Nine Tigers, Without Watson, Make All-ACC First Team

There is a chance that the second-best quarterback in the ACC, as determined by the media, could win the Heisman Trophy.

Deshaun Watson, the reigning ACC Player of the Year, was named to the All-ACC Second Team, as Louisville's Lamar Jackson was named First-Team All-ACC at quarterback. Jackson has put up gaudier numbers than Watson who threw for 34 touchdowns and 3,626 yards during the regular season. Jackson has 4,928 yards of total offense with a hand in 51 touchdowns. Through the air, Jackson has 30 touchdowns and 3,390 yards. The sophomore has 1,538 yards on the ground with 21 touchdowns as he has been a Heisman favorite for most of the season.

But Jackson will not be competing in the ACC Championship and he did have a late fumble that led to Louisville losing to Kentucky. If Watson can lead the Tigers to another ACC title, that could be enough to sway the Heisman voters in his favor.

Even without Watson, Clemson had a total of nine players named All-ACC First Team, the most for the Clemson program since 1991 and one shy of the record of 10 set by the 1978 team which finished 11-1 and sixth nationally.

Lake Marion graduate Mike Williams, who tied a Clemson record for touchdown receptions with three in the win over South Carolina this past Saturday, was a first-team All-ACC receiver. This was quite a comeback year for Williams who suffered a fractured neck in the first series of the 2015 opener against Wofford. He would miss the rest of the year.

Jordan Leggett was the first-team All-ACC tight end. He needs just 11 receiving yards to break Dwayne Allen’s record of 598 yards by a tight end set in 2011.

A trio of Tiger offensive lineman -  senior center Jay Guillermo, sophomore tackle Mitch Hyatt and junior guard Tyrone Crowder were all first-team selections. It is the first time in school history Clemson has had three offensive linemen on the first team, and just the fifth time in ACC history a school has had three first-team All-ACC offensive linemen.

On the defensive side of the ball, four Tigers were named First Team All-ACC including former News19 Player of the Week Jadar Johnson from Orangeburg-Wilkinson. Johnson leads the team with five interceptions and was the only first-team selection for the Tigers who was not a returning starter from the 2015 season.

Defensive lineman Carlos Watkins who leads the team in sacks was also a first-teamer along with leading tackler Ben Boulware at linebacker, and cornerback Cordrea Tankersely. Tankersley leads the team in pass deflections with nine.

Joining Watson on the second team was running back Wayne Gallman who recorded 14 touchdowns and 943 rushing yards during the regular season.

Christian Wilkins, a finalist for Nagurski Award as National Defensive Player of the Year, was a second-team All-ACC defensive end, while freshman Dexter Lawrence was second-team defensive tackle.

Former Blythewood Bengal Greg Huegel was a second-team selection at kicker.

Artavis Scott was a third-team choice at wide receiver. It Is the third year he has made an All-ACC team. The junior needs just eight receptions to become Clemson’s career leader. Kendall Joseph (LB), Van Smith (SS) and Ray-Ray McCloud (specialist) all were named honorable mention All-ACC.

The 15 first, second or third team All-ACC selections rank as the second most under Dabo Swinney. Last year’s team had 17. The 14 first or second-team selections are the most in school history for one season.


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