GREENSBORO, N.C. – A trio of Virginia Tech players headline a list of eight players named as the Atlantic Coast Conference Football Players of the Week, announced by the conference on Monday. Marcus Davis, the Receiver of the Week, caught five passes for 144 yards and two touchdowns. James Gayle posted a team-high nine tackles to earn Defensive Lineman of the Week honors, and J.C. Coleman was named the Rookie of the Week after rushing for a career-high 183 yards in Tech’s 41-20 win over Duke.
OFFENSIVE BACK – EJ Manuel, Florida State, R-Senior, QB, 6-5, 240, Virginia Beach, Va.
Manuel passed for a career-high 439 yards and matched his career-high with four touchdown passes as the No. 12 Seminoles defeated Boston College, 51-7. The senior from Virginia Beach, Va., authored the 10th-best single-game passing yardage performance in program history by completing 27 of 34 attempts. He also established a new career best with a 77-yard touchdown pass to Kenny Shaw to put the Seminoles on the scoreboard first. He connected with tailback James Wilder, Jr. on two scores, and as well as wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin for one. The Seminoles converted all seven trips into the red zone as they moved to 6-1 on the year and 3-1 in ACC play.
OFFENSIVE LINEMAN – Jonathan Cooper, North Carolina, Senior, G, 6-3, 295, Wilmington, N.C.
Senior offensive guard Jonathan Cooper played all 85 offensive snaps, graded a team-best 93 percent, had 14 knockdown blocks and did not allow a sack in Carolina’s 18-14 win at Miami. Cooper helped pave the way for Carolina’s 272 rushing yards, which included 177 from Giovani Bernard, 77 from Romar Morris and 14 from A.J. Blue. Both of North Carolina’s touchdowns came on the ground. On the first scoring drive, Cooper had key blocks on three plays that went for 10-or-more yards, including the 10-yard touchdown run by Bernard.
RECEIVER – Marcus Davis, Virginia Tech, R-Senior, WR, 6-4, 232, Virginia Beach, Va.
Davis had a big game as the Hokies rallied to beat Duke, 41-20. The senior hauled in five passes for 144 yards and two touchdowns to spark the comeback, scoring on passes of 42 yards and 47 yards.
DEFENSIVE LINEMAN – James Gayle, Virginia Tech, R-Junior, DE, 6-4, 269, Hampton, Va.
Gayle was all over the field in helping shut down the Duke offense after a big first quarter en route to a 41-20 Hokie win. The senior tallied a team-high nine tackles, including 2.5 for loss and a sack to go along with three quarterback hurries as the Hokies held the Blue Devils to just 22 yards rushing for the game.
LINEBACKER – Darin Drakeford, Maryland, Senior, LB, 6-1, 240, Washington, D.C.
Drakeford played a key role on the Maryland defense as the Terrapins held on to defeat Virginia, 27-20. The senior made seven tackles, five of them unassisted, three tackles for loss, and two sacks. He also forced a fumble by Virginia quarterback Phillip Sims midway through the fourth quarter, which the Terrapins recovered.
DEFENSIVE BACK – Tre Boston, North Carolina, Junior, S, 6-1, 190, Ft. Myers, Fla.
Boston posted six tackles, broke up a pass and intercepted another in an 18-14 victory at Miami. A native of Ft. Myers, Fla., Boston led a Tar Heel defense that held Miami to 235 yards passing, 60 yards less than its season average.
SPECIALIST – Stefon Diggs, Maryland, Freshman, WR/KR, 6-1, 185, Gaithersburg, Md.
Diggs made his impact right from the start in Maryland’s 27-20 win over Virginia by taking the opening kickoff 100 yards untouched for a touchdown. It was just the fourth 100-yard kickoff return in school history and gave Maryland a lead it wouldn’t surrender. On Maryland’s next drive, Diggs took a short pass 60 yards to setup another touchdown. He finished with 89 receiving yards on four catches and a season-high 239 all-purpose yards. This is the third weekly award for Diggs in his freshman campaign after previously earning Rookie of the Week honors on Sept. 24 and Oct. 8.
ROOKIE – J.C. Coleman, Virginia Tech, Freshman, TB, 5-8, 192, Chesapeake, Va.
Coleman moved into the starting lineup and made the most of his opportunity, rushing for a career-high 183 yards on just 13 carries (14.1 yards per carry) with two long touchdown runs. The 183 yards rushing are the most by a true freshman under head coach Frank Beamer. Coleman scored on runs of 45 yards and 86 yards as the Hokies downed Duke, 41-20.
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