GREENSBORO (AP) — Atlantic Coast Conference preseason player of the year Deshaun Watson leads 10 Clemson players on the preseason all-league team.
The ACC announced the team Wednesday following a vote of 191 media members at last week’s league media days.
Watson — a 2015 Heisman Trophy finalist who became the first player in Bowl Subdivision history to pass for 4,000 yards and rush for 1,000 more in one season — was one of seven offensive players from the Tigers on the team.
Florida State had five players on the preseason team, led by running back Dalvin Cook. Louisville and North Carolina had three selections apiece, led by Tar Heels running back Elijah Hood. Cook set school records with 1,691 yards rushing and 1,935 all-purpose yards.
The team was selected by a vote of 191 media members who were credentialed for last week’s ACC Football Kickoff in Charlotte.
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 cornerback Cordrea Tankersely are Clemson’s defensive selections.
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 junior 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).
Watson, Scott, Roderick Johnson, Blanding and Switzer are repeat selections from the 2015 All-ACC preseason team.