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Jim Young's 2013 All-ACC Football Ballot

Saturday, December 7, 2013 3:32pm

Jim Young FINALLY reveals his All-ACC ballot.

Let's face it, even though FSU is playing for the ACC title and a berth in the BCS title game tonight, there are bigger stakes involved. The Seminoles will be playing to prove they deserved more than one player on the first-team All-ACC defense.

I kid ... somewhat. I got a whooooole lot of angry tweets from FSU fans who were incredulous that there weren't more guys honored from  the nation's No. 1 defense. 

I orginally planned to write a piece explaining how this could happen, pointing out the inevitable imperfections in the process and then proposing potential solutions. But then a lot of stuff happened - Jim Grobe retired, the ACC/Big Ten Challenge took place, the Jameis Winston investigation wrapped up, I got into a four-car wreck, etc. Also, I realized we're talking about an all-conference team, not a national health care program. Maybe we should just, you know, "embace debate."

(Shudder)

Forget I used that phrase. Please. Instead, take a look at my ballot. Feel free to compare it to the overall media vote. And if you've got issues with it - I can't imagine why you would, to be honest - then send me a tweet to @accsports.

FIRST TEAM offense

 

POSITION

NAME

SCHOOL

Quarterback Jameis Winston Florida State
Running Back Andre Williams Boston College
Running Back Devonta Freeman  Florida State
Wide Receiver Sammy Watkins Clemson
Wide Receiver Jamison Crowder Duke
Wide Receiver Rashad Greene Florida State
Tight End Eric Ebron North Carolina
Offensive Tackle Cameron Erving Florida State
Offensive Tackle James Hurst North Carolina
Offensive Guard Tre Jackson Florida State
Offensive Guard Shaq Mason Georgia Tech
Center Bryan Stork Florida State
Kicker Nate Freese Boston College
Specialist Ryan Switzer North Carolina 

This was ... identical to the overall media vote. Weird ... let's just move on. 

First Team Defense

 

Position

Name

School

Defensive End Kareem Martin North Carolina
Defensive End Vic Beasley Clemson
Defensive Tackle Aaron Donald Pittsburgh
Defensive Tackle Nikita Whitlock Wake Forest
Linebacker Telvin Smith Florida State
Linebacker Christian Jones Florida State
Linebacker Kevin Pierre-Louis Boston College
Cornerback Lamarcus Joyner Florida State
Cornerback Ross Cockrell Duke
Safety Jeremy Cash Duke
Safety Anthony Harris Virginia
Punter Pat O'DonnellMiami 

Take note FSU fans: I differed from the rest of my media colleagues in that I voted MORE of your guys on the first team. Of course you'll still be mad at me for not putting Timmy Jernigan on there, but still. 

Here's part of my rationale. One -  I just didn't see many game-changers at the linebacker position, so in that situation I'm going to go with the guys who were part of the ACC's top unit. The one I agonized about was Virginia Tech's Jack Tyler. I almost put him on instead of Kevin Pierre-Louis.

The other tough call was Whitlock over Jernigan. I get why FSU fans are irate that Jernigan's not on here. He's a special talent. But no way was I leaving Aaron Donald off. So then it came down to Whitlock and Jernigan. And Whitlock won out for me because in every game he's THE guy opposing offensive coordinators game plan for when facing the Demon Deacons. Yet he was still immensely productive, and single-handedly altered several games in Wake's favor. 

Second Team Offense

 

Position

Name

School

QuarterbackTajh BoydClemson 
Running Back Duke Johnson Miami 
Running Back Kevin Parks Virginia 
Wide ReceiverAlex HurnsMiami
Wide ReceiverDevin StreetPittsburgh
Wide Receiver Kelvin BenjaminFlorida State 
Tight End Nick O'LearyFlorida State 
Offensive Tackle Matt PatchanBoston College
Offensive TackleBrandon ThomasClemson
Offensive GuardJosue Matias Florida State 
Offensive Guard Brandon Linder Miami 
CenterAndy Galik Boston College 
Kicker Robert Aguayo Florida State 

Sorry, left this chart one row too short - Miami's Stacy Coley is the specialist. 

