The new-look ACC is now complete as Boston College joins the fray this fall. And while it will take everyone some time to get used to the idea of having a Coastal and Atlantic Division, expectations are high for the conference this season.
Those expectations would appear justified in looking at the talent-laden Rivals.com 2005 Preseason All-ACC team, which is especially strong on the defensive side of the ball. Actually, with the exception of the quarterback slot -- where Clemson's Charlie Whitehurst was the first-team choice essentially by default -- proven talent abounds in the ACC.
Conference favorites Miami and Virginia Tech each had eight players make either the first or second team, while Florida State had seven players chosen and Virginia had six.
The following is the Rivals.com 2005 Preseason All-ACC team.
2005 Preseason All-ACC First Team
: Charlie Whitehurst
6-4, 225, Clemson (Sr.)
After a super 2003 season, Whitehurst struggled last year with 17 picks and just seven TDs. But an improved offensive line will help him bounce back.
: Mathias Kiwanuka
6-7, 261, Boston College (Sr.)
The preseason ACC Player of the Year, Kiwanuka is a pass-rushing terror on the edge and one of the reasons the Eagles are expected to have a big year.
: Leon Washington
5-9, 202, Florida State (Sr.)
Despite nagging injuries in 2004, Washington was clearly the ACC's top back, rushing for 951 yards (6.9 yards per carry) and seven TDs.
: Mario Williams
6-7, 285, N.C. State (Jr.)
Williams is the centerpiece on what might be the best defensive line in college football. He had 16 tackles for losses and seven sacks in 2004.
: P.J. Daniels
5-10, 210, Georgia Tech (Sr.)
A knee injury and subsequent surgery limited Daniels' production last season, but he still managed more than 700 yards and eight touchdowns.
: Orien Harris
6-4, 302, Miami (Sr.)
Harris has a great combination of size, strength and speed, and he finished the 2004 season with 44 tackles, including 10 for losses, and 2.5 sacks.
: Calvin Johnson
6-4, 225, Georgia Tech (Soph.)
The ACC Rookie of the Year in 2004, Johnson has great size, speed and hands. He should improve on last year's totals of 48 catches for 837 yards.
: Jonathan Lewis
6-1, 308, Virginia Tech (Sr.)
Lewis is powerful but also quick enough to disrupt plays in the backfield. Last season, he recorded 40 tackles, including 11 for losses, and five sacks.
: Lance Leggett
6-3, 184, Miami (Soph.)
Leggett has great speed and makes big plays. He got better with each game last season and finished with 17 ctaches for 349 yards and four TDs.
: Ahmad Brooks
6-4, 249, Virginia (Jr.)
As physically gifted as any linebacker in the country, Brooks can be as good as he wants to be. He had 90 tackles last season, including 10 for losses.
: Greg Olsen
6-5, 252, Miami (Soph.)
Olsen has great hands and the speed to get down the field. A wrist unjury limited him to 16 catches in 2004, but he averaged 17.2 yards per reception.
: Ernie Sims
6-0, 220, Florida State (Jr.)
One of the best athletes in the country, Sims, Rivals.com's No. 1 player in the class of 2003, has improved steadily and is primed for a breakout season.
: D'Brickashaw Ferguson
6-5, 295, Virginia (Sr.)
The starter at left tackle since he arrived in Charlottesville, Ferguson could be a top-five pick in April's NFL draft with a solid senior season.
: D'Qwell Jackson
6-0, 223, Maryland (Sr.)
The pile stops going forward when Jackson arrives on the scene. Patrolling the middle of the field, he recorded 123 tackles, four sacks and two picks.
: Eric Winston
6-7, 312, Miami (Sr.)
Winston suffered a season-ending knee injury midway through last year, but he's healthy now and will anchor the Hurricanes offensive line.
: Jimmy Williams
6-3, 206, Virginia Tech (Sr.)
Williams could have left for the NFL but returned for his senior campaign. He has great size and speed, and is equally good in coverage or run support.
