ACC Sports Journal editor David Glenn shares his preliminary All-ACC football ballot.
David Glenn is the long-time editor of the ACC Sports Journal (1994-present), the founding editor of ACCSports.com, and an Executive Board Member for the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association (ACSMA), which directs the media’s annual voting on various ACC honors in multiple sports.
As part of his job description over the last two decades, Glenn typically watches every ACC-vs-ACC football game, plus many non-conference games, for at least as long as they remain competitive. (Yes, his DVR works overtime.) It would be an understatement to suggest that he takes his ballot seriously.
Below, back by popular demand, is DG’s preliminary — after all, all 14 ACC teams still have one regular-season game remaining — 2013 All-ACC football ballot. (The actual votes from Glenn and other ACSMA members are due Sunday by 5 p.m.) As always, thoughtful, intelligent feedback is encouraged.
1 – Jameis Winston, Fr., Florida State (#1 pass efficiency 194.5, #2 total offense 299.0, #2 passing ypg 287.5)
2 – Tajh Boyd, Sr., Clemson (#2 pass efficiency 169.8, #1 total offense 318.6, #1 passing ypg 295.3)
3 – Logan Thomas, Sr., Virginia Tech (#3 pass efficiency 145.9, #3 total offense 312.1, #4 passing ypg 276.3)
NOTE: Winston and Boyd numbers from first 11 games; Thomas’ numbers from ACC games only.)
Comment: Winston is the frontrunner for the Heisman Trophy and deservedly so. Boyd has been mostly brilliant, too. After those two, there was a massive dropoff in ACC quarterback play this season, including major struggles at Georgia Tech and Syracuse and absolute disasters at N.C. State and Virginia. Thomas has ranged from truly great to absolutely horrible, but without his arm, legs and leadership — including against one of the ACC’s toughest non-conference schedules (Alabama, East Carolina, Marshall) — the Hokies could have crashed to 4-8 instead of possibly finishing 8-4. In this league, this season, that’s enough for Thomas to get the nod from me over impressive part-time Duke QB Brandon Connette (13 rushing TDs and 13 passing TDs but not nominated by Duke after splitting time with Anthony Boone), dangerous Maryland dual-threat C.J. Brown (missed three games with injuries) and others.
1 – Andre Williams, Sr., Boston College (#1 rushing ypg 188.5, 6.5 ypc, 16 TDs)
1 – Duke Johnson, So., Miami (115 rushing ypg, 6.3 ypc and 6 TDs but only eight games because of injuries and thus not listed among ACC leaders)
2 – Devonta Freeman, Jr., Florida State (#4 rushing ypg 73.5, 6.2 ypc, 11 TDs, also strong receiver)
2 – Kevin Parks, Jr., Virginia (#2 rushing ypg 84.2, 4.4 ypc, 11 TDs, also strong receiver)
3 – Jerome Smith, Jr., Syracuse (#5 rushing ypg 72.2, 4.8 ypc, 11 TDs)
3 – Roderick McDowell, Sr., Clemson (#3 rushing ypg 76.8, 5.2 ypc, 4 TDs)
Also: Karlos Williams (FSU), Isaac Bennett (Pitt), James Conner (Pitt), Brandon Ross (Md.), Shadrach Thornton (NCSU), Robert Godhigh (GT), David Sims (GT).
Comment: Williams, the first FBS player to exceed 2,000 rushing yards in a single season since 2008, quietly built an amazing season that just recently entered the Heisman conversation. Typically, I don’t give the benefit of the doubt to players who miss one-third of the regular season, but Johnson was so good — truly one of the best players in the ACC at any position — and so integral to the Hurricanes’ 7-0 start that he deserves this spot even though you won’t see him listed among the ACC’s statistical leaders. Freeman and Parks complemented their impressive running skills by being dangerous threats as receivers coming out of the backfield. There were plenty of quality candidates for the third team.
1 – Sammy Watkins, Jr., Clemson (#1 receiving ypg 104.0, #2 receptions per game, 10 TDs)
1 – Rashad Greene, Jr., Florida State (#6 receiving ypg 80.8, #5 receptions per game, 9 TDs)
1 – Devin Street, Sr., Pittsburgh (#4 receiving ypg 85.4, #6 receptions per game, 7 TDs)
2 – Jamison Crowder, Jr., Duke (#2 receiving ypg 97.9, #1 receptions per game, 5 TDs)
2 – Allen Hurns, Sr., Miami (#3 receiving ypg 87.7, #7 receptions per game, 6 TDs)
2 – Tyler Boyd, Fr., Pittsburgh (#5 receiving ypg 82.1, #3 receptions per game, 6 TDs)
3 – Alex Amidon, Sr., Boston College (#7 receiving ypg 76.6, #4 receptions per game, 5 TDs)
3 – Quinshad Davis, So., North Carolina (#11 receiving ypg 62.9, #11 receptions per game, 9 TDs)
3 – Kenny Shaw, Sr., Florida State (#8 receiving ypg 75.3, #10 receptions per game, 5 TDs)
Also: Martavis Bryant (Clem.), Kelvin Benjamin (FSU), Michael Campanaro (WF), Stefon Diggs (Md).
