ACC Preseason Top 25 Players of 2012: #13, Joe Vellano

Maryland’s Joe Vellano Is #13 on Our Countdown of the ACC’s Top 25 Players for 2012

As part of our 2012 season preview, we’re counting down the top 25 players in the ACC for this season, from 25 to one. Obviously these lists are always completely subjective, so feel free to weigh in with your own thoughts in the comments.

No. 13, Joe Vellano, DT/Maryland

Lost in the quagmire that was the 2011 Maryland Terrapins football season was a very good effort by then-junior defensive tackle Joe Vellano. Despite being the only true D-line target for blockers to key in on, Vellano still managed to put up game after game of gaudy tackling numbers. Most notably, his 20-stop demolition of Georgia Tech in a close 21-16 loss provided a stern reminder that while he was stuck on Randy Edsall’s sinking ship, he would not be contributing to the team’s death.

Heading into his senior year with the Terps, Vellano has picked up quite a few honors without even stepping on the field. Despite the team’s lack of success last season, he finds himself an All-American (second-team) and an All-ACC first-teamer. To top it all, he’s already been named to the watch list for five different honors: the Bednarik, Lombardi and Camp awards, along with the Nagurski and Outland trophies. All that for having the highest per-game tackles average among FBS linemen last year? Sounds like a good deal.

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ACC Football 2012 Standout Seniors Recap & Full List

Clemson Running Back Andre Ellington is One of Many Standout Senior Players in the ACC for 2012

On Monday, we reached the end of our “Standout Seniors” list, which highlighted 14 of the ACC’s best football players entering their final year of school. As mentioned, these were not always the teams’ star attractions, but the player deemed to have the most impact on the 2012 season, regardless of how quietly it came about.

Disagree with any of these picks? Let us know in the comments who you would have chosen instead. And as you’ll see immediately below, we’re going to need a new selection for BC.

Boston College: Montel Harris, RB (yes, we did start this list a while ago)

Clemson: Andre Ellington, RB

Duke: Sean Renfree, QB

Florida State: E.J. Manuel, QB

Georgia Tech: Tevin Washington, QB

Maryland: Joe Vellano, DT

Miami (FL): Mike James, RB

NC State: Mike Glennon, QB

North Carolina: Erik Highsmith, WR

Pittsburgh: Ray Graham, RB

Syracuse: Ryan Nassib, QB

Virginia: Steve Greer, LB

Virginia Tech: Bruce Taylor, LB

Wake Forest: Scott Betros, LB

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Phil Steele’s Preseason All-ACC Team


Virginia Tech’s Logan Thomas Headlines Phil Steele’s First-Team All-ACC Preseason Picks

Phil Steele‘s released this his preseason all-conference picks for 2012, and we wanted to give a quick breakdown of some of the selections. Obviously, any critiques we may have of Phil’s selections are in no way personal, but rather, just a matter of opinion. You can view Phil Steele’s full preseason All-ACC selections here. And for information on Syracuse and Pittsburgh‘s selections, visit the All-Big East page.

Highlights from Phil Steele’s First-Team All ACC Picks

QB: Logan Thomas, Virginia Tech

RB: Giovani Bernard, North Carolina

RB: Andre Ellington, Clemson

WR: Sammy Watkins, Clemson

WR: Conner Vernon, Duke

DE: Brandon Jenkins, Florida State

DT: Joe Vellano, Maryland

CB: David Amerson, NC State

Overall, Clemson led the way on the first team, with six selections total. Florida State and North Carolina each had five, though all of FSU’s were on either defense or special teams. Additionally, Steele’s ranking also brings up the hot topic of deciding who’s the better quarterback: VPI’s Logan Thomas (Steele’s selection) or Clemson’s Tajh Boyd (our selection). While arguments can surely be made for both, the gap is not all the wide. Boyd proved himself last season, and has better offensive weapons at his disposal. Thomas, while potentially possessing better decision-making skills, also has little help coming back on offense in 2012. It will be interesting to see how he adapts and if he can replicate or improve upon last year’s stats. Continue reading

ACC Football Standout Senior 2012: Maryland

Maryland’s Joe Vellano Must Deliver as a Key Piece of a Defense That’s Pushing to Improve Greatly in 2012

While we won’t be naive (and/or like Rick Reilly/Peter King/insert-your-own-cliched-columnist) and claim there’s some sort of pristine or pure honor in playing out your four years that other players just don’t get to experience, we’d still like to point out the senior players that are likely to stand out in 2012. These players have put in the time during their college careers, and now serve as the cornerstones of their respective teams’ potential success this season.

We’ll be going team-by-team in the ACC to identify the “standout senior” that’s key to his team, and why. Have a different thought on the matter? Feel free to weigh in with your own thoughts in the comments.

The 2011 Maryland Terrapins had too many problems to properly address in just one post, which unfortunately managed to overshadow solid individual play. With that sham of a season behind them, this year’s team is looking to learn from the many, many mistakes, and get back to playing competitive football. That process could very well start on the defensive end (retooling from last year’s 34.2 points allowed per game) and anchor D-lineman Joe Vellano. Continue reading