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Clemson has huge presence on All-ACC teams

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Didn’t see this one coming, did ya?

Tuesday morning, the ACC revealed its all-conference football teams.  Clemson, the defending league and national champions, placed a total of 16 players on the first, second and third teams.  The next closest?  Pitt and Wake Forest with eight each.

Exactly half of the 16 players placed by the Tigers were first-team selections, including running back Travis Etienne, who led all vote-getters with 176 points.  Teammate and linebacker Isaiah Simmons led all defensive players with 157.

A couple of non-Clemson notes, from the conference’s release:

  • This year’s All-ACC team also features an offensive/defensive first-team brother combination as Wake Forest’s Sage Surratt was the leading vote-getter among wide receivers, and North Carolina linebacker Chazz Surratt placed second behind Simmons in the balloting at his position. They are the first brothers to earn All-ACC first-team honors in the same season since Virginia identical twins Tiki Barber (running back) and Ronde’ Barber (cornerback) in 1995 and 1996.
  • Virginia’s Joe Reed was a dual first-team selection, as he also led the voting at the all-purpose back position. Louisville’s Hassan Hall was a similar dual choice as second-team all-purpose and third-team specialist.

Below are the complete first, second and third teams, as voted on by 46 members of the media as well as the league’s 14 head coaches:

First-Team Offense
QB – Trevor Lawrence, Clemson; 150
RB – Travis Etienne, Clemson; 176
RB – AJ Dillon, Boston College; 168
WR – Sage Surratt, Wake Forest; 167
WR – Tee Higgins, Clemson; 153
WR – Tutu Atwell, Louisville; 153
TE – Brevin Jordan, Miami; 115
AP – Joe Reed, Virginia; 142
OT – Tremayne Anchrum, Clemson; 136
OT – Mehki Becton, Louisville; 126
OG – John Simpson, Clemson; 160
OG – John Phillips, Boston College; 114
C – Jimmy Morrissey, Pitt; 92

First-Team Defense
DE – Gregory Rousseau, Miami; 152
DE – Carlos Basham, Wake Forest; 142
DT – Jaylen Twyman, Pitt; 146
DT – Marvin Wilson, Florida State; 136
LB – Isaiah Simmons, Clemson; 157
LB – Chazz Surratt, North Carolina; 144
LB – Shaquille Quarterman, Miami; 129
CB – Caleb Farley, Virginia Tech; 136
CB – A.J. Terrell, Clemson; 100
S – Paris Ford, Pitt; 130
S – Tanner Muse, Clemson; 122

First-Team Specialists
PK – Nick Sciba, Wake Forest; 156
P – Sterling Hofrichter, Syracuse; 103
SP – Joe Reed, Virginia; 156

Second-Team Offense
QB – Bryce Perkins, Virginia; 102
RB – Cam Akers, Florida State; 123
RB – Javian Hawkins, Louisville; 103
WR – Dazz Newsome, North Carolina; 96
WR – Tamorrion Terry, Florida State; 90
WR – Trishton Jackson, Syracuse; 86
TE – Noah Gray, Duke; 75
AP – Hassan Hall, Louisville; 59
OT – Charlie Heck, North Carolina; 117
OT – Ben Petrula, Boston College; 85
OG – Gage Cervenka, Clemson; 103
OG – Zion Johnson, Boston College; 98
C – Sean Pollard, Clemson; 90

Second-Team Defense
DE – Patrick Jones II, Pitt; 103
DE – Victor Dimukeje, Duke; 88
DT – Larrell Murchison, NC State; 89
DT – Tyler Davis, Clemson; 79
LB – Rayshard Ashby, Virginia Tech; 120
LB – Max Richardson, Boston College; 90
LB – Michael Pinckney, Miami (FL); 55
CB – Dane Jackson, Pitt; 87
CB – Derion Kendrick, Clemson; 77
S – Hamsah Nasirildeen, Florida State; 102
S – Andre Cisco, Syracuse; 99

Second-Team Specialists
PK – Christopher Dunn, NC State; 87
P – Dom Maggio, Wake Forest; 76
SP – Damond Philyaw-Johnson, Duke; 69

