Neither Virginia nor Virginia Tech had a representative on the preseason All-ACC squad released Tuesday, joining Pittsburgh as the only teams without a player picked in voting by media who cover the conference.
In 2010, Tech had one player on the team while UVa was shut out.
Clelin Ferrell, a Richmond native and junior defensive end, was one of a league-high eight selections from Clemson, the defending ACC champion and preseason favorite. That included the Tigers gobbling up all four spots on the defensive line, leaving no room in the media’s voting for Virginia Tech senior defensive tackle Ricky Walker.
Last season, Ferrell ranked second in the ACC with 9.5 sacks and third in the league in tackles for loss with 18.
“I’ve been practicing against him for the past three years,” said Clemson senior offensive tackle Mitch Hyatt. “He’s just a great competitor. Whenever I think in practice I’ve got a leg up on him one day, the next day he’ll somehow just — whatever leg up I had was just gone, and he just is beating me the next day. It just goes back and forth. It’s been a fun journey to have with him just to be able to compete with him every day.”
Greg Dortch, who is from Richmond and had a breakout season last year as a redshirt freshman, made the team as an all-purpose player for Wake Forest. His primary position, wide receiver, had its slots filled by Louisville’s Jaylen Smith, North Carolina State’s Kelvin Harmon and Clemson’s Hunter Renfrow.
Last season, Dortch was the Demon Deacons’ top offensive weapon, recording 53 catches for 722 yards and 9 touchdowns, while also return punts and kickoffs.
“He’s healthy, and obviously he’s a big part of our offense, so we need Greg to be Greg Dortch,” Wake coach Dave Clawson said. “We need him to be elusive, and certainly he can be a huge role on special teams for us. But a lot of what we do on offense goes through the slot position, and we feel we have a pretty good one there.”
Virginia senior wide receiver Olamide Zaccheaus didn’t make the team at receiver or all-purpose player, though he did receive a vote for preseason player of the year. Voters were apparently split on which spot to vote for Zaccheaus.
The player of the year honor went to Boston College running back A.J. Dillon, who edged out Clemson defensive tackle Christian Wilkins by three votes. Dillon is the ACC’s leading returning rusher after going for 1,589 yards and 14 touchdowns last season for the Eagles.
Also Tuesday, Tech’s Walker and Virginia safety Juan Thornhill were named to the preseason watch list for the Bronco Nagurski Trophy, given annually to the top defender in college football. Walker also was placed on the watch list for the Outland Trophy, for the best interior lineman.
But neither player received a preseason all-conference nod.