Woody Baron Selected State Defensive Player of Year

ROANOKE – Senior defensive tackle Woody Baron headlined a list of 12 Virginia Tech football student-athletes selected to the all-state college football team of The Roanoke Times.

Baron capped a sensational campaign with 18.5 tackles for loss to tie for the sixth-highest tally in the ACC. A first-team All-ACC selection by The Associated Press and ESPN.com, the Nashville native also racked up a career-high 56 tackles (37 solo) and 5.5 sacks on the season. Baron led a Virginia Tech defense that ranked second among Power Five squads in third-down defense (27.5%), fourth in tackles for loss (113.0) and fifth in opponent completion percentage (50.1%).

Other first-team defensive selections for the Hokies included linebackers Tremaine Edmunds and Andrew Motuapuaka, as well as safety Terrell Edmunds. Motuapuaka led the Hokies with a career-high 114 tackles (52 solo), while adding 5.0 TFLs, 2.0 sacks and seven passes defensed. He recovered two fumbles, one of which he returned for a 70-yard touchdown vs. Virginia. The Virginia Beach, Va., product was a second-team All-ACC pick of the conference’s coaches.

The Edmunds brothers from Danville, Va., both enjoyed breakout seasons for the Hokies in 2016. Tremaine Edmunds tied with Baron for the team lead with 18.5 TFLs. A second-team All-ACC selection by the conference’s coaches and media, he finished second on the squad with 106 tackles (56 solo), while also adding 4.5 sacks, four passes defensed and an interception. Terrell Edmunds earned All-ACC honors from ESPN.com after ranking sixth in the conference with four INTs. He ranked fourth on the squad with 89 tackles (45 solo), while adding seven passes defensed.

Wide receiver Isaiah Ford was the lone Virginia Tech representative on the first-team offensive unit. He closed his Tech career owning school records with 210 receptions for 2,967 yards and 24 touchdowns, making him the only player in ACC history to own sole possession of all three of those career receiving marks at his school. The Jacksonville, Fla., produced the two top seasons in Tech history in terms of both receptions and receiving yards, posting a VT single-season record 79 catches in 2016, registering 1,094 yards and seven TDs in the process.

Seniors Ken Ekanem and Chuck Clark represented the Virginia Tech defense on the second team. A Centreville, Va., native, Ekanem led the team with 7.5 sacks, earning honorable mention All-ACC honors from the league’s coaches. He finished the season with 10.0 TFLs, 11 quarterback hurries and two passes defended. Clark anchored the Tech secondary and ranked third on the squad with 94 tackles (50 solo). He added 2.5 TFLs and a pair of passes defensed.

Wide receiver Cam Phillips was one of five Hokies to earn a spot on the second-team offense. The MVP of the Belk Bowl, Phillips registered 76 receptions in 2016, the second-highest seasonal total in Tech annals. He accumulated 983 yards with five touchdowns on the season and now stands third in school history with 165 career receptions.

Quarterback Jerod Evans also earned second-team accolades after a record-setting season in Blacksburg. The AP’s ACC Newcomer of the Year, Evans established eight Tech single-season marks in 2016, including pass completions (268), passing yards (3,546), TD passes (29) and yards of total offense (4,392). His 843 rushing yards were the most ever by a Hokies quarterback, while his 153.0 passer rating ranked third in the ACC.

Offensive linemen Jonathan McLaughlin and Wyatt Teller both earned second-team honors, as well, after helping pave the way for a Virginia Tech offense that tied or broke 10 single-season offensive school records. Behind the blocking unit led by McLaughlin and Teller, the Hokies established Tech single-season standards for total points (490), first downs (330) and yards of total offense (6,223). McLaughlin hails from Mauldin, S.C., while Teller is a native of Bealeton, Va.

Rounding out Tech’s second-team offensive selections was junior kicker Joey Slye. A first-team All-ACC selection by the conference’s coaches, the Stafford, Va., product led all ACC kickers with 118 points, the highest total ever by a Tech kicker. His six made field goals at Pitt tied as the most ever in ACC annals and also tied the Hokies’ single-game mark. His 63 career made field goals are second in school history, while his 321 career points rank third all-time in Tech history.

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