Out with the old, in with the newcomers who hope to make a similar splash as their predecessors. With these five former players, it won’t be easy. Here’s a look at the ACC’s biggest shoes to fill heading into spring practices:
Clemson running back C.J. Spiller – He became the first player in college football history with 3,000 yards rushing, 2,000 yards in kickoff returns, 1,000 yards receiving and 500 in punt return yards. He left his name all over the school record books, as he established over 30 game, season and career records. He was a major reason the Tigers made their first appearance in the ACC title game.
Wake Forest quarterback Riley Skinner – He made a name for himself his freshman year by taking the Deacons to their first ACC championship since 1970 and earning ACC rookie of the year honors. Four years and three bowl games later, Skinner ended his career as the top quarterback in Wake Forest history.
Georgia Tech defensive end Derrick Morgan – His early departure to the NFL leaves a gaping hole up front. In 2009, Morgan had 18.5 tackles for loss and 12.5 sacks. His career totals include 29.5 tackles for loss, 19.5 sacks, six fumbles recovered and five pass breakups.
Georgia Tech wide receiver Demaryius Thomas – Thomas had 46 of Georgia Tech’s 78 receptions. His 1,154 receiving yards this season were the second most in Georgia Tech history, trailing only Calvin Johnson (1,202 yards in 2006). Thomas had eight of Tech’s 11 touchdown receptions and averaged a remarkable 25.1 yards per reception.
Duke quarterback Thaddeus Lewis – Lewis finished his career with 48 school records, including career total offense (9,987 yards), passing yards (10,065), pass completions (877), pass attempts (1,510), touchdown passes (67), 300-yard passing games (11) and touchdown-to-interception ratio (1.68:1). In 2009, he completed 274 of 449 attempts (61 percent) for 3,330 yards with 20 touchdowns and eight interceptions.