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ACC Kickoff: ‘Canes WR Ahmmon Richards 100 percent again

The former freshman All-American missed five games with various ailments last season
Miami's Ahmmon Richards answers a question during a news conference at the NCAA Atlantic Coast Conference college football media day in Charlotte, N.C., Wednesday, July 18, 2018. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton) NCCB132
Miami's Ahmmon Richards answers a question during a news conference at the NCAA Atlantic Coast Conference college football media day in Charlotte, N.C., Wednesday, July 18, 2018. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton) NCCB132
Published Jul. 19, 2018

Greetings from Charlotte, N.C., where Day Two of the ACC Kickoff commences in a few hours. Dabo Swinney and Willie Taggart, among others, take center stage at the Westin Charlotte today, so stay tuned to us throughout the day and evening for stories, sound bites and a smorgasbord of notes.

But first, some leftovers from Wednesday's sessions.

* Miami junior WR Ahmmon Richards declared himself 100-percent healthy after missing five games in 2017 due to various injuries, including a meniscus issue in his left knee prior to the ACC title contest. The ailments limited Richards to 24 catches after a dazzling freshman year (49 catches, 934 yards).

"I kind of started doing stuff before I was cleared (earlier this summer)," Richards said. "On our own, we'd go to the field…and run routes on air, and I'd be out there running without a brace and stuff, running full-speed. … It felt great to just have the offseason to get better and just get that chemistry started again."

* Virginia Tech third-year sophomore QB Josh Jackson wouldn't go into detail about the offseason academic matter that fueled speculation about his eligibility for 2018.

"It never was necessarily out of my hands," said Jackson, who passed for 2,991 yards, 20 touchdowns and nine interceptions last season. "I just had some things I needed to take care of, that's about it. … It's a personal academic issue that I had to handle, and that's all that I can really share."

Added Hokies coach Justin Fuente: "I thought it was an issue that was private, should've stayed private and ultimately been resolved and moved on. Instead, it was an issue that was private that became public and got resolved, and we moved on."

Jackson was more forthcoming on his connection to Tom Brady, who phoned him before the Hokies' 31-24 season-opening win against West Virginia last season.

Jackson's dad, Fred, was a University of Michigan assistant (in various capacities) for more than 20 years, including the Brady era in Ann Arbor. Brady also phoned Jackson before his junior season at Saline (Mich.) High, when he was battling a senior for the starting job. Jackson won the competition.

Michigan, incidentally, offered Josh Jackson a scholarship — as an athlete.

* ACC supervisor of officials Dennis Hennigan offered some clarification on the new kickoff rule, in which the receiving team gets the ball at its own 25-yard line if a fair catch is called inside the 25: The player signaling the fair catch actually has to make it.

For instance, Hennigan said, if a fullback signals fair catch at the 30, but the deep receiver catches the ball at the 10, the receiving team takes possession at the 10.

Hennigan also noted the average length of ACC contests last year was three hours, 14 minutes, slightly shorter than the national average (3:20). In an effort to further speed up play, ACC clock operators will start the 40-second play clock right after a kickoff, just as they would any other play.

"So what we eare trying to do is eliminate some of that dead time where the teams are standing on the sideline and playing a cat-and-mouse game of who is going to come on (the field) first," Hennigan said.

But the same substitution rules apply, he added. So if an offense waits until 10 seconds remain on the play clock before trotting onto the field, the official will stand over the ball and still give the defense an opportunity to get its own personnel on the field.

"So you could have a delay-of-game penalty on the offense," he said.