Mon, Jul 23, 2018
GREENSBORO, N.C. – Three-time defending champion Clemson is the preseason favorite to claim another Atlantic Coast Conference football championship, according to a poll of 148 media members who attended last week’s 2018 ACC Kickoff in Charlotte, North Carolina.
The Tigers, who posted a 12-2 overall record en route to earning a College Football Playoff berth for the third consecutive year in 2017, were also picked to repeat as Atlantic Division winners. Miami was picked to finish atop the Coastal Division for the second consecutive year.
Clemson was named the likely 2018 ACC champion on 139 ballots, with Miami a distant second with five votes. NC State received two votes, and Florida State and Virginia Tech each had one.
In the Atlantic Division preseason voting, Clemson led the way with 145 first-place votes and 1,031 total points. Florida State followed with 789 points, while NC State had 712.
Boston College (545 total points) was tabbed for a fourth-place Atlantic Division finish, followed by Louisville (422), Wake Forest (413) and Syracuse (232).
Miami was selected the likely Coastal Division winner by 122 voters and amassed 998 total points. Virginia Tech followed with 16 first-place votes and 838 points. Georgia Tech placed third with eight first-place votes and 654 points.
Duke totaled 607 points, followed by Pitt at 420, North Carolina at 370 and Virginia at 257.
The Atlantic and Coastal Division winners will meet in the 2018 Dr Pepper ACC Football Championship Game on Saturday, December 1, at Charlotte’s Bank of America Stadium. If this year’s media predictions prove correct, it will be a rematch of last year’s 2017 title game, in which the then-defending national champion Tigers posted a 38-3 win over the Hurricanes en route to securing the CFP berth.
ACC Championship Votes
(First place votes in parenthesis)
(First place votes in parenthesis)
DILLON NAMED ACC PRESEASON PLAYER OF YEAR
Three-time defending conference champion Clemson leads all schools with eight selections on the 2018 All-Atlantic Coast Conference Preseason Football Team announced Tuesday. Boston College sophomore running back AJ Dillon received the nod as the ACC Preseason Player of the Year.
The preseason player of the year and all-conference team was selected by a vote of 148 media members that were credentialed for last week’s ACC Football Kickoff in Charlotte.
Dillon’s 1,589 yards rushing last season were the second-most by any freshman in ACC history. The New London, Connecticut, native ranked second nationally among all freshmen in rushing yards in 2017 and seventh among all players. Dillon set the Boston College freshman rushing record while posting the fourth-highest single-season total in school history.
Dillon received 45 votes in this year’s ACC Preseason Player of the Year balloting to edge Clemson defensive tackle Christian Wilkins by three votes. NC State quarterback Ryan Finley placed third with 37 votes, and Florida State running back Cam Akers followed with 13.
Hyatt led all players with 130 votes. Ferrell and Wilkins picked up 122 votes each, while Lawrence and Florida State placekicker Ricky Aguayo each received 119. Dillon was named on 112 ballots.
The Tigers’ entire defensive front line – ends Clelin Ferrell and Austin Bryant, along with tackles Christian Wilkins and Dexter Lawrence – was voted to the All-ACC preseason squad, along with Clemson linebacker Kendall Joseph. The Tigers are represented on the offensive side by tackle Mitch Hyatt, center Justin Falcinelli and wide receiver Hunter Renfrow.
Boston College has four preseason All-ACC selections, followed by defending Coastal Division champion Miami with three and NC State, Wake Forest, Florida State and Duke with two each.
Eleven of the league’s 14 football programs placed at least one player on the 2018 All-ACC Preseason Team.
Others topping the century mark include Boston College tight end Tommy Sweeney (106), Duke linebacker Joe Giles-Harris (103), Miami safety Jaquan Johnson (103) and NC State’s Finley (102).
Other members of the All-ACC Preseason Team are running back Cam Akers (Florida State), wide receivers Jaylen Smith (Louisville) and Kelvin Harmon (NC State), all-purpose back Greg Dortch (Wake Forest), offensive tackle Chris Lindstrom (Boston College) and offensive guards Parker Braun (Georgia Tech) and Phil Haynes (Wake Forest).
Defensive selections include linebacker Shaquille Quarterman (Miami), cornerbacks Mark Gilbert (Duke) and Michael Jackson (Miami), and safety Lukas Denis (Boston College).
Punter Sterling Hofrichter (Syracuse) and kick returner Anthony Ratliff-Williams round out the special team corps.
Clemson’s Hyatt, Falcinelli, Ferrell, Wilkins and Lawrence, Boston College’s Dillon, Duke’s Giles-Harris and Gilbert, Louisville’s Smith and North Carolina’s Ratliff-Williams were each voted to the All-ACC First Team at the end of last season.
Dillon ranked second among ACC rushers with 1,589 yards in 2017, and Florida State’s Akers rushed for 1,024 yards. NC State’s Finley completed 65.1 percent of his passes (312 of 479) while throwing for 3,518 yards and 17 touchdowns. Louisville’s Smith ranked among ACC leaders with 60 receptions for 980 yards and seven touchdowns despite missing three games due to a wrist injury.
2018 All-ACC Preseason Football Team
(Total votes in parenthesis)
WR – Jaylen Smith, Louisville (90)
WR – Kelvin Harmon, NC State (71)
WR – Hunter Renfrow, Clemson (62)
TE – Tommy Sweeney, Boston College (106)
AP – Greg Dortch, Wake Forest (64)
OT – Mitch Hyatt, Clemson (130)
OT – Chris Lindstrom, Boston College (72)
OG – Parker Braun, Georgia Tech (83)
OG – Phil Haynes, Wake Forest (65)
C – Justin Falcinelli, Clemson (56)
QB – Ryan Finley, NC State (102)
RB – AJ Dillon, Boston College (112)
RB – Cam Akers, Florida State (94)
DE – Clelin Ferrell, Clemson (122)
DE – Austin Bryant, Clemson (80)
DT – Christian Wilkins, Clemson (122)
DT – Dexter Lawrence, Clemson (119)
LB – Joe Giles-Harris, Duke (103)
LB – Shaquille Quarterman, Miami (98)
LB – Kendall Joseph, Clemson (84)
CB – Mark Gilbert, Duke (79)
CB – Michael Jackson, Miami (68)
S – Jaquan Johnson, Miami (103)
S – Lukas Denis, Boston College (64)
PK – Ricky Aguayo, Florida State (119)
P – Sterling Hofrichter, Syracuse (33)
SP – Anthony Ratliff-Williams, North Carolina (97)
ACC Player of the Year
1. AJ Dillon, RB, Boston College – 45
2. Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson – 42
3. Ryan Finley, QB, NC State – 37
4. Cam Akers, RB, Florida State – 13
5. Greg Dortch, WR, Wake Forest – 3
T6. Joe Giles-Harris, LB, Duke – 2
T6. TaQuon Marshall, QB, Georgia Tech – 2
T8. Zach Allen, DE, Boston College – 1
T8. Eric Dungey, QB, Syracuse – 1
T8. Jaylen Smith, WR, Louisville – 1
T8. Olamide Zaccheaus, HB, Virginia – 1