May 27, 2011
CLEMSON, SC – Starting center Dalton Freeman leads 11 Clemson players who are listed on various preseason All-ACC teams according to Phil Steele’s College Football Preview magazine. Steele announced his All-ACC teams on Friday. The magazine hits news stands on June 7.
Freeman was named the first-team center. He has started 22 consecutive games at center for the Tigers and allowed just two sacks all of last year. He had 58 knockdown blocks for the season and graded in the 80s in 10 of the 13 games. He started each of the last nine games during Clemson’s 2009 season when the Tigers won the Atlantic Division of the ACC. He has been an Academic All-ACC selection each of the last two years.
Clemson had three selections on offense on Steele’s second-team. Andre Ellington (RB), DeAndre Hopkins (WR) and Dwayne Allen (TE) were all chosen. Dawson Zimmerman was named the second-team punter.
Ellington scored 12 touchdowns in just nine games last year and he rushed for 686 yards and 5.8 yards per carry. He also averaged 35 yards per kickoff return. He is second in career yards per rush (6.3) among returning ACC backs. Hopkins had 52 catches for 637 yards last year when he led the team in both categories as a first-year freshman. He had 34 receptions for 451 yards in his last five games.
Allen set a Clemson record for receptions by a sophomore tight end last year when he had 33 catches. He was a mid-season selection to the John Mackey Award list and was a second-team All-ACC selection. Zimmerman had a 40.6 net punting average last year, the best by a Clemson punter since 1984. He was one of 10 semifinalists for the Ray Guy Award.
Antoine McClain (OG), Landon Walker (OT) and Andre Branch (DE) were named to Phil Steele’s third team preseason All-ACC squad. McClain is in his third season as a starting guard and has 27 career starts and a team best 148 career knockdown blocks entering his senior year. Walker has 35 starts under his belt, more than any other active Tiger. Branch had 55 tackles, including five sacks in 2010, and looks to become one of the leaders of Clemson’s defensive line as a senior.
Brandon Thompson (MG), Corico Hawkins (LB) and Rashard Hall (SAF) were all named to Steele’s fourth team All-ACC defense. Thompson has been an outstanding run stopper the last three years. He has had 106 tackles over the last two seasons and is a reason Clemson has ranked in the top 25 in scoring defense the last three seasons.
Hawkins is Clemson’s top returning tackler, as he had 71 tackles last year, third on the team. Hall has eight career receptions, tops among active Clemson players . He had 65 tackles last year and is a two-time Academic All-ACC performer.
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