Every year we take a look at what ACC teams have returning for receiving yards. I'm not sure any definitive conclusions can be drawn from this, but it is probably better to be returning more than lost, as it takes time to break in receivers, with the relationship required between receiver and quarterback. This year, I am excited to welcome Pitt and Syracuse to the list.
Boston College brings in head coach Steve Addazio, and with him, presumably, a return to the BC of old with a smash-mouth offense. But that might not be a great idea in Year 1, given that the Eagles return 92% of receiving yards from 2012, and their quarterback. Maybe recruit to play smash-mouth in 2014 and beyond, but pitch it around a bit in 2013?
Clemson lost a lot when it lost Nuke Hopkins, but the loss of Brandon Ford, Andre Ellington and Jaron Brown are also significant. However, with a healthy Sammy Watkins returning, and a ton of young receiver talent, plus Tajh Boyd, Clemson should be rolling again, despite returning only 41% of its 2012 receiving yards.
Duke returns 53% of its 2012 receiving yards, but Connor Vernon and Desmond Scott are big losses. The Blue Devils will need to fins No. 2 and No. 3 receivers, while Jamison Crowder becomes the primary target -- and all while trying to replace Sean Renefree.
Florida State returns 75% of its receiving yards, one of five ACC teams to hit that round number. FSU has the talent to replace Rodney Smith, who was the third leading receiver on the team, but the replacement for EJ Manuel will be inexperienced.
Georgia Tech is always the odd-ball on this list. It basically throws quicks to uncovered receivers, screens, and bombs off play action. Still, the Yellow Jackets do return 82% of receiving yards, and folks in Atlanta are excited about the possibility of a better passing game in 2013.
Maryland must replace Kevin Dorsey and tight end Matt Furstenburg, but returns 73% of its receiving yards, including star Stefon Diggs, who will look to avoid the sophomore slump. Maryland lost four quarterbacks in 2012, but whoever steps in in 2013 should find a much more favorable situation.
The Hurricanes return an impressive 78% of receiving yards from 2012, and also bring back QB Stephen Morris. And the thing is, some of the returning receivers will have to work hard to keep their jobs after being plagued by drops in 2012, because Miami brought in top receiver recruit Stacy Coley and the No. 1 JUCO tight end Beau Sandland, both of whom could contribute immediately.
UNC returns a very solid 68% of its receiving yards, the biggest losses from 2012 being Erik Highsmith and Gio Bernard. QB Bryn Renner will have a lot of fun with the trio of Eric Ebron, Sean Tapley and Quinshad Davis.
The Wolfpack transitions to a spread offense under new coach Dave Doren, and the transition from the receiving side should go well, as four of the top five receivers return, and in total, 68% of receiving yards are back. Finding the right quarterback, however, could prove trickier, as Mike Glennon is off to the NFL.
Pitt is going to be a run-heavy team in 2013, and any offense under Paul Chryst will be. But throwing the football is important, too, and Pitt returns only 50% of its receiving yards from 2012. The big loss is Mike Shanahan (6'5 and 983 yards), though Ray Graham and Cameron Saddler could also be missed in the passing game. QB Tino Sunseri must also be replaced, though Pitt fans don't seem too worried about the loss.
Syracuse' offense appears to be on the verge of a regression in 2013 following an excellent 2012. The coach, QB, and top two receivers are off to the NFL/graduation. In all, only 44% of 2012's receiving yards return. Welcome to the ACC?
Virginia had to break in a new crop of pass catchers last year, but should reap the benefits in 2013, as 85% of receiving yards return, including the entire WR corps and the top tight end. Finding a pass catching replacement for Perry Jones, and settling on a QB will be the top priorities, but this offense has a chance to take a big step forward through the air.
As opposed to their in-state rivals, the Hokies lost a ton of receiving yards. The top three receivers are gone, and in total, Virginia Tech brings back just 22% of its receiving production from 2012. If Logan Thomas is to have a bounce back season in 2013, he'll need some targets to step up a year before expected.
The Demon Deacons return 68% of their receiving yards from 2012, and appear to be in pretty good shape. No. 2 receiver Terrence Davis and fullback Tommy Bohannon aren't irreplaceable, and WR Michael Campanaro and QB Tanner Price return.
Thanks to CFBstats.com for providing the data for this assignment.