We’re now less than two months away from the start of the 2013 college football season, and that means preview countdowns! In the past, we’ve limited these lists to just the top 25 players, but this season, we’re upping our game to 50. So just about every day until the season starts, there will be a new player profile up here as we count down to the top ACC player for 2013.
Obviously these lists are always completely subjective — and thus completely bulletproof — so feel free to weigh in with your own thoughts in the comments, too.
Want to know why running back Duke Johnson‘s Miami career got off to such a quick start? Look no further than the ‘Canes offensive line — specifically Linder, who is (in my opinion) the best of the bunch. Standing at 6’6″ and 317 pounds, he’s a hulking force at the right guard position, and one of the main reasons Miami only allowed 17 sacks in 2012 (tied for 27th-best figure in the country) — with only 1.5 attributed to him. Linder suffered a slight left knee injury back in the spring, however, he’s expected to be fine for the fall since no surgery was required.
Following a strong junior campaign, there were thoughts that Linder was headed to the NFL Draft, but instead, he’ll be back for his senior campaign along with several other veterans on an otherwise young Miami roster. And he has some big goals in store for this season too, as he mentioned to the Miami Herald back in January:
“I’m here for the four years and to get my degree and do something special here and leave a legacy. The stuff that was going on off the field, it happened. It doesn’t bother us. We’re just putting our heads down and grinding every day.”
It’s that type of leadership that will either make or break the Hurricanes in 2013. As of right now, there’s a lot of thoughts this team could contend for an ACC Championship, but that doesn’t happen without a newfound sense of maturity throughout the roster. No matter what the team hears from the NCAA (aka “National Clownfraud Agitators of America”) in the coming months, they’re well set up to be a force in the ACC thanks to Linder and his fellow offensive linemen (all of whom are returning from last season).