As we approach the midpoint of the season (can you believe it?), it’s time to start tracking this year’s award candidates for the ACC’s Offensive Player of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year and Coach of the Year. Keep in mind this is a fluid list, and players can earn their way on and play their way off as the season progresses. As we head into Week 6, here’s a look at your league leaders:
Offensive Player of the Year
Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd: He’s already playing at a record-setting pace and is currently leading the ACC in passing average per game with 291.8 yards. He is third in pass efficiency and has been making good decisions, having thrown just two interceptions to 14 touchdowns in 168 pass attempts.
Georgia Tech quarterback Tevin Washington: His efficiency as a passer and his ability to manage the game are a big reason Georgia Tech is ranked 13th nationally and 5-0 heading into Saturday's game against Maryland. Tech isn't throwing more often this season, but Washington is completing 54.7 percent of his passes. He has thrown 10 touchdowns and just one interception, and his pass rating of 260.7 would be the highest in school history. He has completed four passes longer than 70 yards.
Virginia Tech running back David Wilson: He IS the Hokies’ offense so far. He leads the ACC in rushing with 128 yards per game, has five rushing touchdowns and 640 yards so far. He is second in the ACC in all-purpose yards with 170.2 per game.
Defensive Player of the Year
Clemson defensive end Andre Branch: He had a career-high-tying 11 tackles, and a record-tying four sacks and six tackles for loss in the win at Virginia Tech. He is Clemson’s leading tackler with 34. No defensive lineman has led Clemson in tackles since 1984 when middle guard William “The Refrigerator” Perry led the Tigers with 100. Perry was a first-team All-American that season. So far Branch has 34 tackles, eight tackles for loss, five of which are sacks.
Virginia Tech cornerback Jayron Hosley: He is tied for second in the ACC in passes defended with seven, and tied for second in the league with three interceptions. He now has 12 career interceptions.
Boston College linebacker Luke Kuechly: Once again, he leads the nation in tackles with 16.6 per game and solo tackles with 9.4 per game. The 14 tackles against Wake Forest (Oct. 1) extended his streak of 10 or more tackles in a game to 27 consecutive contests, a streak which began against Florida State in 2009.
Coach of the Year
Clemson coach Dabo Swinney: This guy was on the hot seat just months ago, and now his team is just plain hot. He made a great hire in offensive coordinator Chad Morris, and after three straight wins over ranked opponents, the Tigers are 5-0.
Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson: The expectations were low for the Jackets this preseason, but Johnson has exceeded them once again and has his team off to the program's first 5-0 start since 1990.
Wake Forest coach Jim Grobe: The Deacs have already matched last year's win total with three, and are 2-0 in the Atlantic Division standings.