Wake Forest Demon Deacons

CLEMSON, SC - NOVEMBER 7: Deshaun Watson #4 of the Clemson Tigers pumps up fans prior to the game against the Florida State Seminoles at Memorial Stadium on November 7, 2015 in Clemson, South Carolina. (Photo by Tyler Smith/Getty Images)
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ACC media poll has Clemson repeating as conference champions

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DeShaun Watson is back from last year’s College Football Playoff runner-up, and with that, there was little debate in the ACC media poll about who will repeat as conference champions in 2016.

Clemson, with 144 votes, was picked to repeat as ACC champions in the conference’s annual media poll. Florida State (39), North Carolina (seven) and Louisville (one) also received votes.

Watson, the Tigers’ junior quarterback, was picked to be the ACC Player of the Year with 164 votes. Florida State running back Dalvin Cook (18), North Carolina running back Elijah Hood (four), Miami quarterback Brad Kaaya (two), Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson (two) and Duke cornerback/returner DeVon Edwards (one) also received player of the year votes.

Here’s how the voting broke down by division, with first-place votes in parentheses:

Atlantic                    
1. Clemson (148) – 1,293
2. Florida State (42) – 1,176
3. Louisville (1) – 961
4. NC State – 704
5. Boston College – 441
6. Syracuse – 426
7. Wake Forest – 347
Coastal                
1. North Carolina (121) – 1,238
2. Miami (50) – 1,108
3. Pitt (14) – 859
4. Virginia Tech (3) – 697
5. Duke (2) – 597
6. Georgia Tech (1) – 588
7. Virginia – 261

It’s official: ACC Network coming to your TV in 2019

CHARLOTTE, NC - DECEMBER 05:  (L-R) Commissioner of the ACC, John Swofford, speaks with head coach Dabo Swinney of the Clemson Tigers after they defeated the North Carolina Tar Heels 45-37 at the Atlantic Coast Conference Football Championship at Bank of America Stadium on December 5, 2015 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
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What was rumored on Tuesday become official on Thursday: ESPN and ACC will launch the much-awaited ACC Network in 2019.

The announcement came at a press conference/pep rally to open the conference’s media days in Charlotte, with the entire delegations from the conference and the Worldwide Leader in attendance.

The partnership will create an online-only digital network starting next month and a linear cable operation by 2019. ESPN and the ACC will combine to produce 600 events beginning this year, with the number rising to 1,300 by 2019.

“On behalf of the ACC Council of Presidents, Faculty Athletics Representatives and our ACC Television Committee, we are tremendously pleased to further enhance our long-term partnership with ESPN that includes the creation of the ACC Network and ACC Network Extra, and positions the conference for the long-term future,” ACC Commissioner John Swofford said in a statement. “This partnership continues to be a win-win for ESPN and the ACC. ESPN is the premier provider in sports content and this agreement will deliver unprecedented coverage to our fans, while highlighting our quality student-athletes, coaches and institutions.”

The network, which figures to be headquartered in Charlotte alongside ESPNU and the SEC Network, will show 40 football games a year and 150 basketball games. The conference will up its league hoops schedule to 20 games per year once the network goes live in 2019.

“We look forward to working with our longtime partners at the ACC to create a network that reflects the depth and quality of its athletes and teams, and serves the fans who passionately support them. We are proud and excited to add the ACC Network to our industry-leading college content offerings,” ESPN president John Skipper said. 

ESPN to reportedly launch ACC Network by 2019

John Swofford
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The ACC won’t begin its media days until later this week, but John Swofford and company have already won the Talking Season championship.

According to reports from ESPN and Sports Business Daily, the conference has reached an agreement with ESPN to launch a digital network later this year and a linear cable network by 2019. The conference has also signed a new Grant of Rights with its 15 members that will stretch until 2035-36.

“When the ACC Network revenues are included, the ACC will be very competitive with the upper tier [Big Ten and SEC] of the Power 5 leagues,” a source told ESPN’s Brett McMurphy.

John Ourand and Michael Smith of SBJ reported ACC Network will carry 40 football games and 15o basketball games a year. ACC Network Plus, a digital network that will replace the ACC content on ESPN3, will launch this year and carry 600 “Olympic-style” events per year.

In addition to the Grant of Rights, McMurphy reported Notre Dame has now contractually obligated itself to join the ACC should it choose to forfeit independence at any point over the next two decades.

Swofford and the conference are expected to make the news official when ACC media days begin on Thursday.

Headed by ACC’s 15, record 88 player named to Wuerffel watch list

GAINESVILLE, FL - SEPTEMBER 28:  Quarterback Danny Wuerffel #7 of the Florida Gators readies to throw during a game against the Kentucky Wildcats on September 28, 1996 at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Florida.  The Gators defeated the Wildcats 65-0.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
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Records were made to be broken, even this kind of a record, I guess.

