You do not have to look too hard to find the standard spring preview fare now that practices have begun across the country.
USA Today is the latest with its prospectus, covering the usual ground. But one particular item stood out. Scroll to the bottom and there are five impact newcomers listed. One is tight end Jerome Washington, a junior college transfer who played club football for Gattaca last year.
Miami coaches have been pleased what they have seen out of Washington so far in camp, but he is not the only tight end who has drawn praise. The Canes believe they are deep enough and talented enough at tight end to make up for the loss of Clive Walford, who finished second on the team with 676 yards receiving and seven touchdowns a year ago and is one of the highest-rated tight ends available for the NFL draft.
"Clive left us in a really good position because everybody in that room saw how much he grew as a player and a person," coach Al Golden told ESPN.com recently. "I'm really excited about that group."
Veteran Stan Dobard leads the group, but Golden also mentioned Chris Herndon, Jake O'Donnell, David Njoku and Washington. There is no doubt Miami has a group of big guys who are athletic. Dobard was a four-star recruit out of high school; Njoku competes in the high jump for the track team and just placed sixth at the ACC Indoor Track and Field championships. Washington, the No. 1 rated junior college tight end, certainly looks the part. At 6-foot-5 and 262 pounds, he has impressed his coaches in the early going.
"His ceiling is through the roof," tight ends coach Larry Scott told reporters in South Florida earlier this week. "He's already 260-plus pounds and you go 'Wow.' You get him out here and work with him and see him stride, see him do movements that big guys typically have a hard time doing or have to over years develop. He does it naturally. You look at yourself and shake your head and go, 'We've got a special one here.'"
But Scott cautioned that Washington is still a freshman and has much learning to do. Whether or not he can make an impact this season remains to be seen. But Miami will be asking its tight ends to step up with Walford gone. So a big opportunity awaits.
Elsewhere around the ACC:
A few Syracuse news items of interest. Defensive tackle Ryan Sloan has decided to leave the program after several incidents over the last few years made him realize Syracuse was not the right place for him. The Orange are really hurting for depth at the defensive tackle spot this spring. Marcus Coleman is also gone, thanks to foot injuries that cut his career short. Meanwhile, backup quarterback AJ Long told a local television station he expects to redshirt the 2015 season. Long was supposed to redshirt last year, but was forced to play when starting quarterback Terrel Hunt got hurt. Now that Hunt is healthy, it makes sense for the staff to try and get Long a redshirt year back.
Florida State picked up a commitment from a junior college linebacker for the class of 2016.
Louisville picked up a commitment from a 380-pound defensive tackle nicknamed "Big Snack."
NC State wants to continue to build on its recent success.
Wake Forest is going to be without the two cornerbacks expected to take over starting roles all spring.
This is not football related, but it is a must-read for anybody who uses the Internet. Bravo, Curt Schilling. Bravo.
We'll leave you with this quick video showing Clemson unveiling its latest tombstone, a tradition that pays tribute to each road win against a ranked opponent. Oklahoma was the latest "victim."
WATCH || Beat a ranked team away from home? Time for a tombstone. We put another one in the ground today: pic.twitter.com/DtLwUMGnKG
— Clemson Football (@ClemsonFB) March 4, 2015