July 30, 2015

Take a listen to what Dabo Swinney had to say on SportsCenter this morning (AUDIO)

Dabo Swinney

Dabo Swinney

The ACC coaches are making the rounds in Bristol today and tomorrow as part of ESPN’s “Coaches Carwash” segments. Dabo Swinney was on the set of SportsCenter this morning with anchors Jay Crawford and Chris McKendry. Among the typical preseason questions, Swinney was asked to about Steve Spurrier’s reference to comments Deshaun Watson made about not losing to the Gamecocks. Another interesting Swinney response came when he was asked what is more important at Clemson, an ACC title or a win over South Carolina. (Spoiler alert: There was some dancing, but the answer is an ACC title). Take a listen to the segment below.

AUDIO: Dabo Swinney on SportsCenter

Clemson football commit Xavier Kelly joins SportsTalk Friday (AUDIO)

Clemson commit Xavier Kelly joined us on SportsTalk Friday evening.

Clemson commit Xavier Kelly joined us on SportsTalk Friday evening.

The Clemson football team picked up their 11th commitment for the 2016 class Friday when they received a verbal pledge from defensive end Xavier Kelly of Wichita, Kansas.

Kelly, originally a Kansas State commitment, chose the Tigers over the likes of Alabama, Georgia, and many others.

Tonight he joined us the program to explain why the time was right to pull the trigger on the Tiger program following the “All-in” cookout at Clemson last Friday.

We also got a feel for his attributes as a player, and more.

AUDIO: Xavier Kelly [6:00]




Clemson lands five on the preseason All-ACC Team

Artavis Scott is looking to build on a big freshman season.

Artavis Scott is looking to build on a big freshman season.

Clemson leads all schools with five selections to the 2015 All-Atlantic Coast Conference Preseason Football Team announced on Thursday.

The team was selected by a vote of 163 media members who were credentialed for the ACC Football Kickoff earlier this week at Pinehurst Resort.

Clemson sophomore quarterback Deshaun Watson, who earlier this week was voted the ACC Preseason Player of the Year, is joined on the All-ACC preseason team by Tiger wide receivers Mike Williams and Artavis Scott, offensive guard Eric Mac Lain and defensive end Shaq Lawson.

Florida State and Virginia Tech each placed four student-athletes on the 2015 All-ACC preseason team, while Pitt had three selected.

Watson, who threw for 1,466 yards and 14 touchdowns despite being limited to eight games and five starts last season due to injuries, is joined in the offensive backfield by running backs James Conner of Pitt and Shadrach Thornton of NC State.

Conner, a 2014 All-American and the reigning ACC Player of the Year, led the conference and ranked among the nation’s leaders with 1,765 yards rushing and an ACC-record 26 touchdowns as a sophomore. Thornton, a rising senior, ranks 10th in NC State history with 2,369 career rushing yards and 12th all-time among Wolfpack ball-carriers with 16 career rushing touchdowns.

Clemson’s Williams and Scott are joined on the preseason All-ACC wide receiving corps by Pitt junior Tyler Boyd, the the first player in ACC history to compile 1,000 receiving yards in both his freshman and sophomore seasons. Williams joined Boyd as one of four ACC players with at least 1,000 receiving yards in 2014, and Scott was close behind with 965.

Preseason All-ACC tight end recognition goes to Virginia Tech’s Bucky Hodges, a redshirt sophomore who broke in last season with 45 receptions for 526 yards and six TDs. He is joined on the offensive line by Florida State’s Roderick Johnson and Pitt’s Adam Bisnowaty at tackle. North Carolina’s Landon Turner and Clemson’s Mac Lain man the guard spots, while Duke’s Matt Skura was selected at the center position.

Three defensive ends were selected due to ties in the voting, with Virginia Tech’s Dadi Lhomme Nicolas joining Clemson’s Lawson and Louisville’s Sheldon Rankins. Adam Gotsis of defending Coastal Division champion Georgia Tech is a choice at defensive tackle, along with Virginia Tech’s Luther Maddy.

Florida State’s Terrance Smith, Wake Forest’s Brandon Chubb and Louisville’s James Burgess form the preseason All-ACC linebacker corps.

The secondary features a trio of returning All-Americans in cornerbacks Jalen Ramsey of Florida State and Kendall Fuller of Virginia Tech, as well as Duke safety Jeremy Cash. Virginia’s Quin Blanding, the 2014 ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year, also earned a spot at safety on the preseason team.

The special teams include junior All-America placekicker Roberto Aguayo, whose 293 total points in two seasons already ranks eighth on Florida State’s all-time list. Wake Forest’s Alex Kinal earned the spot at punter, while North Carolina’s Ryan Switzer is the choice at return specialist.

Pitt’s Conner led the overall voting, being chosen by 148 of the 163 media members casting ballots. Florida State’s Aguayo received 141 votes.

Others reaching or topping the century mark were Pitt’s Boyd (137 votes), Duke’s Cash (116), Florida State’s Ramsey (115), Virginia Tech’s Fuller (112), Duke’s Skura (111), North Carolina’s Turner (108), Virginia Tech’s Nicolas (108), Florida State’s Johnson (104) and Clemson’s Watson (100).

Boyd, Conner, Aguayo, Fuller and Ramsey were all named first-team All-ACC last year, while Scott, Williams, Nicolas, Gotsis, Smith, Cash, Blanding and Kinal all earned second-team All-ACC. Switzer, Hodges, Turner, Skura and  Rankins were 2014 third-team All-ACC selections.


