football Edit

ACC Spotlight: Five players who excelled in spring football

Trayvon Mullen
Trayvon Mullen

Mark Pszonak contributed to this report.

Spring football is over, so now it’s time to take a shot at who will take the momentum they gained and bring their game to the next level next season. Here are five from the ACC.

MORE: Five Big Ten players who stood out in spring | Five SEC players who shined in spring | Three-Point Stance on big commits and recruiting Texas

CLASS OF 2019 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | State | Position | Team



The skinny: While the Clemson defensive line is the most talented in the country, the secondary has a few question marks. The player who has risen to the opportunity the most during the spring is Mullen, who has firmly entrenched himself as a reliable playmaker. He solidified that even further during the spring game with two interceptions, but it was his overall consistency during the spring that has the coaching staff excited. It may take some of the younger defensive backs on the roster a little more time to adjust to the college game, but Mullen’s game is ready for the spotlight.

Farrell’s take: Mullen was highly ranked coming out, although he fell short of the Rivals100 because of concentration issues and a lapse in coverage here and there. He just needed to be more consistent. Now he’s emerging as one of the best cornerbacks in the ACC and a guy who uses his aggression and natural instincts to make plays. He’s ready for a huge breakout this season.


Tamorrion Terry
Tamorrion Terry (Gene Williams /

The skinny: Running back Khalan Laborn also deserves a mention here, but with that position much more established, Terry’s performance at wide receiver this spring was a much-needed bonus for the Seminoles. The redshirt freshman impressed throughout the 15 practices and put an exclamation point during the spring game with five receptions for 129 yards and one touchdown. At 6-foot-4, he gives the Seminoles' offense a big, long-armed threat in the passing game who should be able to flourish in new coach Willie Taggart’s offense.

Farrell’s take: Speed was never a question mark with Terry, but he was a late bloomer of sorts - although his size and catch radius was never in question. You can’t teach size and ball skills, and Terry has both of them. He could be a key component to the FSU offense this season. He’s ahead of the curve already.


Cole Bentley
Cole Bentley

The skinny: Bentley made a favorable impression at the end of the 2017 season when he was called into duty after Mekhi Becton went down with an injury. Bentley showed enough potential during his time on the field that the coaching staff knew it would have to find a spot for him on the offensive line. They seem to have accomplished that at center, where he grabbed control of the job during the spring and will likely be the starter heading into the 2018 season.

Farrell’s take: Not a sexy position, but a key hole to fill on offense and Bentley appears to be a future standout. We had him as a mid-level three-star recruit out of high school with toughness but limited athleticism. He has improved in that area greatly and can run and pass block as well as reach the next level. Louisville needs him to step up big time, and he looks like he will.


The skinny: While fellow early enrollee Brian Hightower should also make an impact this fall as a true freshman, it was Rousseau who created the most excitement during the spring. Considering he registered seven sacks in the first two scrimmages, it is easy to see why the coaching staff and fans are eager to see the former four-star on the field this fall. Having already gained 20 pounds since his arrival in January, Rousseau’s speed off the edge should earn him plenty of playing time, even with Joe Jackson and Jonathan Garvin returning at defensive end.

Farrell’s take: We had Rousseau as an athlete coming out of high school because he could do so many things, but it appears his best work is to be done as an edge rusher. He was tall and thin and needed to add strength, but he always had that great first step and quickness off the snap. Watch out for him next season as an elite freshman pass rusher in the ACC.


The skinny: The former four-star cornerback arrived in Chapel Hill with a great deal of hype as a freshman last season, but after totaling only nine tackles in 2017, nobody was really sure what to expect out of him in 2018. If the spring is a sign of things to come, Shaw should become a major key to the Tar Heels secondary this fall. He has basically locked down a starting job already and looks primed for a breakout season that so many UNC fans were hoping for.

Farrell’s take: A smooth, instinctual four-star cornerback out of high school, Shaw also showed good ball skills and is stepping up at a position of need. He’s fluid, confident and should help the defense quite a bit this season.