Comment: Watkins is one of the most electrifying players in college football, and Greene showed against Clemson that he can be at his best in the biggest games. Street and Boyd gave Pitt the best one-two punch at wide receiver in the entire ACC, although Clemson, FSU and a few others also had quality depth at the position. UNC’s Davis earned extra credit for his penchant for creating touchdowns at a pace far beyond most wideouts. Campanaro and Diggs were on their way to All-ACC campaigns before injuries sidelined them for four and five games, respectively.
1 – Eric Ebron, Jr., North Carolina (50 catches, 774 yards, 3 TDs)
2 – Nick O’Leary, Jr., Florida State (27 catches, 457 yards, 7 TDs)
3 – Braxton Deaver, Jr., Duke (29 catches, 402 yards, 4 TDs)
Also: C.J. Parsons (BC), Jake McGee (UVa), Clive Walford (Miami).
Comment: Ebron, who announced this week that he will leave UNC a year early to enter the 2014 NFL draft, is one of the best pass-catching tight ends in ACC history and a potential first-round NFL selection. He and O’Leary (Jack Nicklaus’ grandson, in case you missed it) are two of the three finalists for the Mackey Award, given annually to the nation’s best at the position. Parsons was the league’s best blocking tight end, McGee and Walford were quality receiving threats, and Deaver was the next-best blend of those distinct skills.
1 – Cameron Erving, Jr., Florida State
1 – James Hurst, Sr., North Carolina
2 – Morgan Moses, Sr., Virginia
2 – Brandon Thomas, Sr., Clemson
3 – Matt Patchan, Sr., Boston College
3 – Perry Simmons, Sr., Duke
Also: Sean Hickey (SU), Ian White (BC), Ereck Flowers (Miami).
Comment: The ACC’s lineup of left tackles, in particular, this season was one of the best in recent memory. Erving and Hurst could be first-round NFL picks, and Moses, Thomas, Patchan and Hickey were extremely reliable at that important spot this season, too. Simmons and White were the class of the league’s right tackles. Overall, this is a fantastic bunch, with plenty of legitimate candidates — far more than usual — for the six All-ACC slots.
1 – Tre’ Jackson, Jr., Florida State
1 – Shaq Mason, Jr., Georgia Tech
2 – Josue Mathias, Jr., Florida State
2 – Bobby Vardaro, Jr., Boston College
3 – Laken Tomlinson, Jr., Duke
3 – Brandon Linder, Sr., Miami
Also: Matt Rotheram (Pitt), Andrew Miller (VT), Tyler Shatley (Clem.).
Comment: The five best rushing offenses in the ACC this season, as judged by yards per carry, were at Florida State (5.8), Georgia Tech (5.7), Boston College (5.5), Miami (5.1) and Duke (4.6), and these guys played huge roles in making that happen. Varying degrees of offensive inefficiency this season at Maryland, UNC, NCSU, Virginia, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest can be traced at least in part to poor or inconsistent play at this position.
1 – Bryan Stork, Sr., Florida State
2 – Andy Gallik, Jr., Boston College
3 – Macky MacPherson, Sr., Syracuse
Also: Ryan Norton (Clem.), Russell Bodine (UNC).
Comment: As with guard, this was not a group deep in quality in the ACC this season. However, the best of the lot have been very good.
1 – Nate Freese, Sr., Boston College (35-36 PAT, 17-17 FG, five of 40 or longer, 52-yd game-winner vs Md; also 63 KOs with 44 TBs)
2 – Ross Martin, So., Duke (48-48 PAT, 9-12 FG, two from 50-plus in 13-10 win over VT, misses vs Troy-39 and WF-48, also 66 KOs with 20 TBs)
3 – Roberto Aguayo, Fr., Florida State (80-80 PAT, 15-16 FG, 5 of 40 or longer, only miss 43 in win over WF; also 97 KOs with 36 TBs)
Also: Chandler Catanzaro (Clem.), Brad Craddock (Md.), Niklas Sade (NCSU), Harrison Butker (GT).
Comment: This is by far the most complicated vote on this year’s ballot. Why? Because no matter which three players you choose, you will be leaving out at least one extremely deserving candidate, plus several others who are having really good seasons. Example: Aguayo has been almost perfect for FSU, but because of the Seminoles’ dominance his job description has not required clutch performances or game-winning kicks. Catanzaro is one of the best kickers in Clemson history. I tend to “break ties” with kickers in favor of those who made all or almost all of their clutch kicks, including game-winners, while also taking kickoff contributions into consideration. Freese in particular was a weapon in that regard, whereas many kickers leave kickoffs to other members of the roster.
1 – Ryan Switzer, Fr., North Carolina (ACC-best 20.7-yard avg and NCAA-best 4 TDs on punt returns)
2 – Stacy Coley, Fr., Miami (26.6-yard avg on kick returns #2 in ACC; 22.0-yard avg on 10 punt returns would be #1 in ACC if enough attempts)
3 – William Likely, Fr., Maryland (26.2-yard avg on kick returns #3 in ACC; 13.3-yard avg on punt returns #4 in ACC)
Also: Jamison Crowder (Duke), DeVon Edwards (Duke), Rashard Smith (NCSU), Kermit Whitfield (FSU), Myles Willis (BC).
Comment: If you like big plays and electrifying returns, you must really love this year’s class of ACC rookies. Of the eight outstanding playmakers listed above, only Crowder and Smith are NOT freshmen. Although their other skills don’t impact their candidacies for the specialist honor, many also excel at either wide receiver (Switzer, Coley, Crowder, Smith) or cornerback (Likely, Edwards).