David Wilson and Blake DeChristopher are the Hokies only representatives on the list of the First Team All-ACC. Wilson was a unanimous selection by the 45 media members, one of only two including BC linebacker Luke Kuechly. The second team includes six Hokies: Jaymes Brooks, Logan Thomas, Kyle Fuller, James Gayle, Jayron Hosley and Eddie Whitley. Also J.R. Collins, Antone Exum, Cody Journell, Greg Nosal and Bruce Taylor were named honorable mention. More coverage and analysis inside.
While that may seem like a huge slight to the #5 and 11-1 Hokies (and it is), it may not be as big a difference from what we should expect. This year several things happened to prevent the Hokies from gaining more First Team guys.
1. Injuries- Guys like Bruce Taylor, Jayron Hosley and Antoine Hopkins were all having All-ACC caliber seasons before injuries de-railed their promising starts. Despite that Hosley and Taylor appeared on the Second Team and Honorable Mention respectively. But the elder Hopkins just didn't play enough of the season to warrant a spot.
2. Team- This team didn't have a huge contingency of great individual performers. Of course there was Wilson, Thomas and even Danny Coale, but past that, the numbers for many of our players just don't stack up.
3. Individuals Elsewhere- The third reason I could state is that individual performances were up around the league. Guys like Sammy Watkins and Nikita Whitlock came out of nowhere, and some players at rival schools had dominant seasons.
4. Bad luck- In the situations where we had quality guys up for inclusion, there was just someone who played as well or better.
But, there are obviously some very legitimate criticisms that can be made from both independent observers and Tech fans alike.
For one, if it were my ballot, Antone Exum would be on the first team. The guy is a safety and the leading tackler on an 11-1 team. He has been big all season long and has played two different positions for us. Don't forget he's in his first year starting as a redshirt-sophomore! The guy has 75 tackles, 2.5 for a loss, a sack, an INT, 2 forced fumbles and a fumble recovery, 21 passes he's either broken up or defensed and 2 quarterback hurries. That's amazing! Yet he ended up on the Honorable Mention team.
But there are two even MORE glaring Hokie snubs in my opinion: Danny Coale and Derrick Hopkins
Coale may be Honorable Mention because he lacks the touchdowns to really match up with the top targets in the ACC. But AT LEAST give the guy an Honorable Mention. He's been HUGE for us, and as everyone will tell you he is our best non-OL run blocker. That needs to be part of the consideration too. It should be overall value. Hines Ward still gets recognition for that to this day and he hasn't been any sort of real receiving threat for the last two seasons!
Hopkins, a true sophomore in his first season starting has 48 tackles (A RIDICULOUS AMOUNT FOR A DEFENSIVE TACKLE for anyone not sure how to quantify that), 5 tackles for a loss, 3 sacks, 2 passes broken up/defensed, 10 QB hurries, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. HOW IS THAT GUY NOT ON AN ALL-ACC TEAM!?
My All-ACC First Team would include Derrick Hopkins and Antone Exum and have FOUR Hokies representing the team. I just find it unconscionable that Hopkins wasn't even given honorable mention. Those two have been the best defensive players week in and week out all year long for the #7 ranked scoring defense and the #12 ranked total defense in the country. That's my two cents.