: Will Montgomery
6-3, 301, Virginia Tech (Sr.)
A starter at center last season, where he played 734 snaps, Montgomery will move to right guard this season. He has started 23 consecutive games.
: Tye Hill
5-10, 180, Clemson (Sr.)
Opposing teams keep testing Hill, who plays bigger than his size, and he keeps coming up big. Last season, he posted 49 tackles and 18 pass break-ups.
: Kyle Ralph
6-4, 297, North Carolina (Sr.)
Ralph was a fixture at right guard last season and earned All-ACC honors for his peformance. He is the centerpiece of a talented Tar Heels line.
: Anthony Reddick
6-0, 197, Miami (Soph.)
Reddick was a Freshman All-American last season in part becuase of his ability to make big plays, a knack that should be magnified in 2005.
: Leroy Harris
6-3, 295, N.C. State (Jr.)
Harris missed four games with a shoulder injury in 2004 but still earned All-ACC honors. He also has played guard but will stay at center this fall.
: Pat Watkins
6-4, 200, Florida State (Sr.)
Watkins has great range and a nose for the ball. Last season, he recorded 56 tackles, including four for losses, 10 pass break-ups and four interceptions.
: Ryan Plackemeier
6-3, 235, Wake Forest (Sr.)
Plackemeier has had a solid career for the Deacons and he was at his best in 2004, averaging 43.9 yards per attempt and downing 17 inside the 20.
: Travis Bell
6-0, 210, Georgia Tech (Soph.)
Earned Rivals.com Freshman All-America honors a year ago after making 15 of 17 field goals, including a long of 47 yards, and all 31 of his PATs.
: Devin Hester
5-11, 186, Miami (Jr.)
Hester has the kind of speed that keeps opposing coaches up at night. He averaged 17.2 yards per punt return in 2004 and took three back for scores.
: Will Blackmon
6-0, 202, Boston College (Sr.)
Blackmon could play receiver or corner, but what's certain is that he's deadly on kickoff returns. He averaged 27 yards per attempt, with a TD, last year.
: Eddie Royal
5-10, 174, Virginia Tech (Soph.)
A Rivals.com Freshman All-American in 2004, Royal did it all for the Hokies. He caught 28 passes for 470 yards and was a force on kick and punt returns.
2005 Preseason All-ACC Second Team
: Marques Hagans
5-10, 211, Virginia (Sr.)
Hagans is small, but he's elusive, tough and rarely makes mistakes. He passed for better than 2,000 yards last season, with nine TDs and just five picks.
: Darryl Tapp
6-1, 268, Virginia Tech (Sr.)
A difference-maker on the edge, Tapp is a fixture in opposing backfields. He recorded 60 tackles in 2004, including 16.5 for losses and 8.5 sacks.
: Chris Barclay
5-10, 180, Wake Forest (Sr.)
Teams keep trying to stop him, but the durable Barclay just keeps churning out the yards. Last season, he rushed for 1,010 yards and nine touchdowns.
: Kamerion Wimbley
6-4, 255, Florida State (Sr.)
Last season, Wimbley recorded 27 tackles, including 5.5 for losses, as a reserve, but his performance in spring practice has FSU fans salivating.
: Wali Lundy
5-10, 214, Virginia (Sr.)
A touchdown machine, Lundy found the end zone 17 times last season and now has 41 TDs in his career. He also rushed for 864 yards for the Cavs.
: Joe Anoai
6-3, 270, Georgia Tech (Jr.)
The Jackets had health problems at tackle, but Anoai emerged as a reliable performer, finishing with 34 tackles last season, including 11 for losses.
: Derrick Fenner
5-11, 191, Maryland (Sr.)
The Terps problems at quarterback in 2004 were well-documented, but Fenner emerged as a reliable target with 35 catches for 430 yards and two TDs.
: Chase Page
6-5, 280, North Carolina (Sr.)
A team leader who is extremely strong, Page missed all of last season with a hand injury. In 2003, he recorded 47 tackles, including five for losses.