Continuing the watch list avalanche is the Wuerffel Trophy, which announced 88 players have been recognized as part of the annual preseason grouping.  That number is a record for the award, which is named in honor of former Florida great Danny Wuerffel and is awarded to the FBS player that “best combines exemplary community service with athletic and academic achievement.”

The 2015 winner of the Wuerffel was Oklahoma’s Ty Darlington.

As far as the conference-by-conference breakdown?  From the release:

The Atlantic Coast Conference led all conferences with 15 players appearing on the 2016 watch list. Following the ACC are the SEC with 12 players, Conference USA with 10 and the Big 10 and Big 12 with 9 players each. The American Athletic followed with 8 players while the Sun Belt added 7, the PAC 12 submitted 6 and the MAC and Mountain West followed with 4 each. All FBS Conferences are represented on the list, as were Independent representatives BYU and United States Military Academy (Army) with 1 nominee each.

Below is the complete 2016 Wuerffel Trophy preseason watch list:

JK Scott, Alabama, Junior, P
O.J. Howard, Alabama, Senior, TE
Darian Small, Appalachian State, Senior, DL
Vilami “Laiu” Moeakiola, Arizona State, Senior, LB
Brooks Ellis, Arkansas, Senior, LB
Blaise Taylor, Arkansas State, Junior, DB
Andrew King, Army, Senior, LB
Daniel Carlson, Auburn, Junior, PK
Seth Russell, Baylor, Senior, QB
Mitchell Juergens, BYU, Senior, WR
Jonny Linehan, BYU, Senior, P
Jack Austin, California, Junior, WR
Jamal Covington, Charlotte, Senior, OL
Deshaun Watson, Clemson, Junior, QB
Sefo Liufau, Colorado, Senior, QB
Zack Golditch, Colorado State, Junior, OL
DeVon Edwards, Duke, Senior, DB
Zay Jones, East Carolina, Senior, WR
Jarrad Davis, Florida, Senior, LB
Shalom Ogbonda, Florida Atlantic, Senior, DL
Michael Montero, Florida International, Senior, OL
Alec Eberle, Florida State, Sophomore, OL
Jeb Blazevich, Georgia, Junior, TE
Keith Rucker, Georgia State, Senior, TE
KeShun Freeman, Georgia Tech, Junior, DE
Greg Ward, Jr., Houston, Senior, QB
Joe Spencer, Illinois, Senior, OL
Mitchell Paige, Indiana, Senior, WR
LeShun Daniels, Jr., Iowa, Senior, RB
Cole Netten, Iowa State, Senior, PK
Fish Smithson, Kansas, Senior, DB
Dante Barnett, Kansas State, Senior, DB
Antwan Dixon, Kent State, Sophomore, WR
Nick Cuthbert, Kent State, Senior, LB
Karmichael Dunbar, Louisiana, Senior, DL
Brandon Radcliff, Louisville, Senior, RB
Colin Jeter, LSU, Senior, TE
William Likely, Maryland, Senior, DB
Ryan Yurachek, Marshall, Sophomore, TE
Jake Elliott, Memphis, Senior, PK
Brad Kaaya, Miami, Junior, QB
Josiah Price, Michigan State, Senior, TE
Brent Stockstill, Middle Tennessee, Sophomore, QB
Damarius Travis, Minnesota, Senior, DB
Evan Engram, Mississippi, Senior, TE
Brandon Holloway, Mississippi State, Senior, WR/RB
Drew Brown, Nebraska, Junior, PK
Jeremy Maculey, Nevada, Senior, OL
Nick Weller, North Carolina, Senior, PK
Tony Adams, North Carolina State, Junior, OL
Drew Hare, Northern Illinois, Senior, QB
Matthew Harris, Northwestern, Senior DB
Jarrod Barnes, Ohio State, Senior, DB
Samaje Perine, Oklahoma, Junior, RB
Mason Rudolph, Oklahoma State, Junior, QB
Tyler Compton, Old Dominion, Senior, OL
Ryan Nall, Oregon State, Sophomore, RB
Adam Biniswaty, Pittsburgh, Senior, OL
James Conner, Pittsburgh, Junior, RB
Mike Caprara, Pittsburgh, Senior, LB
Darik Dillard, Rice, Senior, RB
Daniel Brunskill, San Diego State, Senior, TE
Tim Crawley, San Jose State, Senior, WR
Nick Mullins, Southern Mississippi, Senior, QB
Jason Emerich, Syracuse, Senior, OL
Aaron Curry, TCU, Senior, DL
Brendan McGowan, Temple, Senior, OL
Joshua Dobbs, Tennessee, Senior, QB
Trevor Knight, Texas A&M, Senior, QB
Felix Romero, Texas State, Junior, OL
Patrick Mahomes, II, Texas Tech, Junior, QB
Brad Spelman, Toledo, Junior, LS
John Johnson, Troy, Junior, WR
Marshall Wadleigh, Tulane, Senior, TE
Dane Evans, Tulsa, Senior, QB
Justin Holman, UCF, Senior, QB
Bobby Puyol, UConn, Senior, PK
John Plattenburg, USC, Junior, DB
Travis Seefeldt, Utah State, Senior, DL
Oren Burks, Vanderbilt, Junior, LB
Matt Johns, Virginia, Senior, QB
Sam Rogers, Virginia Tech, Senior, RB
Ryan Janvion, Wake Forest, Senior, DB
Jeff Lindquist, Washington, Senior, TE
Skyler Howard, West Virginia, Senior, QB
Forrest Lamp, Western Kentucky, Senior, OL
Marcus Ward, Western Kentucky, Senior, DB
Zach Terrell, Western Michigan, Senior, QB

