For those of you who follow the blog year-round, you know that helmet stickers are a tradition in the fall, and only five of them are given out following every Saturday during the season. This spring, the conference also had some top performers deserving of some recognition.
Here are the ACC’s helmet sticker recipients for spring ball:
Miami’s running backs: The trio of Lamar Miller, Storm Johnson and Mike James made it difficult for first-year coach Al Golden to sort his depth chart, but Miller finished the spring on top after an outstanding performance in the spring game. All three bring different styles and should make Miami’s running game one of the best and most versatile in the conference.
North Carolina’s offensive line: This could be the Tar Heels’ best offensive line since Butch Davis came to Chapel Hill. The recruiting efforts have paid off, as the staff finally has a rotation it is comfortable with, and the starting lineup was solidified this spring with Travis Bond at right guard and Brennan Williams at right tackle.
Virginia Tech’s defensive line: With the move of Chris Drager back to tight end, the Hokies entered the spring having to replace three starters up front, but by the end of spring practices the front four showed they were capable of being even better than their predecessors. Antoine Hopkins and his brother, Derrick Hopkins, and defensive ends J.R. Collins and James Gayle each elevated their games and alleviated any concerns the staff might have had about the revamped line.
Clemson’s offensive line: The Tigers, under the direction of a new offensive line coach and new offensive coordinator, were and will continue to be the foundation and dependable group in a season of change. Four starters return, and this spring, their strength -- run blocking -- was featured as the Tigers ran more than they passed. Three different players in the spring game rushed for at least 100 yards each.
Duke quarterback Sean Renfree: Yes, there were a lot of standout performances from ACC quarterbacks this spring, but only one coach went so far as to say his had a “tremendous spring,” not a “good spring.” His sense of timing was better, he was aggressive without taking risks that didn’t make sense, and he’s athletic and healthy. I’m telling you now: Do not sleep on Renfree. He's only thrown two picks in his past 188 pass attempts. He’s got a talented group of receivers to throw to. And he’s only going to get better.