99 Virginia Football Thoughts Before Kickoff

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Olamide Zaccheaus received one vote for Preseason ACC Player of the Year but did not receive a spot on the first-team. If he builds off of last season’s performance, the speedy senior should have a spot on the Postseason All-ACC First-Team squad.

The Atlantic Coast Conference revealed its 2018 All-ACC Preseason Football Team on Tuesday (July 24). Not one Virginia Cavalier made the list, which was voted on by 148 media members credentialed for the ACC Football Kickoff in Charlotte. Only Olamide Zaccheaus received a mention, earning one vote for ACC Player of the Year.

99 Virginia Football Thoughts Before Kickoff: No. 42 – Preseason All-ACC Musings

Which Hoos Could Make The Postseason All-ACC First-Team?

Senior Olamide Zaccheaus had a strong argument for being on this Preseason All-ACC squad. Last season’s 85-reception total set a Virginia single-season record, and his 895 yards receiving last season ranked fifth all-time in Cavalier history. Those numbers were good enough to earn 2017 Postseason All-ACC Second-Team honors. With an even better performance in 2018, OZ should have a great case to make for first-team honors at season’s end.

With Micah Kiser moving on, it’s Jordan Mack’s time to step fully into the spotlight. He’ll surely draw the attention of opposing offenses; however, the 6’2”, 225-pound Georgia native made a big leap last year, totaling 114 tackles with 7 tackles for loss in his first season at inside linebacker. Virginia needs him to make another leap forward this season, and if he does he should make All-ACC in some capacity.

Juan Thornhill earned All-ACC Third-Team honors at cornerback last season. He begins the 2018 campaign at safety, which may well be his best position. Thornhill is, in my opinion, Virginia’s best defensive back regardless of position, but he has first-team all-ACC potential at safety.

In his first season as Virginia’s starting punter, Lester Coleman responded by averaging 43.7 yards per attempt and booting 29 punts inside the opponents’ 20-yard line. That performance was good enough to garner 2017 All-ACC Second-Team honors. Another campaign like that and he’ll certainly be in the mix for 2018 All-ACC First-Team.

Preseason All-ACC Players On Virginia’ Schedule

Of Virginia’s eight conference opponents, five have at least one player on the Preseason All-ACC squad. Miami leads the way with three, and they all play on defense – linebacker Shaquille Quarterman, cornerback Michael Jackson, and safety Jaquan Johnson. Duke (linebacker Joe Giles-Harris and cornerback Mark Gilbert) and NC State (quarterback Ryan Finley and wide receiver Kelvin Harmon) have two apiece. Georgia Tech (offensive lineman Parker Braun), Louisville (wide receiver Jaylen Smith), and North Carolina (special teams standout Anthony Ratliff-Williams) have one each. Pittsburgh and Virginia Tech, who are two of UVA’s final three conference opponents, do not have any Preseason All-ACC selections.

More Thoughts

– Clemson’s defensive line once again figures to be awesome. All four Preseason All-ACC defensive line spots are taken up by Tigers. Clemson has eight Preseason All-ACC picks in total, which is the most in the conference.

– It was somewhat surprising to me to see Boston College with the second-most picks. There are four Eagles on the team, including Preseason ACC Player of the Year pick AJ Dillon. Dillon, a running back, joins tight end Tommy Sweeney, offensive lineman Chris Lindstrom, and safety Lukas Denis. BC finished just one game over .500 (7-6) last season; however, the Eagles won five of its last six regular season games.

– Players who didn’t earn a Preseason All-ACC spot but did earn at least one vote for Player of the Year honors include: Zaccheaus (1 vote), Syracuse QB Eric Dungey (1), Boston College DE Zach Allen (1), and Georgia Tech QB TaQuon Marshall (2).

The “99 Virginia Football Thoughts Before Kickoff” series has discussed much more. The previous articles are below. Click away.

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