2013 Midseason All-ACC Team: Defense
2013 Mid-Season Report: All-ACC Defense Team
We've officially reached the halfway point of the college football regular season. We've seen plenty of big-time plays from plenty of big-time players. And thus far some of the pretenders have been weeded out, and the contenders need to prove they still belong as the official BCS Rankings appear for the first time this coming Sunday. The ACC has certainly played with a big chip on its shoulder, with Clemson and FSU being the crown jewels thus far, while Miami (FL) has quietly remained undefeated and made its way into the top ten, even beating top ranked Florida early in the season. .
But the ACC is not without talented players. Now that players have had a chance to establish themselves, it’s time to see which players have played at an All-ACC level up until this point in the season. While it’s very likely that some of these players won’t make the official list, this is still a good list of players who have made plays for their respective teams and become a big part of what their respective defenses do. Each of these players have made impacts to the point that their team’s defense losing them could be a big enough impact to alter the course of a game. Of course, also remember that this is simply a mid-season report, and there is still plenty of football left to be played. Alot can and will change between now and the end of November.
Clemson DE Vic Beasley
The former journeyman has gone from position hopping around Clemson's roster to becoming the nation's leader in sacks, with his count currently at nine. Despite his 6--foot-2, 235-pound frame, Vic Beasley has shown the athleticism to play with his hand on the ground in a three point stance and in a two point stance. He has held up well enough against the run and has shown the explosion needed to rush the passer. He has provided the spark for Clemson's pass rush and is a large part of this defense's improvement in year two under defensive coordinator Brent Venables. Thus far, teams haven't been able to truly contain the junior, and teams will be sure to pay closer attention to him on the field moving forward.
Virginia DE Eli Harold
Defensive end Eli Harold is of a similar build to opposite defensive end Vic Beasley, but like his counterpart, he takes advantage of his athleticism at his position, tied for fourth in the ACC in sacks with 5.5. Harold has continued the tradition of providing the Cavs with a quality pass rush on a regular basis, and his athleticism makes him a versatile option to rush the quarterback with his hand in the dirt or in a two-point stance.
Syracuse DT Jay Bromley
One of the few bright spots for the Syracuse Orange thus far has been the play of their stud defensive tackle Jay Bromley, who is third in the ACC in sacks with six thus far on the season. Bromley provides a strong inside pass rush and also plays a big factor in the running game because of the way he disrupts opposing offensive lines. His presence on the inside provides problems for opposing offenses when it comes to running between the tackles or throwing the football.
Pittsburgh DT Aaron Donald
The one defensive lineman competing for Beasley's lead spot as the nation's sack leader is none other than Pittsburgh defensive lineman Aaron Donald. Donald might be undersized for a defensive tackle at only 6-foot and 285 points, but his burst, good hands and hustle have made him into one of the best pass rushing threats at defensive tackle and gives the ACC its darling reputation for producing great pass rushers. Despite his size, he is better suited inside at the three-technique as opposed the the five technique and is a better fit in a 4-3 where he can better utilize his explosiveness.
Maryland LB Marcus Whitfield
One of two Maryland Terps linebackers to make the midseason list, Marcus Whitfield has been one of the best linebackers in the ACC this season. Whitfield is tied for fourth in the ACC with Eli Harold in sacks at 5.5 and has totaled 25 tackles on the season. Whitfield has primarily found his strength in rushing the quarterback and has done well with providing a pass rush for Maryland's defense.
Maryland LB L.A. Goree
The second Maryland Terp linebacker on this list L.A. Goree doesn't have the sack numbers, notching only one sack thus far, but he has racked up 46 total tackles thus far into the season. Goree has shown quite a nose for the ball, notching two games with double digit tackles, including a 15-tackle performance against Virginia and a 10 tackle performance against Florida International. Goree has been a tackling machine for the Terps, and he and Whitfield prove to be a very component duo and arguably the best linebacker duo in the ACC.
Clemson LB Stephone Anthony
The second Clemson Tiger on this list, the former five-star linebacker has begun to make his presence known on the field and has had a nose for the ball in Clemson's defense, seemingly being around the ball on nearly every play. Anthony has totaled 41 tackles on the season thus far coupled with three sacks. Anthony has established himself as an every down player in his third season, and his growth under Brent Venables has been evident this season.
Virginia Tech CB Kyle Fuller
Despite the fact that Virginia Tech has been unable to score points on offense, their defense has been one of the best in college football. And much of their strength lies in their strong secondary. Cornerback Kyle Fuller is part of that equation, as he has two interceptions and over seven passes broken up thus far into the season. He also has 24 tackles to go along with his solid coverage ability.
Virginia Tech CB Brandon Facyson
Another piece in the Hokies' secondary is fellow corner Brandon Facyson, who is the league leader in interceptions with four. One of the more intriguing aspects about Facyson is his size. At 6-foot-2, 183 pounds, he is able to matchup against taller receivers on the outside and provide less mismatch opportunities. There aren't many tall corners that are 6-foot-2 who can even cover like Facyson has in the ACC. He essentially has the size of a safety.
North Carolina S Tre Boston
The lone North Carolina Tar Heel, Tre Boston has been one of the better safeties in the ACC midway through the season. Boston is tied for fourth in the ACC with two interceptions and has totaled 22 tackles on the season. Boston has the speed and range to cover the deep field in the Tar Heels' secondary and plays well in space. He's also not afraid to come up and help in run support and is talked about as one of the better safety prospects in April's next draft.
Virginia Tech S Detrick Bonner
The third Hokie on the midseason list, Detrick Bonner has been another reason the Hokies has have great success on defense. Tied for fourth in the ACC in interceptions with two, Bonner was able to make the switch from one safety position to another in Bud Foster's defense, and it has certainly paid dividends. The Hokies have put together a legitimate secondary in which all three of their players all have solid NFL potential.