Clemson junior quarterback Deshaun Watson, who was voted to repeat as ACC Preseason Player of the Year by the Kickoff media, is joined on the All-ACC offensive preseason team by Tiger wide receiver Artavis Scott, tight end Jordan Leggett, offensive tackle Mitch Hyatt, offensive guard Tyrone Crowder, center Jay Guillermo and placekicker Greg Huegel. Defensive tackle Carlos Watkins, linebacker Ben Boulware and corner back Cordrea Tankersely are Clemson’s defensive selections.
Florida State placed five student-athletes on the 2015 All-ACC preseason team, while Louisville and North Carolina each had three selected.
Watson, who in 2015 became the first player in FBS history to pass for 4,000 yards and rush for 1,000 more, is joined in the preseason All-ACC backfield by Florida State junior Dalvin Cook and North Carolina junior Elijah Hood.
FSU’s Cook was the 2015 recipient of the Jim Brown Award – given to the nation’s top running back by the Touchdown Club of Columbus – after setting school single-season records for rushing yards (1,691) and all-purpose yards(1,935). UNC’s Hood rushed for 1,463 yards and 17 touchdowns as a sophomore last season. His single-season rushing total was the second-highest ever by a Tar Heel.
Clemson’s Scott is joined on the preseason All-ACC wide receiving corps by fellow juniors Isaiah Ford of Virginia Tech and Travis Rudolph of Florida State. The trio combined for 227 catches, 2,981 yards and 24 touchdowns in 2015.
Preseason All-ACC tight end recognition goes to Clemson’s Leggett, who was a John Mackey Award finalist last season with 40 catches for 525 yards and eight touchdowns . He is joined on the offensive line by Florida State’s Roderick Johnson and Clemson teammate Hyatt at tackle. Clemson’s Tyrone Crowder and Pitt’s Dorian Johnson man the offensive guard spots, while the Tigers’ Guillermo was selected at the center position.
Florida State senior DeMarcus Walker and Pitt redshirt senior Ejuan Price were the choices at defensive end, while Clemson’s Watkins and Louisville’s DeAngelo Brown received nods at defensive tackle. Price led the ACC and ranked eighth nationally with 0.88 quarterback sacks per game (11.5 total) last season.
Clemson’s Boulware and the Louisville senior duo of Keith Kelsey and Devonte Fields fill the linebacker slots. Fields led the NCAA last season in tackles for loss per game (1.73), and Kelsey ranked among the ACC leaders in total tackles with 107.
The secondary features a pair of senior cornerbacks in Clemson’s Tankersley and North Carolina Des Lawrence. Florida State safety Derwin James is joined at safety by Virginia’s Quin Blanding, the 2014 ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year. Tankersley’s five interceptions last season tied for second in the conference, and Blanding ranked second in tackles per game with 9.6.
The special teams include Clemson’s Huegel, a redshirt sophomore. Miami senior Justin Vogel earned the spot at punter, while North Carolina senior Ryan Switzer is a repeat choice as return specialist. Switzer enters his final season with an ACC-record seven punt returns for touchdowns and is one shy of the NCAA mark.
Watson led the overall voting, being chosen by 188 of the 191 media members casting ballots. Florida State’s Cook was named by 184 voters, and the Seminoles’ Johnson was named on 153 ballots.
Others reaching or topping the century mark were Clemson’s Boulware (149), Florida State’s Walker (142), Clemson’s Watkins (132), Guillermo (124), Tankersley (115) and Scott (112), Virginia Tech’s Ford (112), Florida State’s James (112), North Carolina’s Switzer (112), Virginia’s Blanding (107), Pitt’s Johnson (107) and Price (102), and Miami’s Vogel (100).
2016 All-ACC Preseason Football Team
WR – Artavis Scott, Jr., Clemson
WR – Isaiah Ford, Jr., Virginia Tech
WR – Travis Rudolph, Jr. Florida State
TE – Jordan Leggett, Sr., Clemson
OT – Roderick Johnson, Jr., Florida State
OT – Mitch Hyatt, So., Clemson
OG – Dorian Johnson, Sr., Pitt
OG – Tyrone Crowder, Jr., Clemson
C – Jay Guillermo, r-Sr., Clemson
QB – Deshaun Watson, Jr., Clemson
RB – Dalvin Cook, Jr., Florida State
RB – Elijah Hood, Jr., North Carolina
DE – DeMarcus Walker, Sr., Florida State
DE – Ejuan Price, r-Sr., Pitt
DT – Carlos Watkins, r-Sr., Clemson
DT – DeAngelo Brown, Sr., Louisville
LB – Ben Boulware, Sr., Clemson
LB – Keith Kelsey, Sr., Louisville
LB – Devonte Fields, Sr., Louisville
CB – Cordrea Tankersley, Sr., Clemson
CB – Des Lawrence, Sr., North Carolina
S – Derwin James, So., Florida State
S – Quin Blanding, Jr., Virginia
PK – Greg Huegel, r-So., Clemson
P – Justin Vogel, Sr., Miami
SP – Ryan Switzer, So., North Carolina