Healthy, Rested and Ready to Go
By Garrett Strunk
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The dynamic of the ACC could shift drastically with many players set to return from serious injuries.
Meet some key players from the ACC that will be glad to get back on the field to help out their team after their long recovery from season-ending injuries.
Kenny Anunike – The Duke defense took a major hit in 2011 when their only true pass rushing threat was sidelined by a ACL and MCL tear in his fifth game of the season. He was fortunate that the NCAA gave him a medical redshirt, but was due for a good break with all the injuries he's had to come back from in his career. Before the injury, he was having a very good season, recording 13 tackles and 4 sacks from his defensive end position in 2011.
Jarvis Byrd – If you have not heard of Jarvis Byrd, you're hardly alone. He has not played in a single game in nearly three years. As a cornerback in 2009 he earned the starting job on the NCSU defense and, shortly thereafter, tore his ACL, forcing him to miss the 2010 season while recovering. His string of bad luck continued with an ACL tear in the opposite knee that forced him to miss the 2011 season. He is not expected to be at 100%, as you might expect, but he'll contribute in some capacity. Considering what he has been through, he deserves a special mention in this article.
Mustafa Greene – His career with the Wolfpack got off to a promising start, becoming the leading rusher on the team with 597 yards as a freshman in 2010. In 2011, during spring drills, he sustained a foot injury that did not heal as fast as expected, causing him to miss the entire season. Whether Mustafa earns the starting job or not is still up in the air, as NC State has a few other options that will push for playing time.
Willie Haulstead – A victim of friendly fire coming from a teammate, he suffered a concussion on fan day that kept him out for the entire 2011 season. In 2010, he led FSU with six touchdown receptions, to go along with his 587 receiving yards. His return for the 2012 season will bolster an already deep receiver corps.
Kaleb Ramsey – Just one of many injured players for Boston College in the 2011 season. He injured his foot in the first game against Nortwestern and did not return for the rest of the season. He'll be counted on to anchor the defensive line from his tackle position where he produced 39 tackles and 7.5 tackles for loss in the 2010 season.
Kenny Tate – When other players were leaving left and right during the head coaching change at Maryland, he gave up millions playing in the NFL to stick around a final season, and even agreed to a position change from safety, where he was a first team all ACC performer, to linebacker in a new defensive scheme. Kenny injured his knee in his fourth game of the 2011 season, had surgery and is not expected to practice until August. He will need to perform well if Maryland is going to avoid their second straight losing season.