: Jesse Holley
6-3, 195, North Carolina (Jr.)
A big, athletic target, Holley emerged last season as the Heels' big-play receiver and posted 30 catches for 456 yards, numbers he'll better this fall.
: Gerris Wilkinson
6-4, 230, Georgia Tech (Sr.)
Big, fast and athletic, Wilkinson makes plays all over the field. He recorded 119 tackles last season, including 17 for losses and 4.5 sacks.
: Jeff King
6-5, 246, Virginia Tech (Sr.)
Always a solid blocker, King became a big part of the passing game as the 2004 season progressesd and posted 25 catches for 304 yards and four TDs.
: Xavier Adibi
6-2, 224, Virginia Tech (Soph.)
A torn biceps cost the athletic Adibi half of last season, but he was a force when he played and recorded 25 tackles, including 4.5 for losses.
: Jimmy Martin
6-5, 305, Virginia Tech (Sr.)
Martin might be the best athlete on the Hokies offensive line. He played 665 snaps last season as the starter at left tackle and graded out at 86 percent.
: Kai Parham
6-3, 247, Virginia (Jr.)
Nicknamed "The Hammer" for the way he tackles, Parham blossomed in 2004, as he recorded 80 tackles, including 11 for losses, and two forced fumbles.
: Jeremy Trueblood
6-9, 330, Boston College (Sr.)
The mammoth Trueblood's effectiveness was limited by health issues last season, but he's the anchor for a tremendous Eagles offensive front.
: John Talley
5-11, 180, Duke (Jr.)
Talley was a bright spot for the Blue Devils defense in 2004, recording 53 tackles, 14 pass break-ups and four picks, two of which he returned for TDs.
: Matt Meinrod
6-4, 305, Florida State (Sr.)
Meinrod, who's strong as an ox, suffered a season-ending knee injury against Miami in the last year's opener. He's healthy now and will start at right guard.
: Kelly Jennings
5-11, 178, Miami (Sr.)
Overshadowed by Antrel Rolle in recent years, Jennings also has good cover skills. He recorded 30 tackles, six pass break-ups and two picks in 2004.
: Josh Beekman
6-2, 320, Boston College (Jr.)
One of the Eagles' team leaders, Beekman is powerful, athletic and a tremendous run blocker. He started all 12 games last season at right guard.
: Jamaal Fudge
5-10, 190, Clemson (Sr.)
There are bigger safeties around than Fudge, but not many hit as hard. Last season, he was in on 66 stops and recorded a team-high three picks.
: David Castillo
6-2, 304, Florida State (Sr.)
Castillo, who was hampered by injuries in 2004, isn't a great athlete, but he's extremely tough and intelligent. This is his third year as the starting center.
: Greg Threat
6-0, 196, Miami (Sr.)
Threat is a sure tackler who fills the stat sheet every week. Last season, he posted 110 tackles, including 5.5 for losses, and three interceptions.
: Adam Podlesh
5-11, 193, Maryland (Jr.)
Podlesh showed off his powerful leg in 2004 by averaging 43.7 yards per punt. He also had 21 kicks downed inside the 20-yard line and a long of 70 yards.
: Connor Hughes
5-10, 172, Virginia (Sr.)
Hughes couldn't match a 2003 season in which he made 23 of 25 field goals, but he did make 17 of 24 attempts a year ago, including a 50-yarder.
: Willie Reid
5-10, 186, Florida State (Sr.)
Also a solid wide receiver, Reid was extremely dangerous on punt returns last season, averaging 13.7 yards on 38 attempts with a long of 48 yards.
: Chris Davis
6-0, 195, Duke (Soph.)
Davis, a Rivals.com Freshman All-American last season, averaged 25.8 yards on 20 kickoff returns and had a 94-yarder for a TD against Maryland.
: Tramain Hall
5-10, 190, N.C. State (Sr.)
Hall is effective as a runner, receiver and return man. He recorded 585 all-purpose yards and four TDs in 2004 and will be used more this fall.