We released our midseason All-ACC team earlier today, and there were some tough cuts. Here’s a look at the players who were the hardest to leave off the list and, in turn, stand the best chance of cracking our end-of-season team.
Brad Kaaya (QB, Miami): It was supposed to be the year of the quarterback in the ACC, and while none have reached Heisman consideration, plenty are playing well. That includes Kaaya, who has 10 touchdowns to just one INT and is averaging 8.2 yards per pass. Everett Golson and Marquise Williams have had strong moments this season, too.
Wayne Gallman (RB, Clemson): The second running back spot was impossible to figure out. Gallman has been critical for Clemson’s offense though, and it’s easy to make the case he belongs. He’s played good defenses, and he still ranks third in the ACC in rushing. Close behind are Matt Dayes, Joseph Yearby and Qadree Ollison.
Brandon Chubb (LB, Wake Forest): Chubb ranks second in the ACC with 60 tackles, and he’s been terrific on a defense that has relied heavily on its linebackers. But at a position crowded with strong efforts in the early season, he -- along with Keith Kelsey, James Burgess, Dwayne Norman, Jeff Schoettmer and Matt Galambos -- was just edged out.
DeMarcus Walker (DE, Florida State): Walker has been a stud for Florida State’s revitalized pass rush, and opponents are averaging more than a yard less per rush around the edge against the Seminoles than they did a year ago. Walker has a good shot to crack the end-of-season All-ACC list, along with Boston College’s Harold Landry, Syracuse’s Ron Thompson, Clemson’s Kevin Dodd, and Louisville’s Sheldon Rankins.
Jaylen Samuels (TE, NC State): Tight end may not be quite as deep as it was a year ago, but there are still some standouts in the ACC, including Samuels -- more of a traditional H-back -- who has racked up 465 yards and nine touchdowns this season. Clemson’s Jordan Leggett and Pitt’s duo of J.P. Holtz and Scott Orndoff warrant consideration, too.