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Pre-Season All-ACC Team Released: Tyler Only Hokie Picked, Gayle Snubbed

Geoff Burke

The pre-season All-ACC team was announced today, as picked by the media, and of course Twitter has become a battleground for those who did not make the team, or didn't even finish in the top-four in voting at their position as there was no official second-team picked.

Despite the fact that the Hokies only placed one player on the list, senior linebacker Jack Tyler, I'm only really peeved by the omission of one Tech player, and that is based on process rather than qualifications as he had an injury-plagued 2012. That player is James Gayle, who despite being picked for the 2012 All-ACC pre-season team and still managing 43 tackles, 11 tackles for a loss and 5 sacks (only .5 off the team lead) on a MUCH deeper defensive line which spread the sacks around pretty evenly, was not picked in the top-two players for the 2013 pre-season all-conference team. In fact, not only was he not picked, but he was essentially doubled in voting by (39-to-20), get ready for this...infamous Georgia Tech linebacker Jeremiah Attaochu, who recently made the switch to defensive end.

Defensive End (Top 2)
1. Jeremiah Attaochu, GT 39
2. Kareem, Martin, UNC 37
3. James Gayle, VT 20
4. Mario Edwards, FSU 10

Now don't get me wrong, Attaochu is a good player who suffered what seems to be a one-time lapse of judgment there. But, he's a good linebacker. Is he a good defensive end? I don't know. I haven't seen him there. Have you? Enough to make you feel confident enough that he's already the best defensive end in the conference? Certainly not. And that's why this vote is ABSOLUTELY RIDICULOUS. It's not about the player, who actually had a very good season last year, being named to the pre-season all-conference team, but rather a player who has not played the position yet being named to the team over a guy who has played all three years at the position, three pretty good-to-superlative years.

The ACC Media Days (or ACC Kickoff) have generally been a springboard for getting a player on an all-conference pre-season team. Bring a guy to the event and he's likely getting picked for the team, especially if your team has no other representatives on said team. Is it really that simple that sportswriters put other players not attending out of sight and out of mind? I won't say for certain, but evidence from the past certainly suggests that's the case.

Perhaps this is punishment (intentionally or subconsciously) for the Hokies having their worst year in two decades in 2012, in which case, I understand if they want to drop the team a few rungs. But the vote for all-conference first-team should probably be the best players at their position in the conference, not who comes to media days. Not who had a very good season at another position and is just making the switch to a different position. After all, Andrew Miller, who the Hokies announced will probably play right guard this year, was not even picked as the conference's top center probably due to confusion over where he'd play. If he didn't get the benefit of the doubt, why did Attaochu in what will certainly be a more difficult position switch?

The active tweeter that James Gayle is issued a warning following his being snubbed:

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