Part Four of the ACC Unit rankings series looks at the rankings of the Offensive Line units of each ACC team. As Clemson showed last season, if your offensive line struggles, it doesn't matter who is running the ball or playing quarterback.
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It all starts up front the Noles, in what may be their best offensive line in years. Junior Rodney Hudson is their best offensive lineman at left guard. He's made several preseason All-American lists. Junior Center Ryan McMahon has made several preseason All-ACC lists himself.
The Seminoles return their other three starters as well. With three sophomores and two juniors, the offensive line could be even better next year. Florida State was second in the ACC in rushing last season, behind the run heavy offense of Georgia Tech. These guys know how to make some holes, and should have a great year.
2) Boston College Eagles
The Eagles' offensive line is HUGE to say the least. Anthony Castonzo is the preseason All-ACC pick at left tackle. At 6'7" and 287 lbs, he's the lightweight of the group. Left guard Nick Rossi is 6'6" and 290 lbs. Right tackle Rich Lapham is 6'8 "and 322 lbs. Right guard Rich Lapham is 6'3" and 323 lbs. Center Matt Tenat, another lineman who's made some preseason All-ACC lists, is 6'4" and 294 lbs. Whoever becomes quarterback will have some beef up front to protect him.
3) North Carolina State Wolfpack
The Wolfpack also bring back a very experienced offensive line. Seniors RT Jeraill McCuller, C Ted Larson, and LG Julian Williams all return. Junior Jake Verimiglio is the LT. The only question mark is at right guard, where Andy Barbee has played mostly backup center during his career and is the likely start, but may be pushed by talented RS Freshman Zach Allen.
4) North Carolina Tarheels
The Tarheels will have one of the most experienced offensive lines in the ACC. They will start three seniors along with two juniors. LT Kyle Jolley is a senior and made the second team All-ACC preseason list for Athlon Sports. Senior C Lowell Dyer also returns. RG Alan Pelc and RT Mike Ingersoll are the juniors. The Heels don't have a lineman under 290 lbs, so they are big bunch as well. Aaron Stahl decided to forgo his senior season, and it remains a question who will fill his spot.
5) Virginia Cavaliers
The Cavaliers lose first round NFL pick Eugene Monroe, but return everyone else for what will be one of the strengths of their team. Virginia coaches are very high on LG sophomore Austin Pasztor, and feel he can become the next great Cavalier lineman. C Jack Sheilds, RG B.J. Cabbell, and RT Will Barker are all junior upperclassmen. Sophomore Landon Bradley has the least experience at LT, but at 6'7" has a great frame to build on.
6) Virginia Tech Hokies
I think the Hokies line is better than the ACC worst 3.4 sacks per game they've averaged the last two years. Relatively immobile quarterback Sean Glennon was responsible for at least some of that. With the more mobile Tyrod Taylor taking over quarterbacking duties, that number will go down. Senior Sergio Render, who is likely to play LG, is the star of the group. Beau Warren at C and Jaymes Brooks at RG are the new starters on a team that still averaged over 170 yards a game rushing.
7) Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
For team that averaged over 273 yards a game on the ground, it's not easily apparent that at times the Yellow Jackets offensive struggled with Paul Johnson's new blocking schemes and in pass protection. Of the returning players, 6'5", 310 lbs. RG Cord Howard is the best lineman. Another year of experience learning the offense should help immensely. C Dan Voss and LT Nick Claytor missed spring practice with injuries.
8) Miami Hurricanes
Miami's offensive line struggled with some inconsistency last year. They were in the middle of the pack in the ACC in rushing and sacks allowed. Massive linemen LT Jason Fox at 6'7", 310 lbs., and LG 6'7", 334 lbs. Orlando Franklin are returning players. The left side is the strength of the Canes' line. RG Joel Figueroa and RT Matt Pipho don't have a tremendous amount of experience.
9) Clemson Tigers
Even with RBs CJ Spiller and James Davis, the Tigers had difficulty running the ball last year, ranking 10th in the ACC. Frankly, the offensive line was manhandled several times, especially early in the year. The Alabama game was particularly ugly. They should be better this year. Only C Bobby Hutchinson is gone. LG Thomas Austin is the best of the group. Who will play at RT is a question. After Spring, the position was still up for grabs between Landon Walker and Cory Lambert.
10) Wake Forest Demon Deacons
The Deacs struggled on offense last year, and it started up front. The offense ranked 101st in the country, and 90th in the nation in sacks allowed. Like Clemson, Wake Forest should have improved line play this season. Former starter senior Chris DeGeare returns after missing last season, and the line should start three other senior players.
11) Maryland Terrapins
The Terrapins have some question marks at offensive line. Only two linemen are returning, and the Terps appear to be going with a freshman Justin Lewis at RG. LG Lamar Young is only a sophomore and doesn't have much experience either. Senior Phil Costa is the new starting center, having played both left and right guard during his career.
12) Duke Blue Devils