Jim Young’s 2013 All-ACC Football Ballot

Jim Young FINALLY reveals his All-ACC ballot.

Let’s face it, even though FSU is playing for the ACC title and a berth in the BCS title game tonight, there are bigger stakes involved. The Seminoles will be playing to prove they deserved more than one player on the first-team All-ACC defense.

I kid … somewhat. I got a whooooole lot of angry tweets from FSU fans who were incredulous that there weren’t more guys honored from  the nation’s No. 1 defense. 

I orginally planned to write a piece explaining how this could happen, pointing out the inevitable imperfections in the process and then proposing potential solutions. But then a lot of stuff happened – Jim Grobe retired, the ACC/Big Ten Challenge took place, the Jameis Winston investigation wrapped up, I got into a four-car wreck, etc. Also, I realized we’re talking about an all-conference team, not a national health care program. Maybe we should just, you know, “embace debate.”


Forget I used that phrase. Please. Instead, take a look at my ballot. Feel free to compare it to the overall media vote. And if you’ve got issues with it – I can’t imagine why you would, to be honest – then send me a tweet to @accsports.

FIRST TEAM offense





Quarterback  Jameis Winston  Florida State
Running Back  Andre Williams  Boston College
Running Back  Devonta Freeman   Florida State
Wide Receiver  Sammy Watkins  Clemson
Wide Receiver  Jamison Crowder  Duke
Wide Receiver  Rashad Greene  Florida State
Tight End  Eric Ebron  North Carolina
Offensive Tackle  Cameron Erving  Florida State
Offensive Tackle  James Hurst  North Carolina
Offensive Guard  Tre Jackson  Florida State
Offensive Guard  Shaq Mason  Georgia Tech
Center  Bryan Stork  Florida State
Kicker  Nate Freese  Boston College
Specialist  Ryan Switzer  North Carolina 

This was … identical to the overall media vote. Weird … let’s just move on. 

First Team Defense





Defensive End  Kareem Martin  North Carolina
Defensive End  Vic Beasley  Clemson
Defensive Tackle  Aaron Donald  Pittsburgh
Defensive Tackle  Nikita Whitlock  Wake Forest
Linebacker  Telvin Smith  Florida State
Linebacker  Christian Jones  Florida State
Linebacker  Kevin Pierre-Louis  Boston College
Cornerback  Lamarcus Joyner  Florida State
Cornerback  Ross Cockrell  Duke
Safety  Jeremy Cash  Duke
Safety  Anthony Harris  Virginia
Punter  Pat O’Donnell Miami 

Take note FSU fans: I differed from the rest of my media colleagues in that I voted MORE of your guys on the first team. Of course you’ll still be mad at me for not putting Timmy Jernigan on there, but still. 

Here’s part of my rationale. One –  I just didn’t see many game-changers at the linebacker position, so in that situation I’m going to go with the guys who were part of the ACC’s top unit. The one I agonized about was Virginia Tech’s Jack Tyler. I almost put him on instead of Kevin Pierre-Louis.

The other tough call was Whitlock over Jernigan. I get why FSU fans are irate that Jernigan’s not on here. He’s a special talent. But no way was I leaving Aaron Donald off. So then it came down to Whitlock and Jernigan. And Whitlock won out for me because in every game he’s THE guy opposing offensive coordinators game plan for when facing the Demon Deacons. Yet he was still immensely productive, and single-handedly altered several games in Wake’s favor. 

Second Team Offense





Quarterback Tajh Boyd Clemson 
Running Back  Duke Johnson  Miami 
Running Back  Kevin Parks  Virginia 
Wide Receiver Alex Hurns Miami
Wide Receiver Devin Street Pittsburgh
Wide Receiver  Kelvin Benjamin Florida State 
Tight End  Nick O’Leary Florida State 
Offensive Tackle  Matt Patchan Boston College
Offensive Tackle Brandon Thomas Clemson
Offensive Guard Josue Matias  Florida State 
Offensive Guard  Brandon Linder  Miami 
Center Andy Galik  Boston College 
Kicker  Robert Aguayo  Florida State 

Sorry, left this chart one row too short – Miami’s Stacy Coley is the specialist. 