2015 All-ACC Preseason Football Team


WR – Tyler Boyd, Jr., Pitt

WR – Mike Williams, Jr., Clemson

WR – Artavis Scott, So. Clemson

TE – Bucky Hodges, r-So., Virginia Tech

OT – Roderick Johnson, So., Florida State

OT – Adam Bisnowaty, r-Jr., Pitt

OG – Landon Turner, r-Sr., North Carolina

OG – Eric Mac Lain, Gr., Clemson

C – Matt Skura, r-Sr., Duke

QB – Deshaun Watson, So., Clemson

RB – James Conner, Jr., Pitt

RB – Shadrach Thornton, Sr., NC State



DE – Dadi Lhomme Nicolas. r-Sr., Virginia Tech

DE – Shaq Lawson, Jr., Clemson

DE – Sheldon Rankins, Sr., Louisville

DT – Adam Gotsis, Sr., Georgia Tech

DT – Luther Maddy, r-Sr., Virginia Tech

LB – Terrance Smith, r-Sr., Florida State

LB – Brandon Chubb, r-Sr., Wake Forest

LB – James Burgess, Sr., Louisville

CB – Jalen Ramsey, Jr., Florida State

CB – Kendall Fuller, Jr., Virginia Tech

S – Jeremy Cash, r-Sr., Duke

S – Quin Blanding, So., Virginia


Special Teams

PK – Roberto Aguayo, r-Jr., Florida State

P – Alex Kinal, r-Sr., Wake Forest

KR – Ryan Switzer, So., North Carolina

#ACCKickoff: Dabo Swinney isn’t putting much stock in the preseason poll (AUDIO)

Dabo Swinney

Dabo Swinney

Dabo Swinney has been busy making the rounds here at the ACC Football Kickoff. Earlier today the media picked Clemson to win the Atlantic Division and the overall ACC title, the first time that’s happened since 2013. That year the Tigers ended up finishing behind Florida State in the final standings. That might be the reason why Swinney isn’t putting much stock in the media’s projections. [Read more…]

#ACCKickoff: Media picks Clemson to win conference, Watson as Player of the Year

Dabo Swinney's team is the pick to win the ACC this year.

Dabo Swinney’s team is the pick to win the ACC this year.

Clemson is the preseason favorite to claim the Atlantic Coast Conference football championship, according to a poll of 158 media members in attendance at the 2015 ACC Football Kickoff at Pinehurst Resort.

The Tigers were also picked over three-time defending ACC champion Florida State to capture the Atlantic Division, while Georgia Tech was favored to repeat as the Coastal Division winner.
Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson, who established himself as one of the nation’s rising stars as a true freshman last season, was voted the 2015 ACC Preseason Player of the Year.
The Tigers were picked the likely overall champions of the ACC on 84 ballots, followed by Florida State with 41 and Georgia Tech with 20. Virginia Tech (7 votes), North Carolina (3), Miami (2) and NC State (1) rounded out the balloting .
In the Atlantic Division preseason voting, Clemson received 101 first-place votes and finished with 1,032 total points. Florida State received 56 first-place votes and placed second with 992 points, while Louisville had one first-place vote and was third in the voting with 746 points.
NC State was tabbed for a fourth-place Atlantic Division finish, followed by Boston College, Syracuse  and Wake Forest.
Georgia Tech was selected the likely Coastal winner by 96 voters and finished with 991 total points, followed by Virginia Tech with 44 first-place votes and 841 points. Miami received seven first-place votes and was third in the voting with 632 total points.
Duke (four first-place votes) placed fourth, followed by North Carolina, Pitt and Virginia. Four voters chose UNC to claim the Coastal Division, while three ave Pitt the nod.
Watson will lead a Clemson offense that also returns talented wide receivers Mike Williams and Artavis Scott. The Tigers, who have won at least 10 games each of the past four seasons, seek their 15th ACC championship and first since 2011.
Watson led the preseason ACC Player of the Year balloting with 69 votes, followed by 2014 ACC leading rusher and Player of the Year James Conner of Pitt with 46. Georgia Tech quarterback Justin Thomas placed third with 13 votes.
Injuries sidelined Watson for part of his freshman season, but the Gainesville, Georgia native still threw for 1,466 yards and 14 touchdowns against only two interceptions in 330 snaps over eight games (five starts). He also made his mark as a rushing threat with 200 yards and five touchdowns on 63 carries.
Watson finished last season ranked first in Clemson history in passing efficiency and completion percentage by a freshman, as well as first in school history in passing yards, passing touchdowns and total offense by a first-year freshman.
ACC Championship Votes
1. Clemson – 84
2. Florida State – 41
3. Georgia Tech – 20
4. Virginia Tech – 7
5. North Carolina – 3
6. Miami – 2
7. NC State – 1
Atlantic Division
(First place votes in parenthesis)   
1. Clemson (101) – 1,032
2. Florida State (56) – 992
3. Louisville (1) – 746
4. NC State – 673
5. Boston College – 473
6. Syracuse  – 291
7. Wake Forest – 217
Coastal Division
(First place votes in parenthesis)     
1. Georgia Tech (96) – 991
2. Virginia Tech (44) – 841
3. Miami (7) – 632
4. Duke (4) – 615
5. North Carolina (4) – 590
6. Pitt (3) -535
7. Virginia -220
ACC Player of the Year
1. Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson – 69
2. James Conner, RB, Pitt – 46
3. Justin Thomas, QB, Georgia Tech – 13
t-4. Jalen Ramsey, CB Florida State – 7
t-4. Brad Kaaya, QB, Miami -7
t-6. Marquise Williams, QB, North Carolina – 6
t-6.  Kendall Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech – 6
8. Tyler Boyd, WR, Pitt – 3
9. Jacoby Brissett, QB, NC State – 1