Clemson Leads With Six on All-ACC Preseason Team; NC State’s Leary Projected as POTY
GREENSBORO, N.C. (theACC.com) – Clemson leads all schools with six players on the 27-member 2022 All-Atlantic Coast Conference Preseason Football Team announced on Wednesday.
NC State followed with five selections, including quarterback Devin Leary, who was voted the ACC Preseason Player of the Year.
Preseason honors were determined by a vote of 164 media members, including those who were credentialed for last week’s ACC Football Kickoff in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Clemson, which was picked by the media as the likely conference champion in the ACC Preseason Poll released earlier this week, placed a balanced contingent on the preseason All-ACC team with two players on offense and three on defense in addition to placekicker B.T. Potter.
NC State’s Leary is coming off a 2021 campaign in which he became the first and only quarterback in ACC history to hit the 35 (touchdowns)-5 (interceptions) threshold in a single season. He set a new school single-season record with his 35 passing touchdowns, breaking the previous mark of 34 held by Philip Rivers (2003).
Leary led the 2022 ACC Preseason Player of the Year balloting with 40 votes, followed by Wake Forest quarterback Sam Hartman (30) and Miami quarterback Tyler Van Dyke (21). A total of 11 players received votes.
North Carolina’s Josh Downs led all players named to the preseason team with 128 votes at wide receiver and was also selected as the team specialist with 57 votes at that position. Downs set program records in 2021 with 101 receptions and 1,335 receiving yards. He ranked third in the ACC (13th nationally) averaging 9.8 yards per punt return.
Clemson offensive tackle Jordan McFadden, who received 127 preseason votes, enters the 2022 campaign having played 1,971 career snaps over 42 career games (25 starts). He is joined on the preseason All-ACC offensive line by Miami tackle Zion Nelson, Louisville guard Caleb Chandler, Boston College guard Christian Mahogany and NC State center Grant Gibson.
Syracuse sophomore running back Sean Tucker placed third among all players with 125 votes following a 2021 season in which his 1,496 rushing yards set a program record. Leary and Tucker are joined in the All-ACC preseason backfield by Clemson’s Will Shipley, who rushed 149 times for 738 yards (5.0 avg.) with 11 touchdowns, caught 16 passes for 116 yards and averaged 27.1 yards on 14 kickoff returns as a freshman in 2021.
In addition to Downs, the preseason All-ACC wide receiver corps boasts two more perpetual big-play threats in Wake Forest’s A.T. Perry and Boston College’s Zay Flowers.
Perry set the Wake Forest single-season record with 15 touchdown receptions last season, three more than any other player in the program’s history. Flowers’ 122 career receptions rank 12th all-time at Boston College, while his 1,979 receiving yards are 10th on the Eagles’ all-time list.
Miami fifth-year senior Will Mallory led the preseason voting at tight end following a 2021 season with 30 receptions for 347 yards with four touchdowns. All-purpose back Keytaon Thompson of Virginia led the Cavaliers with 78 receptions for 990 yards last season while rushing for 247 yards and four touchdowns.
Clemson and NC State each placed three players on the defensive side of the preseason team following a 2021 season in which the Tigers led the ACC in total defense and the Wolfpack ranked third.
The Tigers earned two spots among the front four as end Myles Murphy (120 votes) and tackle Bryan Bresee (116) led the defensive balloting. They are joined by the Pitt tandem of end Habakkuk Baldonado and tackle Calijah Kancey, who combined for 16 quarterback sacks last season.
NC State’s Drake Thomas (fourth among ACC tacklers last season with 100) led the voting for the three-man linebacking corps and is joined by Clemson’s Trenton Simpson and the Wolfpack’s Payton Wilson.
Florida State safety Jammie Robinson, who tied for the conference lead in interceptions last season, led the preseason secondary balloting with 93 votes. He is joined by Louisville cornerback Kei’Trel Clark, Boston College cornerback Josh DeBerry and NC State safety Tanner Ingle.
Potter ranks fourth in Clemson history in career points by a kicker (344) and is the first Tiger to score at least 100 points in three different seasons. Miami’s Lou Hedley, a 2021 Ray Guy Award semifinalist, was the preseason choice at punter after averaging 44.9 yards on 47 punts last year.
2022 Preseason All-ACC Football Team
(Total votes in parenthesis)
QB Devin Leary, NC State (56)
RB Sean Tucker, Syracuse (125)
RB Will Shipley, Clemson (112)
WR Josh Downs, North Carolina (128)
WR A.T. Perry, Wake Forest (111)
WR Zay Flowers, Boston College (104)
TE Will Mallory, Miami (69)
AP Keytaon Thompson, Virginia (70)
OT Jordan McFadden, Clemson (127)
OT Zion Nelson, Miami (82)
OG Caleb Chandler, Louisville (104)
OG Christian Mahogany, Boston College (67)
C Grant Gibson, NC State (90)
DE Myles Murphy, Clemson (120)
DE Habakkuk Baldonado, Pitt (54)
DT Bryan Bresee, Clemson (116)
DT Calijah Kancey, Pitt (62)
LB Drake Thomas, NC State (92)
LB Trenton Simpson, Clemson (82)
LB Payton Wilson, NC State (60)
CB Kei’Trel Clark, Louisville (70)
CB Josh DeBerry, Boston College (65)
S Jammie Robinson, Florida State (93)
S Tanner Ingle, NC State (63)
PK B.T. Potter, Clemson (99)
P Lou Hedley, Miami (101)
SP Josh Downs, North Carolina (57)
Preseason Player of the Year
1. Devin Leary, QB, NC State (40)
2. Sam Hartman, QB, Wake Forest (30)
3. Tyler Van Dyke, QB, Miami (21)
4. Bryan Breese, DT, Clemson (14)
4-t. Brennan Armstrong, QB, Virginia (14)
6-t. Malik Cunningham, QB, Louisville (12)
6-t. Josh Downs, WR, North Carolina (12)
8. Sean Tucker, RB, Syracuse (11)
9. Myles Murphy, DT, Clemson (5)
10. Trenton Simpson, LB, Clemson (3)
11. Jammie Robinson, S, Florida State (2)