Wake Forest sophomore receiver Greg Dortch scores a touchdown earlier this season against Syracuse. 

Remember how I said there were a few difficult positions to pick for the All-ACC team?

Yeah, just about every position is like that when picking the All-America teams.

This doesn’t seem as bad now, but it did seem like trying to pick the All-ACC defensive end spots for just about every position. Maybe the only easy position was quarterback, which is redacted because it would reveal my Heisman Trophy selection, and voters can’t do that until after Saturday night’s announcement.

So, here’s my first- and second-team All-America selections for the Associated Press:

First team



RB_Travis Etienne, Clemson

RB_Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin

OT_Jonah Williams, Alabama

OG_Terrone Prescod, N.C. State

C_Sam Mustipher, Notre Dame

OG_Beau Benzschawel, Wisconsin

OT_Dalton Risner, Kansas State

TE_ Jace Sternberger, Texas A&M

WR_Andy Isabella, UMass

WR_Marquise Brown, Oklahoma

All-purpose player_Darrell Henderson, Memphis

K_Andre Szmyt, Syracuse

My take: The offensive line actually wasn’t that hard to pick, thanks to the Pro Football Focus college account on Twitter. It helped that I knew Williams is the best left tackle in college football. Let’s also take a moment to marvel at the fact that Prescod didn’t make first-, second- or third-team All-ACC. That’s a travesty. Etienne and Taylor have clearly been the best running backs in college football this season, to me, and Henderson has been one of the most-dangerous players with the ball in his hands this season, with 25 touchdowns — Wake Forest is tasked with stopping him in the Birmingham Bowl. Tight end and receiver were the two toughest positions to pick, but Isabella’s numbers are undeniable and Brown has been the best receiver on an offense averaging a record number of yards per play.


DE_Clelin Ferrell, Clemson

DT_Quinnen Williams, Alabama

DT_Christian Wilkins, Clemson

DE_ Jachai Polite, Florida

LB_Devin White, LSU

LB_Josh Allen, Kentucky

LB_ Ben Burr-Kirven, Washington

CB_Greedy Williams, LSU

S_Grant Delpit, LSU

S_Deionte Thompson, Alabama

CB_Byron Maxwell, Washington

P_Braden Mann, Texas A&M

My take: Well, the defensive tackle spots were easy. Williams and Wilkins have been dominant up the middle. Ferrell was also easy to pencil in early — the difficulty was picking the other defensive end spot. Polite stands out not only for his 11 sacks and 18 tackles for loss, but also for his five fumbles forced. Lots of SEC-influence in the back-seven, but that has more to do with individual talents and credentials than a conference’s reputation. Maxwell gets overlooked because of Georgia’s Deandre Baker, but he’s — perhaps quietly — been the best cover cornerback in the country.

Second team



RB_Benny Snell Jr., Kentucky

RB_ Trayveon Williams, Texas A&M

OT_Andre Dillard, Washington State

OG_Ross Reynolds, Iowa

C_Ross Pierschbacher, Alabama

OG_Michael Dieter, Wisconsin

OT_Greg Little, Ole Miss

TE_T.J. Hockenson, Iowa

WR_A.J. Brown, Ole Miss

WR_Rondale Moore, Purdue

All-purpose player_Greg Dortch, Wake Forest

K_Cole Tracy, LSU

My take: The last positions I filled in, on the entire ballot, were receiver and all-purpose back. And it came down to thinking Moore and Dortch have been better for their teams than any other receivers, which is an argument I’m comfortable making. Both have been program-changing talents at their respective schools. Hockenson is the Mackey Award winner for best tight end, and he was the second-best tight end on his own team, according to NFL Draft pundits. Again, the offensive line is easier to pick with the Pro Football Focus college information.


DE_Zach Allen, BC

DT_Jerry Tillery, Notre Dame

DT_Dexter Lawrence, Clemson

DE_Montez Sweat, Mississippi State

LB_Kenneth Murray, Oklahoma

LB_Te’Von Coney, Notre Dame

LB_David Woodward, Utah State

CB_Deandre Baker, Georgia

S_Taylor Rapp, Washington

S_Andre Cisco, Syracuse

CB_Bryce Hall, Virginia

P_James Smith, Cincinnati

My take: Some love for Utah State, which you probably could’ve guessed if you’ve seen my top-25 ballots. Woodward, according to those Pro Football Focus numbers, has been the surest-tackler in the country, though. It’s not just because I like the Aggies. The four picks in the secondary could easily pass for first-team selections — it wasn’t easy to move any of them down to the second-team. Lawrence doesn’t have the numbers that other defensive tackles have, but it’s more than that with him. His size and strength on the interior creates opportunities for Ferrell and Wilkins and every linebacker Clemson has.

Keep up with all the latest on Wake Forest athletics, from analysis to features and lots more Deacons news you won’t find anywhere else.

Recommended for you

Load comments