ACC releases list of players attending media days

TALLAHASSEE, FL - OCTOBER 10:  Dalvin Cook #4 of the Florida State Seminoles rushes for a touchdown during a game against the Miami Hurricanes at Doak Campbell Stadium on October 10, 2015 in Tallahassee, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
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The SEC’s done it.  So have the Big 12 and Big Ten.  Now, it’s another Power Five’s turn to do.

The it, as the headline suggests, is the players attending media days, which the ACC revealed to the masses Monday afternoon.  The 14 teams that make up the ACC will send, along with their head coaches, two players from each of their teams to the July 21-22 event in Charlotte.

In a refreshing change, as many linebackers ( six) will be in attendance as quarterbacks (six).  Four defensive linemen have been invited, three each of running backs, offensive linemen and defensive backs will take part.  Interestingly, two of the three linemen are centers, while all three defensive backs are cornerbacks.

Also, for those interested, one punter is on the list — Miami’s Justin Vogel.

Below is the complete list of attendees for the 2016 ACC Media Days:

Boston College
Myles Willis, Running Back, 5-9, 194, Senior, Conyers, Ga.
Matt Milano, Linebacker, 6-1, 218, Senior, Orlando, Fla.

Clemson
Deshaun Watson, Quarterback, 6-2, 210, Junior, Gainesville, Ga.
Ben Boulware, Linebacker, 5-11, 240, Senior, Anderson, S.C.

Duke
Thomas Sirk, Quarterback, 6-4, 220, Senior-R, Glen St. Mary, Fla.
DeVon Edwards, Cornerback, 5-9, 180, Senior-R, Covington, Ga.

Florida State
Dalvin Cook, Running Back, 5-11, 206, Junior, Fla., Miami, Fla.
DeMarcus Walker, Defensive End, 6-3, 273, Senior, Jacksonville, Fla.

Georgia Tech
Justin Thomas, Quarterback, 5-11, 185, Senior-R, Prattville, Ala.
Patrick Gamble, Defensive Line, 6-5, 277, Senior, Carrollton, Ga.

Louisville
Lamar Jackson, Quarterback, 6-3, 196, Sophomore, Boynton Beach, Fla.
Keith Kelsey, Linebacker, 6-1, 236, Senior, Gainesville, Fla.

Miami
Brad Kaaya, Quarterback, 6-4, 210, Junior, Los Angeles, Calif.
Justin Vogel, Punter, 6-4, 208, Senior, Tampa, Fla.

North Carolina
Ryan Switzer, Wide Receiver-Punt Returner, 5-10, 185, Senior, Charleston, W.Va.
Des Lawrence, Cornerback, 6-1, 185, Senior, Charlotte, N.C.

North Carolina State
Matthew Dayes, Running Back, 5-9, 203, Senior, Weston, Fla.
Jack Tocho, Cornerback, 6-0, 200, Senior, Charlotte, N.C.

Pittsburgh
Nathan Peterman, Quarterback, 6-2, 225, Senior-R, Jacksonville, Fla.
Ejuan Price, Defensive End, 6-0, 250, Senior-R, Rankin, Pa.

Syracuse
Jason Emerich, Center, 6-3, 284, Senior-R, New Ringgold, Pa.
Zaire Franklin, Linebacker, 6-0, 229, Junior, Philadelphia, Pa.

Virginia
Jackson Matteo, Center, 6-5, 290, Senior-R, Ashburn, Va.
Micah Kiser, Linebacker, 6-2, 245, Junior-R, Baltimore, Md.

Virginia Tech
Sam Rogers, Fullback, 5-10, 228, Senior, Mechanicsville, Va.
Ken Ekanem, Defensive End, 6-3, 255, Senior-R, Centreville, Va.

Wake Forest
Tyler Hayworth, Offensive Tackle, 6-4, 325, Senior-R, Kingsport, Tenn.
Marquel Lee, Linebacker, 6-3, 235, Senior, Waldorf, Md.