I’m not going to get into offensive line voting. It’s just an area which is very, very subjective. I did disagree – and this pains me to admit it – with having Michael Campanaro on the second team. Y’all know I love Camp. But he was injured for a good chunk of the year and wide receiver may be the deepest position in the ACC. There were plenty of other talented options. That’s why I went with Kelvin Benjamin on my ballot. I also chose Devin Street instead of his younger teammate, Tyler Boyd. Street performed better in Pitt’s more important games. 

Second Team Defense





Defensive End  Jeremiah Attaochu  Georgia Tech 
Defensive End  Kasim Edebali  Boston College 
Defensive Tackle  Timmy Jernigan  Florida State 
Defensive Tackle  Andre Monroe  Maryland 
Linebacker  Jack Tyler  Virginia Tech 
Linebacker  Kelby Brown  Duke 
Linebacker  Stephone Anthony  Clemson 
Cornerback  Kendall Fuller  Virginia Tech 
Cornerback  Bashaud Breeland  Clemson 
Safety  Terrence Brooks  Florida State 
Safety  Ray Vinopal  Pittsburgh 

Left this chart one player short. UNC’s Tommy Hibbard was my punter. 

When addressing fan gripes about all-conference teams, I made the point that you never hear fans complain about the media voting one of their guys too high. UNC’s Tre Boston may be the exception. The media picked him second team and several Tar Heel fans disagreed vehemently.  I actually put him on the third team and I’m not sure I could give you a rational defense of it. Safety was the bizarro wide receiver this year in the ACC.

Third Team Offense





Quarterback  Logan Thomas  Virginia Tech 
Running Back  Roderick McDowell Clemson 
Running Back  Jerome Smith  Syracuse 
Wide Receiver  Alex Amidon  Boston College 
Wide Receiver  Quinshad Davis  North Carolina 
Wide Receiver  Tyler Boyd  Pittsburgh 
Tight End  Braxton Deaver  Duke 
Offensive Tackle  Morgan Moses  Virginia 
Offensive Tackle  Perry Simmons  Duke 
Offensive Guard  Laken Tomlinson  Duke 
Offensive Guard  Tyler Shatley  Clemson 
Center  Macky MacPherson  Syracuse 
Kicker  Chandler Catanzaro  Clemson 

Again, the chart’s one spot short. I had Duke KR DeVon Edwards as my specialist.

I spent quite a bit of time debating whether Logan Thomas or Duke backup QB/touchdown machine Brandon Connette should be my third-team QB. Then I noticed that Connette wasn’t even an option on the ballot. Welp. 

Third Team Defense





Defensive End  J.R. Collins  Virginia Tech 
Defensive End  Kenny Anunike  Duke 
Defensive Tackle  Luther Maddy  Virginia Tech 
Defensive Tackle  Grady Jarrett  Clemson 
Linebacker  Denzel Perryman  Miami 
Linebacker  Marquis Spruill  Syracuse 
Linebacker  Robert Caldwell  NC State 
Cornerback  Kevin Johnson  Wake Forest 
Cornerback  Jemea Thomas  Georgia Tech 
Safety  Durell Eskridge  Syracuse 
Safety  Tre Boston  North Carolina 

My third-team punter was A.J. Hughes of Virginia Tech. 

Speaking of the Hokies … 

I didn’t hear as many gripes from their fans – probably because they’re griping more about losing three times in their final five games – but the Hokies also had cause for ire. Virginia Tech actually gave up less yards per game than FSU – 269.6 to 271.0, third-best total in the country. But the Hokies had ZERO players on the first team. 

But really, maybe the better measure of how many of your players are all-ACC period, regardless of team. The Seminoles wound up with seven total on the three teams (I actually had five, a number that was likely too low). The Hokies had six (I had four.) 

The point? At some positions there may be one guy in the league better than your guy. But if you have a bunch of players who are in the top three in their position in the league – as FSU and Virginia Tech did – then you’re going to have a dominant defense.