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Round One ACC Atlantic

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By BJ Bennett
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Opening round voting in the Fan Vote Player of the Decade Tournament begins with players from the ACC Atlantic.

By the Staff

Opening round voting in the Fan Vote Player of the Decade Tournament begins with players from the ACC Atlantic. Follow us on Twitter at Become a fan of us on Facebook at the Facebook Page

College football bowl season is a holiday all to itself, but (and this is coming from a bunch of college football fanatics) there is nothing quite like the NCAA Tournament. March Madness, as it is affectionately known, groups all that is right about sports into a three-week long melee of unpredictability, clutch performances and fun. Remember when you were young and you and your cousins would have a massive free-for-all on the trampoline? It’s like that, in front of 18,000 people.

Embracing the spirit of the month, we at created a 64-choice bracket of our own. We ranked the top 16 players from this past decade in the ACC Atlantic Division, ACC Coastal Division, SEC East and SEC West and split them into four regions to create our Fan Vote Player of the Decade Tournament. Using your votes, we will progress from 64-to-1 to determine the top southern college football player of the past ten years. For the ACC, which realigned during the decade, players were placed in brackets which fit the current divisional alignments. Players who played in the Big East, not the ACC, were not eligible.

First up, the ACC Atlantic. Voting will last for 48 hours. Next up, the ACC Coastal.

(1) Chris Weinke, QB, Florida State

As a junior Weinke led Florida State to the first-ever AP wire-to-wire number one season and a national championship. As a senior, he led the Seminoles to an undefeated regular season and won the Heisman Trophy. In three years as starter, Weinke took FSU to three-straight national championship games.

(16) Mark Herzlich, LB, Boston College
The 2008 ACC Defensive Player of the Year, Herzlich was a play-making machine that season for the ACC Atlantic Division champions. He compiled 110 tackles, eleven tackles for loss and six interceptions, two of which he returned for touchdown.


(8) Gaines Adams, Clemson

Had 9.5 sacks as a junior, 12.5 sacks as a senior as a tremendous playmaker for the Tigers off the edge. He tied a school record with 28 career sacks. As a senior, he was one of seven unanimous All-Americans in college football.

(9) D’Qwell Jackson, LB, Maryland
A three-time All-ACC performer, Jackson finished his career as one of the most productive defenders in school history. Leading the Terrapins in tackles for three straight seasons, he ended his career with 447 tackles. He was the ACC Defensive Player of the Year in 2005.


(5) Mario Williams, DE, NC State

A powerful defensive end, Williams was the first overall pick in the 2006 NFL Draft. As a junior, the 6’6’‘, 295 pound freak of nature had 14.5 sacks and 24 tackles for loss for the Wolfpack. He had 25.5 sacks for his career.

(12) Keith Adams, LB, Clemson
A super productive linebacker for the Tigers, Adams excelled as a pass rusher. He compiled 23 sacks, ranking third in school history, and tops for a non-lineman. He earned All-American honors with Clemson.


(4) E.J. Henderson, LB, Maryland

Arguably the most dominant linebacker in ACC history, Henderson holds NCAA records with career tackles per game (12.5) and season solo tackles (135). During his career, he was named the ACC Player of the Year, an All-American and won the Bednarik and Butkus Awards.

(13) Alphonso Smith, CB, Wake Forest
The league’s all-time leader in interceptions, Smith was a defensive leader on the Demon Deacons’ 2006 ACC Championship team. Smith led the nation in passes defended in 2008 with 20.


(6) Matt Ryan, QB, Boston College

“Matty Ice” helped establish the Eagles as a major player in the ACC Atlantic Division. The 2007 ACC Player of the Year, Ryan won the Manning Award and the Johnny Unitas Award as a senior with the Eagles.

(11) Jerricho Cotchery, WR, NC State
Broke many of Torry Holt’s school records with the Wolfpack, compiling 200 career receptions and 15 career 100-yard games. Is one of just two receivers in ACC history with over 3,000 career receiving yards.


(3) C.J. Spiller, RB, Clemson

Clemson’s Mr. Everything, Spiller led the Tigers to the ACC Championship Game in a season where he scored a touchdown five different ways. He finished his career with the career kickoff returns for a touchdown in NCAA history.

(14) Darnell Dockett, DT, Florida State
The school’s all-time leader in tackles for loss, Dockett led great Florida State defenses of the early 2000s. He is arguably the best in the modern era of the Seminoles’ proud tradition of interior linemen.


(7) Riley Skinner, QB, Wake Forest

The most accomplished player in school history, Skinner led the Demon Deacons to a historic ACC Championship run during his freshman season. He is the school’s all time leading passer and one of the winngest quarterbacks in league history.

(10) Brett Williams, OT, Florida State
A four-year starter and anchor at tackle for the Seminoles, Williams was arguably the most consistent lineman of the Bobby Bowden era. As a freshman, he dominated Virginia Tech All-American Corey Moore in the BCS National Championship Game. 


(2) Philip Rivers, QB, NC State

Where do you start? The Wolfpack legend is the ACC’s all time leading passer and one of the most productive quarterbacks in the history of the game. He finished his career with 13,484 yards and 95 touchdowns.

(15) Shawne Merriman, DE, Maryland
The dominant hybrid defender for the Terrapins was an intimidating figure along the Terrapins’ front seven. Excelled as a pass rusher for Maryland and was extremely versatile with the ability to play defensive end and linebacker.


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BJ Bennett – B.J. Bennett is’s founder and publisher. He is the co-host of “Three & Out” with Kevin Thomas and Ben Troupe on the “Southern Pigskin Radio Network”. Email: [email protected] / Twitter: @BJBennettSports

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