GREENSBORO, NC – Reigning Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Year Tajh Boyd of Clemson leads the 2013 Preseason All-ACC Football Team announced on Wednesday.
Boyd, who enters his senior season with 8,053 career passing yards and 73 career touchdown passes, was the overwhelming choice at quarterback in balloting by media in attendance at the 2013 ACC Football Kickoff, held earlier this week at Greensboro’s Grandover Resort.
Boyd, who was also voted the 2013 ACC Preseason Player of the Year, is one of three players from ACC preseason favorite Clemson on the 25-member squad. Florida State led all schools with six players, and four from North Carolina were voted to the team.
Duke, Miami and Wake Forest followed with two selections apiece, while Boston College, Georgia Tech Maryland, Pittsburgh, Virginia and Virginia Tech each placed one player on the team.
Nine student-athletes named to the 2013 Preseason All-ACC Team were first- or second-team All-ACC offensive selections last season: Clemson’s Boyd, Wake Forest wide receiver Michael Campanaro, North Carolina tight end Eric Ebron and tackle James Hurst, Florida State guard Tre’ Jackson and center Bryan Stork, Miami running back Duke Johnson, Clemson placekicker Chandler Catanzaro and Maryland kick return specialist Stefon Diggs.
Seven members of the 2013 All-ACC Preseason defensive unit were first- or second-team All-ACC in 2012: Duke cornerback Ross Cockrell and punter Will Monday; Florida State cornerback Lamarcus Joyner and linebacker Christian Jones, North Carolina defensive end Kareem Martin, Wake Forest nose tackle Nikita Whitlock, and Virginia Tech linebacker Jack Tyler.
Boyd, who was named on 59 of the 65 ballots cast, joins his teammate, wide receiver Sammy Watkins and North Carolina’s Hurst as repeat Preseason All-ACC selections from last season. Florida State’s Joyner and Wake Forest’s Whitlock are repeat Preseason All-ACC defensive selections from 2012.
Joyner, a former safety, was named to the 2013 Preseason All-ACC team at cornerback. Joyner received 43 total votes – 32 at the corner and 11 at his former position.
Boyd is joined in the backfield of the Preseason All-ACC team by running backs Duke Johnson of Miami and James Wilder Jr. of Florida State.
Johnson, the 2012 ACC Rookie of the Year, placed third in the conference in rushing last season with 947 yards and ranked ninth nationally in all-purpose yardage at 171.67 per game. Wilder rushed for 635 yards and averaged 5.8 yards per carry. The pair placed 1-2 in the voting ahead of Syracuse’s Jerome Smith, whose 1,171 yards last season ranks first among all returning conference team rushers in 2013. Smith and the Orange join Pitt in making their ACC debuts this fall.
The receiving corps includes Watkins, the 2011 ACC Rookie of the Year, and Wake Forest’s Michael Campanaro, who leads all active ACC players with 162 catches. North Carolina’s Eric Ebron received the nod at right end after hauling in 40 catches for 625 yards and four touchdowns in 2012.
Florida State’s Jackson and UNC’s Hurst are joined on the offensive line by FSU center Bryan Stork, Virginia tackle Morgan Moses and Miami guard Brandon Linder.
Clemson’s Catanzaro enters the 2013 season having made good on 26 of his last 27 field goal attempts (.963), including a school-record streak of 20 straight three-pointers.
The defensive front features ends Martin of UNC and Georgia Tech’s Jeremiah Attaochu, while Whitlock and Florida State’s Timmy Jernigan man the tackle positions. Whitlock and Jernigan prevailed in a tight vote that also included Pitt’s Aaron Donald, also a candidate for a number of preseason national awards.
The linebacking corps features Virginia Tech’s Jack Tyler in addition to Florida State’s Jones and Boston College’s Kevin Pierre-Louis. Duke’s Cockrell and FSU’s Joyner are joined in the secondary by North Carolina’s Tre Boston and Pitt’s Jason Hendricks.
BC’s Pierre-Louis ranked third among ACC players in tackles per game last season (9.4), while Virginia Tech’s Tyler ranked fifth (9.2). Attaochu’s 13 quarterback sacks tied for second among conference defenders. UNC’s Martin tied for second in tackles for loss per game (1.29).
Pitt’s Hendricks earned All-Big East honors in 2012 after registering 90 tackles and six interceptions. Duke’s Cockrell tied for first in the ACC with five interceptions and third in passes defended (18). UNC’s Boston was among a group of players with four interceptions in 2012.
Maryland’s Diggs made a huge impact as a freshman last season, returning kickoffs 99 and 100 yards for touchdowns and piled up 172.36 all-purpose yards per game. Duke’s Monday led the ACC in punting as a freshman, averaging 44.6 yards per kick.
Miami’s Johnson followed Boyd in the overall voting with 58 votes. Clemson’s Watkins was named on 57 of the 65 ballots.
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