Joe Vellano named first-team all-ACC in inaugural coaches’ poll

(Associated Press)

Maryland senior defensive lineman Joe Vellano backed up his first-team all-ACC selection on the postseason media ballot by receiving the third-most votes of any defensive player in the inaugural ACC coaches’ poll, released Wednesday. 

Vellano, one of the Terrapins’ four captains, finished with 61 tackles (14 for a loss) and six sacks this season, despite playing the final month on a badly sprained ankle suffered against Georgia Tech. The 2011 all-American ranked fourth in the league with 1.17 tackles for a loss per game and seventh with 0.50 sacks per game.

Joining Vellano was dynamic freshman Stefon Diggs, named the second-team specialist after garnering 1,896 all-purpose yards, the second-highest single-season total in Maryland history. He also returned kickoffs for touchdowns against Virginia and North Carolina. Despite leading the Terrapins with 54 catches for 848 yards and six touchdowns, Diggs was absent from the all-ACC wide receivers list, failing to make even honorable mention.

Diggs, however, finished second in the voting for both rookie of the year and offensive rookie of the year, losing to Miami’s Duke Johnson in both categories, 8 votes to 3. 

Terps linebacker Demetrius Hartsfield earned second-team honors in the coaches’ poll, leading the team in tackles despite suffering a season-ending ACL tear versus the Yellow Jackets in early November.

Senior defensive lineman A.J. Francis earned honorable mention after recording 43 tackles, nine TFL, four sacks, three fumble recoveries and three blocked kicks, and was joined by linebackers Kenneth Tate (42 tackles, 6.5 TFL, four sacks) and Darin Drakeford (9.5 TFL, team-high 6.0 sacks). 

Alex Prewitt covers the Washington Capitals. Follow him on Twitter @alex_prewitt or email him at



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Matt Bonesteel · December 5, 2012

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