answer to that unless you were in the living rooms and in these kids' heads. This staff has earned the reputation as one of the best in the country at evaluating talent and they didn't suddenly get worse. Do they need a higher-caliber athlete to win a national title? Yes, but they had a player like that in Ryan Williams, and he left too early.
Kelwin in Washington, D.C. writes: Where will Fla St be ranked in pre-season polls?
HD: I think the most consistent ranking will be somewhere in the top seven. I believe my colleague, Mark Schlabach, holds them in even higher regard. Realistically, I think they should be around 11 or 12 and play their way up, but based on what the teams ahead of them have coming back (or don't), I think you'll find them top seven in most polls.
Matt in Orlando writes: All the talk in Miami is about our quarterback situation, but I think the bigger problem might be at WR. With Hankerson gone who do you see stepping up?? Benjamin is too inconsistent. Johnson and Streeter barely could make it onto the field last year. Byrd has never lived up to the number 47 he wears. ... Does it even matter whose throwing the ball next year?
HD: An important question that has been overlooked by the quarterback situation and likely will continue to be. Travis Benjamin left a 1,200-yard season and at least four more touchdowns on the field last year with drops. If his hands improve, he’s the guy. Getting open is not the issue. LaRon Byrd was the clear third option last season in Mark Whipple’s offense. Now he steps into a lead role on the field and has already become a more vocal leader this offseason.