Virginia Tech and Clemson don’t meet for the ACC championship until Saturday, but the Tigers bested the Hokies during the week’s first competition when the league announced its all-ACC teams Monday. Clemson had a league-high nine players represented on the first- or second-teams, one more than Virginia Tech.
On the bright side, Virginia Tech running back David Wilson joined Boston College linebacker Luke Kuechly as the only players in the ACC to be unanimous selections to the first team. Wilson is third in the country with 1,595 rushing yards this year and is just 61 yards away from breaking the school record set by Ryan Williams back in 2009.
Virginia Tech’s defense, which has given up just 15.5 points per game and ranks 12th in the country in total defense despite several injuries to key players, did not have anyone voted onto the ACC’s first-team for the first time since joining the league in 2004.
The Hokies did, however, have six players voted onto the second team. Joining quarterback Logan Thomas were right guard Jaymes Brooks, defensive end James Gayle, cornerback Kyle Fuller, cornerback Jayron Hosley and safety Eddie Whitley. Safety Antone Exum, defensive end J.R. Collins, linebacker Bruce Taylor and place kicker Cody Journell all received enough votes to be named honorable mentions.
Clemson got five players on the all-ACC first team, and Boyd was tabbed as the league’s top quarterback over Thomas. The debate between Boyd and Thomas, both first-year starters, centered around whether voters should focus on how Boyd started the season or how Thomas finished it.
Early on Boyd seemed to be a lock to win the conference’s offensive player of the year award when he threw 24 touchdowns and just three interceptions as the Tigers raced to an 8-0 start. But like Clemson, Boyd has cooled off significantly since then and Thomas has played his best down the stretch, accounting for 23 touchdowns and throwing just two interceptions since the Hokies lost to Clemson back on Oct. 1.
But the biggest snub from a Virginia Tech perspective was sophomore defensive tackle Derrick Hopkins, who has 48 tackles this season despite seeing consistent double teams since his brother, Antoine, went down with a season-ending ACL injury during the Clemson game.
Some would also argue that Fuller has been the Hokies’ defensive MVP this year, becoming Virginia Tech’s most consistent cornerback while also filling in at whip linebacker this year, and should have represented Bud Foster’s unit on the first team defense.
For the record, I do not vote for postseason honors as it is against Washington Post rules. If you’re interested, here’s the complete list of each all-ACC team.