- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 23, 2002

PINEHURST, N.C. The Seminoles' reign over ACC football is expected to return after a one-year hiatus.
Despite Maryland winning the conference last season, Florida State is getting the most attention this week at the ACC media sessions. The Terrapins may have snapped the 'Noles nine-year stranglehold on the league title and gone to a BCS bowl, but that hasn't changed opinions on who is the class of the conference.
"They are still the big dogs on the block," said Maryland linebacker E.J. Henderson, the ACC's returning Player of the Year and an All-American who received modest interest from reporters while Seminoles quarterback Chris Rix was the lead attraction.
It came as no surprise that Florida State was picked to win the ACC this season in a media poll. Bobby Bowden's boys were first on 82 of 86 ballots. N.C. State garnered the other four top votes and was forecast to finish second. The Terps were chosen third, ahead of fourth-place Georgia Tech and No.5 Clemson.
"[Maryland] has to show they are not a one-year wonder," said Bowden, who expects his team to compete for a national title. "When you have it one year and then you wonder where it went. You have to do it two years or three years."
But the Terps don't seem to mind being low-key champions given little chance to repeat. After all, the preseason poll picked them seventh last season. And Maryland lost nine starters, has a major question mark at quarterback and there are health concerns about Henderson. But second-year coach Ralph Friedgen feels his team has a newfound inner confidence after ending a decade-long bowl drought in last year's Cinderella season.
North Carolina was picked to finish sixth in the ACC, followed by Wake Forest, Virginia and Duke.
Kelley's rehab "off the charts"
Maryland quarterback Chris Kelley is rehabilitating his surgically repaired right knee much quicker than expected and could be available as early as September, according to Friedgen.
"He's off the charts as far as his rehabilitation," said Friedgen, of the redshirt sophomore who would have been the likely starter. "I thought maybe he would be back by about the eighth game and he's way ahead of that. In his mind, he's preparing like he's getting ready for Notre Dame."
Friedgen said he will likely suggest that Kelley apply to the NCAA for another year of eligibility if he can't return until late in the season. Kelley, a blue-chip recruit out of Seneca Valley High School, suffered the torn ligaments in the spring game in April and underwent his third reconstructive knee surgery in less than two years.
Another Terp who underwent surgery in the offseason is sure he will play against Notre Dame. Henderson, who had a back operation, feels he is about 80 percent recovered. Meanwhile, wide receiver Maurice Shanks suffered a groin pull and may have a hernia. The highly touted sophomore will be sent to Tampa, Fla., on Thursday for tests. If it is confirmed, he could miss up to six weeks.
Richmond's second chance
Maryland quarterback recruit Domonique Richmond, who was arrested after reportedly purchasing marijuana at his South Hagerstown (Md.) High School in March, will be given a scholarship to Maryland in January if he follows certain provisions and stays out of trouble.
"That was tough because if I didn't discipline him I would be criticized," Friedgen said. "If I didn't take him, high school coaches would feel I wasn't standing by a kid. He's a 17-year-old kid. I looked at how I would handle it if he was my own child. You don't abandon your kids because they made one mistake."
A judge has set aside the charges provided Richmond doesn't commit any crimes for a year. Richmond was kicked off his high school basketball team after the incident and suspended from the track team.
Comings and goings
Sam Maldonado, a running back who transferred from Ohio State, has been awarded a scholarship. He will sit out this season due to NCAA rules. Offensive linemen Raheem Lewis and Tim Donovan were forced out of school due to academics. Freshmen and newcomers report for preseason practices Aug.5.


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