I'm not going to get into offensive line voting. It's just an area which is very, very subjective. I did disagree - and this pains me to admit it - with having Michael Campanaro on the second team. Y'all know I love Camp. But he was injured for a good chunk of the year and wide receiver may be the deepest position in the ACC. There were plenty of other talented options. That's why I went with Kelvin Benjamin on my ballot. I also chose Devin Street instead of his younger teammate, Tyler Boyd. Street performed better in Pitt's more important games. 

Second Team Defense

 

Position

Name

School

Defensive End Jeremiah Attaochu Georgia Tech 
Defensive End Kasim Edebali Boston College 
Defensive Tackle Timmy Jernigan Florida State 
Defensive Tackle Andre Monroe Maryland 
Linebacker Jack Tyler Virginia Tech 
Linebacker Kelby Brown Duke 
Linebacker Stephone Anthony Clemson 
Cornerback Kendall Fuller Virginia Tech 
Cornerback Bashaud Breeland Clemson 
Safety Terrence Brooks Florida State 
Safety Ray Vinopal Pittsburgh 

Left this chart one player short. UNC's Tommy Hibbard was my punter. 

When addressing fan gripes about all-conference teams, I made the point that you never hear fans complain about the media voting one of their guys too high. UNC's Tre Boston may be the exception. The media picked him second team and several Tar Heel fans disagreed vehemently.  I actually put him on the third team and I'm not sure I could give you a rational defense of it. Safety was the bizarro wide receiver this year in the ACC.

Third Team Offense

 

Position

Name

School

Quarterback Logan Thomas Virginia Tech 
Running Back Roderick McDowellClemson 
Running Back Jerome Smith Syracuse 
Wide Receiver Alex Amidon Boston College 
Wide Receiver Quinshad Davis North Carolina 
Wide Receiver Tyler Boyd Pittsburgh 
Tight End Braxton Deaver Duke 
Offensive Tackle Morgan Moses Virginia 
Offensive Tackle Perry Simmons Duke 
Offensive Guard Laken Tomlinson Duke 
Offensive Guard Tyler Shatley Clemson 
Center Macky MacPherson Syracuse 
Kicker Chandler Catanzaro Clemson 

Again, the chart's one spot short. I had Duke KR DeVon Edwards as my specialist.

I spent quite a bit of time debating whether Logan Thomas or Duke backup QB/touchdown machine Brandon Connette should be my third-team QB. Then I noticed that Connette wasn't even an option on the ballot. Welp. 

Third Team Defense

 

Position

Name

School

Defensive End J.R. Collins Virginia Tech 
Defensive End Kenny Anunike Duke 
Defensive Tackle Luther Maddy Virginia Tech 
Defensive Tackle Grady Jarrett Clemson 
Linebacker Denzel Perryman Miami 
Linebacker Marquis Spruill Syracuse 
Linebacker Robert Caldwell NC State 
Cornerback Kevin Johnson Wake Forest 
Cornerback Jemea Thomas Georgia Tech 
Safety Durell Eskridge Syracuse 
Safety Tre Boston North Carolina 

My third-team punter was A.J. Hughes of Virginia Tech. 

Speaking of the Hokies ... 

I didn't hear as many gripes from their fans - probably because they're griping more about losing three times in their final five games - but the Hokies also had cause for ire. Virginia Tech actually gave up less yards per game than FSU - 269.6 to 271.0, third-best total in the country. But the Hokies had ZERO players on the first team. 

But really, maybe the better measure of how many of your players are all-ACC period, regardless of team. The Seminoles wound up with seven total on the three teams (I actually had five, a number that was likely too low). The Hokies had six (I had four.) 

The point? At some positions there may be one guy in the league better than your guy. But if you have a bunch of players who are in the top three in their position in the league - as FSU and Virginia Tech did - then you're going to have a dominant defense.