Third-Team Offense
QB – Sam Howell, North Carolina; 76
RB – Jordan Mason, Georgia Tech; 42
RB – Michael Carter, North Carolina; 39
WR – Kendall Hinton, Wake Forest; 64
WR – Maurice Ffrench, Pitt; 61
WR – Dyami Brown, North Carolina; 57
TE – Hunter Long, Boston College; 63
AP – Maurice Ffrench, Pitt; 34
OT – Justin Herron, Wake Forest; 83
OT – Jackson Carman, Clemson; 52
OG – Bryce Hargrove, Pitt; 88
OG – Nate Gillam, Wake Forest; 81
C – Alec Lindstrom, Boston College; 72

Third-Team Defense
DE – Xavier Thomas, Clemson; 49
DE – Chris Rumph II, Duke; 38
DT – Jason Strowbridge, North Carolina; 60
DT – Nyles Pinckney, Clemson; 59
LB – Jordan Mack, Virginia; 53
LB – Lakiem Williams, Syracuse; 51
LB – Koby Quansah, Duke; 49
CB – Asante Samuel Jr., Florida State; 74
CB – Essang Bassey, Wake Forest; 61
S – K’Von Wallace, Clemson; 80
S – Joey Blount, Virginia; 38

Third-Team Specialists
PK – Andre Szmyt, Syracuse; 59
P – Trenton Gill, NC State; 61
SP – Hassan Hall, Louisville; 68

Tanner Tessmann chooses pro soccer over kicking for Clemson

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This is quite the odd “loss” for Clemson football.  To say the least.

Back in December, Tanner Tessmann signed to play soccer at Clemson.  The plan was also for Tessman to kick for the Clemson football team as a scholarship player as well.

Thursday, however, FC Dallas announced that the 18-year-old Tessmann has signed a three-year contract with the Major League Soccer team.  The deal also contains club options for the 2023 and 2024 seasons.

Tessmann could begin his professional soccer career as early as Saturday.

“I’m excited to get started,” Tessmann said in a statement. “Signing a professional contract has been a goal of mine since I moved to Texas to join the Academy at 14 years old. I’ve made a lot of sacrifices to get this opportunity, so it meant a lot to have my family here with me today.”

Back in December, Dabo Swinney was very, very effusive in his praise of Tessman, who the Clemson football coach has known for the young man’s entire life.

From TigerNet.com:

(Clemson soccer coach Mike) Noonan is somewhere, having a party somewhere right now because he just signed an unbelievably talented soccer player,” Swinney said back then. “But I’ve had the inside track on this one for a long time. My best friend is PJ Tessmann, and we’re basically brothers-in-laws…so I’ve kind of been the pseudo uncle to his two kids – Tanner, and his daughter Ashley literally their whole lives and kind of been Uncle Bo and kind of like Godfather if you will.

“But I had the inside track because I’ve seen him his entire life. And he’s one of the best athletes. He could go play D1 basketball. He could probably start at receiver at Clemson. He could probably play safety at Clemson. He’s a six-foot-two phenom. He can fly. He’s as good athlete as I’ve ever seen…It was a really difficult thing but, you know, it was a very tough thing for PJ and his mom, PJ’s wife Kelly, because FC Dallas came recruiting him and his dream was to play soccer professionally and maybe in Europe and all that. And so, FC Dallas literally came and recruited him, came to their house and it was just a very challenging thing because he was going to be going off in the eighth grade to this place developing.

“And so he’s been living in Dallas, literally since the eighth grade. And it’s amazing. So, I’m the only person on the planet that knew because he could bomb it 45 to 50 yards in the eighth grade. No one really knew because he has not played football. But he comes around and gets out there and plays around and kicks the ball and this and that. I mean it’s been amazing to watch him develop.

Clemson football should be okay on the kicking front, though, as the Tigers return their primary kicker from their run to the 2019 national championship game.  As a true sophomore last season, B.T. Potter made all 79 of his point-after attempts and 13 of his 21 field-goal tries.

Both of Nebraska’s primary kickers in 2019 have now left the Cornhuskers, with one leaving to focus on… club soccer?

