2013 Midseason All-ACC Team: Offense
2013 Midseason All-ACC Team: Offense
College football is nearing the midway point of the season, and needless to say there have been plenty of surprises. The ACC, which only had two teams in the entire Preseason AP Top 25, now has three teams in the top 10. Clemson, Florida State, and Miami have all played well, but the Canes are perhaps the most surprising.
The conference has had two landmark victories that have improved the image of the league in the eyes of many voters. First, Clemson upset Georgia on the opening weekend of the season, beating a Bulldog team many thought could win the national championship. Then, Miami beat Florida, which not only shocked the Sunshine State, but also the entire country.
There have been some individual performances that have jumped off the page as well. Going into the season, Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd was considered to be head and shoulders above any other quarterback in the conference. However, after just a handful of games, there’s a new contender for the title of “Best QB in the ACC.”
Florida State redshirt freshman quarterback Jameis Winston introduced himself to the conference (and the nation) with a tour de force against the Pittsburgh Panthers on Labor Day. Since then, he’s continued to perform consistently, and the Noles offense is even better than they were a year ago. This weekends’ battle between Clemson and Florida State might feature two of the best quarterbacks in ACC history.
So, without further delay, here’s a look at the Midseason All-ACC Offense from Rant Sports.
Quarterback: Jameis Winston-Florida State
Winston and Clemson QB Tajh Boyd are both having spectacular seasons, but at this point, the advantage goes to Winston. His QB rating of 213.9 is good for second in the country, and is more than 40 points better than Boyd’s. Similarly, his outrageous 73.2 completion percentage is tied for second in the country with Johnny Manziel.
He’s thrown 17 touchdowns and just two interceptions, and already has a few Heisman moments on his resume. He came in with as much hype as any freshman QB in recent memory, and has exceeded even the most optimistic expectations. Truth be told, the winner of this Saturday’s game will likely be in the driver’s seat to win All-ACC honors, but for now, Winston gets the nod.
Running Back: Duke Johnson-Miami
Johnson has once again been a dynamic weapon for new Miami offensive coordinator James Coley. The sophomore is second in the conference in rushing (572 yards) and is averaging over 30 yards per kickoff return. He isn’t catching balls out of the backfield as much as he did a year ago, but that’s because they have more viable receiving options on the outside.
Johnson is coming off a 184-yard performance in a critical Coastal Division showdown that Miami won against Georgia Tech. He’s averaging 6.8 yards per carry and will likely get more work in some of the big upcoming games the Hurricanes have left, notable Florida State.
Running Back: Andre Williams-Boston College
Williams has been one of the lone bright spots for an inconsistent Boston College offense. He leads the conference in rushing yards with 838 yards and is second with seven touchdown runs. While his 263 yard performance against Army skews his statistics to a degree, Williams has found success against quality defenses as well.
In fact, he gashed one of the better defenses in the country when he ran for 149-yards against Florida State. He’s the workhorse for an Eagles offense that does not have many playmakers on the outside (besides Alex Amidon).
Wide Receiver: Sammy Watkins-Clemson
After a disappointing sophomore campaign, Watkins has come out this year and looked like the player who burst onto the scene as a freshman. He’s second in the conference with 582-yards receiving and has made several big plays in the pass game for the Tigers.
Watkins has had three consecutive 100-yard receiving games and is likely going to get a ton of targets in this weekends’ game against Florida State. He’s drawing more double teams than he did a year ago, so his production is even more impressive.
Wide Receiver: Jamison Crowder-Duke
Crowder leads the ACC in receptions and receiving yards with 47 and 618 respectively. Also worth noting is the fact that he has had to play with two different quarterbacks. Anthony Boone started the season, but was lost for three weeks following a broken collarbone. However, Crowder’s production didn’t slip when Brandon Connette took over behind center.
The junior has played especially well in recent weeks, including back to back seven catch 140+ yard games against Pittsburgh and Troy. With Boone back taking snaps, expect to see Crowder get into more of a rhythm for a Duke team that lacks explosive receivers.
Tight End: Eric Ebron-North Carolina
Ebron is one of the few bright spots for a Tar Heel team that has underachieved to this point. The 6-foot-4 junior tight end has 23 catches for 333 yards and two scores so far in 2013. He’s been a very reliable target for talented quarterback Bryn Renner.
Ebron’s best game came in a loss at Georgia Tech when he had six catches for 108 yards, including a highlight reel touchdown catch. He is by far the best tight end in the conference.
Offensive Tackle: James Hurst-North Carolina
Hurst became a household name in August because people were eager to watch South Carolina’s Jadeveon Clowney blow past him in the season opener between the Gamecocks and North Carolina.
Hurst contained Clowney, and at times embarrassed him in the national spotlight. Clowney didn’t record a sack, and only managed three tackles for the game, and overall, was a major disappointment. While some of that is on Clowney, Hurst deserves some credit as well.
Offensive Guard: Brandon Linder-Miami
Linder is key contributor to a Miami offensive line that has helped to reestablish the Canes as one of the premier programs in the ACC. He’s a very intelligent player and does a nice job in Miami zone running schemes. Also, he’s done a great job protecting Miami quarterback Stephen Morris.
Center: Bryan Stork-Florida State
Although Stork missed some time due to a concussion, he’s been dominant while healthy. He makes all the line calls for Jimbo Fisher’s offense, and is the leader of an offensive line that has only yielded nine sacks through five games.
Offensive Guard: Andrew Miller-Virginia Tech
Miller suffered an ankle injury against Western Carolina, but has battled his way through the injury and continued to play at a high level. The Virginia Tech offense has been stagnant at times this year, but that is not a reflection of Miller who is an outstanding interior lineman.
Offensive Tackle: Brandon Thomas-Clemson
Thomas could very well be the best pass protector in the league, and was first-team selection a year ago. He’s only 6-foot-3, but has nice feet that allow him to get his hands on pass rushers and negate their momentum.
While observers tend to focus on the skill position players in Clemson (who wouldn’t?), Thomas is always one of the best players on the field.