Ranking ACC Units: Defensive Backs

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Ranking ACC Units: Defensive Backs
(Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)

Part seven of the ACC Unit rankings series looks at the rankings of the secondary units of each ACC team.

Morgan Burnett of Georgia Tech is the one the nation's best safeties, and is one of the favorites for ACC defensive player of the year.

Check out the completed rankings.

Running Backs
Wide Receivers\Tight Ends
Offensive Line
Defensive Line
Defensive Backs
Special Teams
Full Team

1) Virginia Tech Hokies

Bud Foster is the architect of the ACC's best secondary—deep, talented and experienced the Hokies defensive backs have it all.
Senior Kam Chancellor is an extremely talented free safety, but struggled at times after moving from strong safety. He'll be even better this year, and is a potential All-American.
Returning cornerback Stephan Virgil had six interceptions, which tied him for the team lead last season. Senior Dorian Porch will be at strong safety. A solid tackler, he made 48 stops last year.
The only position slightly in question is the other corner position. Junior Rashad Carmichael looks like the likely starter, but could be pushed by Sophomore Chris Hill.

2) Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

With question marks in their front seven, the secondary is defiantly the strength of the Yellow Jackets defense.
Junior Morgan Burnett was tied for the most interceptions in the nation last year with seven. Burnett has made several preseason All-American lists.
The other safety Dominque Reese had three interceptions himself. Jerrad Tarrant, who missed all of last season returns. He appeared to on be track to start last year at corner. Rashaad Reid started six games last year.
Solid Junior Mario Butler is the other corner. Mentioned in our linebacker rankings Cooper Taylor will play the "Wolf" position, a hybrid safety/linebacker spot. Remember it was Taylor who forced the end-zone fumble against Florida State in the final seconds to save the victory for Georgia Tech.

3) North Carolina Tar Heels

The Tar Heels Kendric Burney is one of the top returning corner backs in the ACC. Safety Denuta Williams suffered a wrist injury in the offseason, and missed spring practice, but he's one of the top safeties in the league.
The Heels must find a replacement for Trimane Goddard who had seven interceptions last year. Da'Norris Searcy looks like the top candidate to take the strong safety spot.
The other corner Charles Brown struggled with ankle injuries lat year, but if he's healthy, then the Heels secondary gets even better.

4) Virginia Cavaliers
The Calvaliers possess the ACC's next great cornerback. Ras-I Dowling is 6'2" 200 pounds and was second team All-ACC last year.
The Cavs are so deep at corner, that they could move Vic Hall to quarterback. Chris Cook, a very good corner, is back after an academic suspension.
Hard hitting, Sophomores Corey Moseley and Rodney McLeod are young, but talented. Senior Brandon Woods provides depth at the safety position.

5) Clemson Tigers

The Tigers have a strong pair of corners in returning players Chris Chancellor and Crezdon Butler.
Both players had four interceptions for a defense that was No. 10 in the country in pass efficiency defense.
DeAndre Mcdaniel moves from linebacker to strong safety. Sadat Chambers is the likely starter at the free safety spot. Chambers is the question mark, and the staff may try several players at the position before completely settling on a starter.

6) Boston College Eagles
Boston College will have one of the better defensive backfields in the ACC. A unit that lea the nation with 26 interceptions, loses only one player off last years secondary.
Wes Davis and Marcellus Bowman make up one the best safety tandems in the conference.
The corners are also in good shape. Donnie Flecther and Roderick Rollins are solid. DeLeon Gause started 10 games last year, but is behind both Fletcher and Rollins at the moment.
Guase provides experienced depth. Don't be surprised if Guase get his starting job back. He struggled with a high ankle sprain last year that limited his effectiveness.

7) Maryland Terrapins
Maryland looks really solid this year in the secondary. Four senior starters provide plenty of experience. Senior cornerback Anthony Wiseman led the team with 10 pass breakups last year.
Nolan Carroll starts at the other corner position. Carroll is physical player who had 37 tackles in just four games started.
Free Safety Terrell Skinner is the Terps top returning player. At 6'3", 214 he good size for the safety spot. He had 63 tackles last year.
Jamari McCollough is the starting strong safety and led the Terps in interceptions last year with four.
An interesting safety prospect is USC transfer Antwine Perez. Perez is not listed as starter, but anyone from USC is someone to keep an eye on.

8) Florida State Seminoles
The Noles had the best pass defense in the ACC last year. They gave up only 162.4 ypg.
Patrick Robinson is the top returning starter, but has yet to reach his potential. A 4.4 runner he has the speed to stay with just about any receiver, but now needs to put together a strong senior season.
Junior Ochuko Jenije is the likely new starting corner, and should expect a lot passes to be thrown his way. Senior Jamie Robinson is the starter at the free safety position. He has the athletic ability to be a very good player.
The strong safety spot looks to be senior Korey Mangum's to lose. Sophomore Terrance Parks and four star freshman Greg Reid are going to vye for playing time as well at safety.

9) North Carolina St. Wolfpack
The secondary appears to be the weakest part of the Wolfpack's defense.
Senior strong safety Clem Johnson is coming off a season where he broke his jaw before the first game. He did have strong spring game though totaling seven tackles.
The other safety spot is still up for grabs, but Sophomore Justin Byers looks like the front-runner. The corners are taken by Sophomore Dominque Ellis and Junior DeAndre Morgan. Morgan is a solid cover corner, and Ellis had a good spring.

10) Wake Forest Demon Deacons
Brandon Ghee is the only returning secondary player for the Demon Deacons.
The likely starters for the rest of the Deacs defensive backfield totaled just one interception last year.
Cornerback Josh Bush, safety Chyl Quarles, and free safety Alex Frye, will be looked upon to make up for the loss of All-American Alphonso Smith. Frye the fastest player on the team has the most potential of the new starters.

11) Miami Hurricanes
The Hurricanes have question marks all over their defensive backfield. The Canes came out of the spring with no positions locked in stone.
Marcus Van Dyke and Brandon Harris will are the likely starters at corner. Senior Randy Phillips has probably solidified the free safety position.
At strong safety Vaughn Telemaque looks like the front-runner. JoJo Nicolas started eight games last year, so there is some experienced depth for Miami.
The entire Miami defense only had four interceptions last year.

12) Duke Blue Devils

The Blue Devils return only starter off last year's defensive backfield, senior strong safety Catron Gainey. This off a secondary that ranked ninth in the ACC is passing yards given up.

Former quarterback Zack Asack has been moved to the safety position as a backup at the moment, to try and get more athletes on the field.

The Duke coaches have high hopes for Sophomore free safety Matt Daniels who is expected to be Duke's best secondary player.

Article Also Featured at: All About Sports

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