July 21, 2015
Hokies picked to finish second in ACC's Coastal at #ACCKickoff
Clemson, Georgia Tech chosen by media to win league's divisions

PINEHURST, N.C. – Virginia Tech was picked to finish second in the Atlantic Coast Conference’s Coastal Division according to a poll of 158 media members that was released Tuesday morning at the #ACCKickoff at Pinehurst Resort.

The Hokies received 44 first-place votes. Media members picked Georgia Tech to win the Coastal, and the Yellow Jackets recorded 96 first-place votes. Miami, Duke, North Carolina, Pittsburgh and Virginia rounded out the voting in the Coastal.

The Hokies were picked to finish third in the Coastal in last year’s poll.

Clemson is the preseason favorite to claim the ACC football championship. The Tigers were also picked over three-time defending ACC champion Florida State to capture the Atlantic Division.

Clemson was picked the likely overall champion of the ACC on 84 ballots, followed by Florida State with 41 and Georgia Tech with 20. Virginia Tech (7 votes), North Carolina (3), Miami (2) and NC State (1) rounded out the balloting.

In the Atlantic Division preseason voting, Clemson received 101 first-place votes. Florida State received 56 first-place votes, while Louisville had one first-place vote. NC State was tabbed for a fourth-place Atlantic Division finish, followed by Boston College, Syracuse and Wake Forest.

Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson, who established himself as one of the nation’s rising stars as a true freshman last season, was voted the 2015 ACC Preseason Player of the Year. Virginia Tech’s Kendall Fuller placed seventh in the same voting.

Watson will lead a talented Clemson offense that also returns talented wide receivers Mike Williams and Artavis Scott. The Tigers, who have won at least 10 games each of the past four seasons, seek their 15th ACC championship and first since 2011.

Watson led the preseason ACC Player of the Year balloting with 69 votes, followed by 2014 ACC leading rusher and Player of the Year James Conner of Pittsburgh with 46. Georgia Tech quarterback Justin Thomas placed third with 13 votes.

Injuries sidelined Watson for part of his freshman season, but the Gainesville, Georgia product still threw for 1,466 yards and 14 touchdowns against only two interceptions in 330 snaps over eight games (five starts). He also made his mark as a rushing threat with 200 yards and five touchdowns on 63 carries.

Watson finished last season ranking first in Clemson history in passing efficiency and completion percentage by a freshman, as well as first in school history in passing yards, passing touchdowns and total offense by a first-year freshman.

Here is a look at the polling:

ACC Championship Votes

1. Clemson - 84

2. Florida State - 41

3. Georgia Tech - 20

4. Virginia Tech - 7

5. North Carolina - 3

6. Miami - 2

7. NC State - 1

Atlantic Division

(First place votes in parenthesis)

1. Clemson (101) – 1,032 points

2. Florida State (56) - 992

3. Louisville (1) - 746

4. NC State - 673

5. Boston College - 473

6. Syracuse - 291

7. Wake Forest - 217

Coastal Division

(First place votes in parenthesis)

1. Georgia Tech (96) – 991 points

2. Virginia Tech (44) - 841

3. Miami (7) - 632

4. Duke (4) - 615

5. North Carolina (4) - 590

6. Pitt (3) -535

7. Virginia -220

ACC Player of the Year

1. Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson - 69

2. James Conner, RB, Pitt - 46

3. Justin Thomas, QB, Georgia Tech - 13

4. Jalen Ramsey, CB Florida State - 7

5. Brad Kaaya, QB, Miami -7

6. Marquise Williams, QB, North Carolina - 6

7. Kendall Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech - 6

8. Tyler Boyd, WR, Pitt – 3

9. Jacoby Brissett, QB, NC State – 1

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