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.
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
PK – Roberto Aguayo, r-Jr., Florida State
P – Alex Kinal, r-Sr., Wake Forest
KR – Ryan Switzer, So., North Carolina
Steve Spurrier says he is sick of people talking his age. So sick that he called in impromptu news conference to tell people not to listen to his enemies. Who are his enemies? The media, according to the HBC. More specifically, someone who covers Georgia, apparently. But the HBC had plenty to say. He got a proverbial shot in at Clemson, cited a team doctor that told him he has the body and mind of a 55 year old, and declared they had an excellent team. And that’s only a small part of it. Do yourself a favor and check it out. Let us know what you think in the comments.
You can watch the video of our Periscope feed here.
You can listen to the audio below:
After capturing the 2014 Southern Conference championship, the Chattanooga Mocs have been tabbed the preseason favorites for 2015 in polling conducted by the league’s head coaches. After finishing with a perfect 7-0 mark in conference play last season, the Mocs earned seven first-place votes and 49 points in the poll. It is the second consecutive season Chattanooga has been tabbed the preseason favorite.
Samford, under the direction of new head coach Chris Hatcher, was slotted second with 40 points. The Bulldogs earned the final first-place vote. Hatcher inherits a team that returns 46 lettermen from last year’s team, which went 5-2 in league play.
Western Carolina was slotted third with 38 points. The Catamounts finished 2014 with a 7-5 record, including a 5-2 mark in SoCon play. WCU’s seven overall wins and five league victories were the highest since 2001. Coach Mark Speir returns all 11 starters on offense and 10 on defense.
Wofford was picked fourth and earned 30 points in the preseason balloting. The Terriers are under the direction of Mike Ayers for the 28th season and return 52 lettermen, including 10 starters on offense. Furman (22) was picked fifth. Head coach Bruce Fowler enters his fifth season in Greenville, S.C., and returns a total of 20 starters from last year.
In its first season as a member of the Southern Conference last year, Mercer finished 6-6 and went 1-6 in league play. The 2015 season will mark just the second year of scholarship football for the Bears, who return all but one starter from last season. Mercer (20) was picked sixth in preseason balloting.
Mercer narrowly edged The Citadel, as the Bulldogs (18) were slotted seventh. Mike Houston returns for his second season in Charleston, S.C. The Citadel returns 10 starters on offense from a team that went 3-4 in league play last year.
Scott Wachenheim assumes the reigns at VMI after spending the previous five seasons as an assistant at Virginia. The Keydets returned to the Southern Conference in 2014 after spending 11 seasons in the Big South. VMI returns 39 lettermen, including nine starters on offense.
2015 SoCon Football Preseason Coaches Poll
School (First-place votes) Points
1. Chattanooga (7) 49
2. Samford (1) 40
3. Western Carolina 38
4. Wofford 30
5. Furman 22
6. Mercer 20
7. The Citadel 18
8. VMI 7
NOTE: Coaches were not permitted to vote for their own teams
School (First-place votes) Points
1. Chattanooga (29) 239
2. Western Carolina (1) 190
3. Samford 176
4. Wofford 148
5. Furman 120
6. Mercer 93
7. The Citadel 82
8. VMI 32
Preseason All-Conference Teams
Offensive Player of the Year: Jacob Huesman, Sr., QB, Chattanooga
Defensive Players of the Year: Michael Pierce, Sr., DL, Samford
First Team Offense
QB Jacob Huesman, Sr., QB, Chattanooga
RB Alex Lakes, So., Mercer
RB Denzel Williams, Jr., Samford
OL Sam Frye, Sr., The Citadel
OL Joe Turner, Sr., Furman
OL Gunnar Bromelow, Sr., Samford
OL Corey Levin, Jr., Chattanooga
OL Anton Wahrby, Jr., Wofford
TE Duncan Fletcher, Jr., Furman
WR Karel Hamilton, Jr., Samford
WR Spearman Robinson, Jr., Western Carolina
First Team Defense
DL Mitchell Jeter, Sr., The Citadel
DL Michael Pierce, Sr., Samford
DL Josh Freeman, Sr., Chattanooga
DL Keionta Davis, Jr., Chattanooga
LB Cory Magwood, Sr., Furman
LB Justin Cooper, Sr., Samford
LB Nakevion Leslie, Jr., Chattanooga
DB James Bradberry, Sr., Samford
DB Dee Virgin, Jr., Chattanooga
DB Lucas Webb, So., Chattanooga
DB Trey Morgan, Jr., Western Carolina
First Team Specialists
PK Henrique Ribeiro, Jr., Chattanooga
P Brian Sanders, Sr., Wofford
RS Chandler Curtis, So., Mercer
Second Team Offense
QB Troy Mitchell, Sr., Western Carolina
RB Darius Ramsey, Sr., Western Carolina
RB Lorenzo Long, Jr., Wofford
OL Alec Hulmes, Sr., Samford
OL Jacob Revis, So., Chattanooga
OL Synjen Herren, Sr., Chattanooga
OL Josh Wineberg, Sr., Western Carolina
OL T.J. Chamberlain, Sr., Wofford
TE Tony Philpot, Sr., Samford
WR Jordan Snellings, Sr., Furman
WR C.J. Board, Jr., Chattanooga
Second Team Defense
DL John Mackey, Sr., Furman
DL Austin Barrett, So., Mercer
DL Helva Matungulu, Sr., Western Carolina
DL Caleb Hawkins, Sr., Western Carolina
(tie) DL E.J. Speller, Sr., Wofford
LB Tyler Ward, Jr., Mercer
LB Terrance Morris, So., Wofford
LB Drake Michaelson, Sr., Wofford
DB Alex Avant, Sr., Mercer
DB Jamerson Blount, Jr., Samford
DB Cedric Nettles, Jr., Chattanooga
DB Sertonuse Harris, Sr., Western Carolina
Second Team Specialists
PK Dillon Christopher, Jr., VMI
P Matt Shiel, So., Mercer
RS Will Gay, Sr., Wofford
NOTE: Coaches were not permitted to vote for their own players.
We caught up with North Carolina coach Larry Fedora at the ACC Kickoff to get his thoughts on the Tar Heels upcoming season and the opener against South Carolina on September 5th in Charlotte. We’ve got the interview for you to enjoy below. [Read more…]