2015 All-ACC Team: Best players at every position
Home to the No. 1-ranked team in the nation and loaded with top talent, it’s been a heck of a year in the ACC. But just which players have stood out with their snap-to-snap performance? We break it down with our All-ACC first- and second-team selections.
Quarterback: Deshaun Watson, Clemson
The spearhead to the Tigers’ charge to the conference title, Watson has proved a threat throwing or running all year. Bouncing back from his 2014 injury woes he started off the year a little slow, but has been unstoppable since, dominating North Carolina State.
Second team: Marquise Williams, North Carolina
Running Back: Dalvin Cook, Florida State
Cook is the big name back in the division, but such was the performance of Hood that this decision was a lot harder than it appeared to be. Cook though had the fourth highest rushing grade of all running backs, while playing at least 50 fewer snaps than the guys ahead of him.
Second team: Elijah Hood, North Carolina
Full Back: George Aston, Pittsburgh
The ACC isn’t blessed with a lot of full back talent, but Aston is comfortably the pick of the bunch.
Tight End: Jaylen Samuels, North Carolina State
No tight end in the conference had more yards than Samuels, who rather handily also graded positively with his blocking. His march to the top can largely be attributed to his after-the-catch ability where his 13 forced missed tackles are third most of all tight ends.
Second team: Bucky Hodges, Virginia Tech
Wide Receivers: Tyler Boyd, Pittsburgh and Isaiah Ford, Virginia Tech
Easily the top graded receiver in the ACC, Boyd was a slam dunk selection despite missing a game due to suspension. Ford actually had more yards than Boyd with his start and finish to the year particularly impressive.
Second team: Rashawn Scott, Miami and Artavis Scott, Clemson
Slot Receiver: Canaan Severein, Virginia
Working chiefly out of the slot, Severin just pips Coley to first team honors with an impressive five slot touchdowns.
Second team: Stacy Coley, Miami
Tackles: Joe Thuney, North Carolina State and Wade Hansen, Virginia Tech
It’s really a case of Thuney and the rest, with the NC State tackle the cream of the ACC’s crop. He more than held his own in pass protection, but it was his run blocking (top seven in the nation) that really caught our eye. Hansen, who has allowed three sacks all year, had no real challengers on the right side with his largely consistent efforts.
Second team: Adam Bisnowaty, Pittsburgh and Casey Blaser, Duke
Guards: Lucas Patrick, Duke and Landon Turner, North Carolina
While Patrick saved his worst for Week 13, his season before that was full of good run blocking. He however fell someway short of matching the grade of Turner, the Tar Heel standout who had the second highest grade of all right guards in the nation.
Second team: Wyatt Teller, Virginia Tech and Tony Adams, North Carolina State
Center: Matt Skura, Duke
How good has Skura been? No center scored a higher grade than him with his run blocking. He’s really taken his game to another level this year.
Second team: Jackson Matteo, Virginia
Each week we put forward a hybrid defense that features two edge rushers (4-3 defensive ends or 3-4 outside linebackers), three players on the “interior” of the defensive line (3-4 defensive ends or defensive tackles and two linebackers (all inside linebackers and 4-3 outside linebackers).
Defensive Interior – Ends: Sheldon Rankins, Louisville and Nile Lawrence-Stample, Florida State
Spare a thought for Gotsis who looked on course for a spot on this team before injury cut his season short, quite the intended compliment because this conference is deep in the trenches. Rankins, who was fantastic last year, didn’t generate the rush consistently to capture our hearts and minds but when coupled with excellent run defense did more than enough. As for Lawrence-Stample, the versatile lineman can line up as the nose or around a guard and really made the most of his snaps.
Second team: Adam Gotsis, Georgia Tech and Derrick Nnadi, Florida State
Defensive Interior – Nose: B.J. Hill, North Carolina State
Hill is more than that just a guy who can disrupt in the running game, producing a healthy 25 quarterback disruptions to complement his 28 run stops.
Second team: DeAngelo Brown, Louisville
Edge Rushers: Shaq Lawson, Clemson and Devonte Fields, Louisville
Lawson is the real standout in this conference with his ability to get to the passer unmatched, as evidenced by 38 quarterback disruptions. The Cardinals’ Fields didn’t quite have that impact, but despite earning a lower pass rushing grade than Rose, his body of work (see: run defense) carries him through to a first team selection.
Second team: Mike Rose, North Carolina State and DeMarcus Walker, Florida State
Linebackers: Steven Daniels, Boston College and B.J. Goodson, Clemson
No escaping from Daniels’ dominance in this division, with his grade dwarfing all others. He was simply irresistible in the run game. Goodson is a little more versatile and really stepped up for Clemson this year.
Second team: Matt Milano, Boston College and Reggie Northrup, Florida State
Cornerbacks: Jalen Ramsey, Florida State and Corn Elder, Miami
Elder didn’t have quite as gaudy numbers as Ramsey, but had a strong year outside of a tough North Carolina game. You could find a spot for the versatile Ramsey anywhere in the secondary, such is his talent. A real do-it-all player, he edges out the competition with the bonus of excellent run support, in addition to his coverage game.
Second team: Cordrea Tankersly, Clemson and Shaq Wiggins, Louisville
Slot Corner: M.J. Stewart, North Carolina
Stewart led the division with a fantastic 10 pass break-ups to go with his three picks, while also only allowing 46.8 percent of balls thrown his way to be complete.
Second team: Des Lawrence, North Carolina
Safeties: Derwin James, Florida State and Jeremy Cash, Duke
We’ve got two safeties who can really do it all with both really making their presence felt closer to the line of scrimmage. Cash in particular is a star in that regard with his 43 defensive stops 14 more than the next best defensive back.
Second team: Justin Simmons, Boston College and Jayron Kearse, Clemson
Kicker: Michael Badgley, Miami
Second highest grade of all field goal kickers.
Second team: Joey Slye, Virginia Tech
Punter: Justin Vogel, Miami
Not a conference filled with punters who showed off great distance and hang times, with Vogel the best of the bunch.
Second team: Joshua Appleby, Louisville
Punt Returner: Bra’Lon Cherry, North Carolina State
Consistently got yards on his returns.
Kick Returner: Michael Walker, Boston College
Didn’t find the endzone but always making moves to get more than his blocking gave him.