CLEMSON, S.C. — A record 17 Clemson players were named to one of three All-ACC teams announced Monday by the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association (ACSMA). Sophomore quarterback Deshaun Watson was joined on the first team by offensive players Eric Mac Lain and Artavis Scott, as well as defensive players Mackensie Alexander, Shaq Lawson and Carlos Watkins.
Clemson’s entire starting offensive line was honored for the first time ever, as Jay Guillermo was a second-team choice, while Tyrone Crowder, Joe Gore and Mitch Hyatt were all third-team selections. Other All-ACC selections on offense were running back Wayne Gallman and tight end Jordan Leggett, who were named to the second team. Placekicker Greg Huegel also got a second-team nod.
Defensively, four Tigers were named to the second and third teams. Starting linebackers Ben Boulware and B.J. Goodson were both second-team honorees, along with safety Jayron Kearse. Starting cornerback Cordrea Tankersley was a third-team selection.
Watson concluded the regular season with an ACC-best 3,979 yards of total offense and 36 total touchdowns. A finalist for the Maxwell and O’Brien awards, he also leads the conference with a 161.9 passing efficiency, and is second with 268.6 passing yards per game. Mac Lain, the starting left guard, has had a lot to do with Clemson’s success on offense. The Tigers ended the regular season with eight straight games tallying at least 500 yards on offense, a school record.
Scott is second in the ACC with 6.4 receptions per game, snagging 77 passes for 709 yards and four touchdowns. Leggett, a finalist for the Mackey Award, finished the regular season with 31 receptions from his tight end spot, with six touchdowns. On the ground, Gallman is third among ACC backs with 104.1 rushing yards per game, while contributing nine scores.
Huegel has been quite the success story, converting 21 of 23 field goal attempts. His 91.3 percent clip is tops among ACC kickers. He has made 16 straight entering Saturday’s ACC Championship Game.
Lawson leads the ACC with 20.5 tackles for loss and is fourth with 8.5 sacks. He has had at least one tackle for loss in all but one game, and is a finalist for both the Lombardi and Nagurski awards. Watkins, a defensive tackle, has accumulated 60 stops this season, including six behind the line of scrimmage.
Alexander and Kearse have been big factors behind Clemson’s success against the pass this season. Alexander has five pass breakups in 571 snaps, and has not allowed a touchdown in man coverage all season. Kearse is tied for sixth on the Tiger defense with 70 tackles, including 6.5 for loss. He is second on the team with eight pass breakups as well.
Goodson and Boulware are Clemson’s top two tacklers in 2015 with 118 and 116, respectively. Goodson’s total includes 15 tackles for loss, while Boulware has seven. Goodson is second on the squad with 5.5 sacks, while Boulware is third with six pass breakups.
Tankersley, a third-teamer, leads Clemson with four interceptions on the season. He returned one for a score in the Tigers’ 58-0 rout of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla., on October 24. Tankersley has also added a team-high nine pass breakups.