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Football: Cards fit right in with ACC’s top returning players

Matt Stone- Courier Journal

Matt Stone- Courier Journal

ESPN.com’s David Hale wrote this blog that talked about the top returning football players in the ACC for the 2014 season according to the numbers. Louisville players were not included in the actual lists, but they were certainly mentioned if they would have been a top returner. I may have just confused you with that, so just check out what I am talking about. The following is from the blog on ESPN.com…

Here’s a quick look at the top returning players in the ACC this upcoming season, based on their stats from 2013. (Last year’s ACC ranking in parentheses.)

RUSHING YARDS
1. Kevin Parks, Virginia – 1,031 (2nd)
2. Duke Johnson, Miami – 920 (5th)
3. James Conner, Pitt – 799 (8th)
4. Isaac Bennett, Pitt – 797 (9th)
5. Shad Thornton, NC State – 768 (11th)

Of note: Louisville’s Dominique Brown would actually rank third on this list after racking up 825 rushing yards last season, good for fourth in the AAC. Including Brown, the ACC returns 11 running backs this year who accounted for at least 500 yards on the ground in 2013, though Miami’s Dallas Crawford (558 yards) is currently working with the Hurricanes’ secondary. Parks returns after a 1,000-yard season. The last running backs to return following a 1,000-yard effort in the ACC were Gio Bernard and Andre Ellington in 2012. Both topped 1,000 again in their follow-up campaigns.

RECEIVING YARDS
1. Jamison Crowder, Duke – 1,360 (2nd)
2. Tyler Boyd, Pitt – 1,174 (3rd)
3. Rashad Greene, FSU – 1,128 (5th)
4. Quinshad Davis, UNC – 730 (13th)
5. Willie Byrn, Virginia Tech – 660 (14th)

Of note: Louisville’s DeVante Parker would rank fourth on this list. He had 885 yards last season, good for seventh in the AAC. Crowder is in position to reach 1,000 receiving yards for the third straight season and is 1,153 yards shy of breaking former teammate Conner Vernon’s ACC record. The Hokies have three of the top seven returning receivers in terms of yards.

INTERCEPTIONS
1. Ant Harris, Virginia – 8 (1st)
2. Kendall Fuller, Virginia Tech – 6 (2nd)
3. Brandon Facyson, Virginia Tech – 5 (3rd)

Of note: Eleven ACC players had at least four interceptions last season, and a whopping nine of them return in 2014, including sophomores Facyson and Fuller at Virginia Tech. Add to that list two more returners from Louisville in Charles Gaines (5 picks) and Terell Floyd (4 picks), and the young QBs in the ACC in 2014 are going to have a lot to worry about.

SACKS
1. Vic Beasley, Clemson – 13 (1st)
2. Eli Harold, Virginia – 8.5 (9th)
2. Norkeithus Otis, UNC – 8.5 (9th)
4. Luther Maddy, Virginia Tech – 6.5 (12th)
5. Adam Gostis, Georgia Tech – 5.5 (16th)

Of note: Louisville’s Lorenzo Mauldin (9.5 sacks) would be second on this list. And here’s a number that should have a lot of Clemson fans excited: Of the 32 players who finished with at least 10 tackles for loss last season, just 13 will be back in the ACC in 2014. Of those 13 returners, five play for the Tigers.

About Justin Renck

I am 28 years old, born and raised in Louisville. Graduated from UofL in 2008. Go Cards! Follow me on twitter @JustinRenck

Posted on May 17, 2014, in Football, Louisville Athletics and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

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