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It was quite the day on the kicking front for the Nebraska football program. And not in a good way.  At all.

Thursday, it was reported that Barrett Pickering was no longer a part of the Nebraska football team.  The placekicker subsequently confirmed that he was stepping away from the sport because of health concerns.  Pickering will, however, remain on scholarship as a student at the school.  The Alabama native won’t count against the 85-man scholarship limit for Nebraska football.

Not long after the news of Pickering’s decision broke, it was also confirmed that kicker Matt Waldoch will not be returning to the program as well.  The reason?  Club soccer.

The twin departures leave Nebraska football very thin at the position.  At least, experience-wise it does.

As a true freshman in 2018, Pickering served as the primary placekicker for Nebraska football.  That season, he hit on 14 of his 18 field-goal attempts (77.8 percent) and missed just one of his 41 point-after attempts. Pickering did not miss over the final six games, going 25-of-25 on extra points and 9-of-9 on field goals.

During that stretch, he accounted for all nine points (three field goals) in a 9-6 win over Michigan State.  That was the first time Nebraska football won without scoring a touchdown since 1937.

Despite that momentum, Pickering’s 2019 season was essentially a wasted year.  The Alabama native missed the first seven games last season because of an unspecified injury.  When he returned, he went 3-of-5 on field goals and was successful on all 10 extra points.

By the end of the year, though, Waldoch, an in-season tryout player off the club soccer team, had become the Cornhuskers’ primary kicker.

With Pickering exiting the program, Waldoch would’ve entered the spring as the favorite to win the job.  Waldoch didn’t miss a kick this past campaign, connecting on four field-goal and nine point-after tries.

Nebraska football will enter spring practice with three non-scholarship options at the position: redshirt freshman Gabe Heins, junior-college transfer Chase Contreraz and true freshman Tyler Crawford.  Contreraz will head into the spring as the favorite to win the job.

Highest-rated signee in Texas A&M Class of 2018, Leon O’Neal, enters transfer portal

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For nearly the dozenth time this cycle, a Texas A&M football player is looking to leave College Station.  And this one was a huge 2018 get.

On his personal Twitter account Thursday evening, Leon O’Neal announced that he has decided to leave the Aggies and continue his playing career elsewhere.  No reason for his decision to enter the NCAA transfer database was given.

“I want to thank Texas A&M for everything,” the defensive back wrote. “Every game was one I’ll never forget. Win, lose or draw The 12th Man never lost [their] spirit. I want to thank my brothers for the love and support. Our bond will last forever.”

A four-star member of the Texas A&M football Class of 2018, O’Neal was the No. 8 player at any position in the state of Texas.  He was also the No. 8 safety in the country.  Most notably, O’Neal was the highest-rated member of the Aggies’ class that year.

O’Neal was part of Jimbo Fisher‘s first recruiting class after taking over as the A&M football head coach in December of 2017.

As a true freshman, O’Neal appeared in all 13 games for Texas A&M football.  Most of that action came on special teams.  This past season, the safety started eight of the 12 games in which he played.

Boise State DB DeAndre Pierce opts to enter transfer portal

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The playing career of one injury-plagued Boise State football player has come to an end.  At least, in Idaho it has.

According to 247Sports.com, DeAndre Pierce has made the decision to move on from the Boise State football program.  A BSU football official subsequently confirmed overnight that the defensive back’s name is listed in the NCAA transfer database.

No specific reason for the parting of ways was given.

If Pierce follows through and transfers away from Boise State football, he would do so as a graduate transfer.  That would allow him to play at another FBS school immediately in 2020.  If that’s the tack he chooses, of course.

Pierce was a three-star member of the Broncos’ Class of 2016.  The California native took a redshirt as a true freshman.  In 2017, Pierce started 11 of the 14 games in which he played.  He earned honorable mention All-Mountain West Conference honors for that season.

Then, the injuries hit.

The safety started four of the first five games in 2018 before a lacerated spleen sidelined him for the rest of the season.  In 2019, Pierce started five games… but missed the other nine because of various injuries.

When healthy, Pierce was credited with 144 tackles, seven tackles for loss, six passed defensed, one sack and one interception.