Eight Hokies earn VaSID First Team All-State

HARRISONBURG, Va. – The Virginia Tech football team placed 13 players on the 2016 Virginia Sports Information Directors University Division All-State Football Team, the most for the school since the 2010 season. The eight first-team selections are also the most since 2010, when the Hokies had 10 on the first team, while the five defensive first-team honorees are the most since 2001.

After the 2001 season, Tech had six members voted to the all-state first team and since four times the Hokies had four members (2004, 2007, 2010, and 2012). The five Hokies that made the first team on defense in 2016 were led by senior defensive linemen Woody Baron and Ken Ekanem.

Baron capped a sensational final campaign at Tech 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%).

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.

Other first-team defensive selections for the Hokies included linebackers Tremaine Edmunds and Andrew Motuapuaka, as well as cornerback Greg Stroman.

Motuapuaka led the Hokies with a career-high 114 tackles (52 solo), while adding 5.0 TFLs, 2.0 sacks and seven passes defensed. The redshirt-junior 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.

Edmunds, from Danville, Va., enjoyed a breakout season for the Hokies in 2016 as he tied with Baron for the team lead with 18.5 TFLs. A second-team All-ACC selection by the conference’s coaches and media, the sophomore finished second on the squad with 106 tackles (56 solo), while also adding 4.5 sacks, four passes defensed and an interception.

Lastly, Stroman started the first nine games of the year before suffering an ankle injury, was well on his way to a phenomenal season. The Bristow, Virginia product, had three interceptions, including two in the opener, and eight pass breakups in those starts. On special teams, he blocked one field goal attempt that was returned for a touchdown and was one of a handful of players (at the time) with more than 400 kick return yards and 200 punt return yards, which included an 87-yard return for a touchdown.

Offensively, Tech had three players chosen for the first team, led by three-time first-team selection Bucky Hodges. The Virginia Beach, Va. native, earned All-ACC honors from both the league’s coaches and the media, while also being named a semifinalist for the John Mackey Award.

He finished third on the team in receptions (48) and receiving yards (691) and tied with Isaiah Ford in touchdown catches (7). He finished his Tech career as the school’s all-time leader in all three categories for tight ends (133/1,747/20) and finished fourth in the ACC in career catches, second in yards and tied for first in career touchdowns for a tight end.

Wide receiver Ford nabbed his second straight first-team honor as he closed his Tech career owning school records with 210 receptions for 2,967 yards and 24 touchdowns. That makes 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.

Offensive linemen Augie Conte, from Richmond, Va., and Wyatt Teller, a native of Bealeton, Va., were also honored with the departing senior Conte garnering a first-team selection and the redshirt-junior Teller being one of three Hokies to earn a spot on the second-team offense.

This pair helped pave the way for a Virginia Tech offense that tied or broke 10 single-season offensive school records. Behind the blocking unit led by Conte and Teller, the Hokies established Tech single-season standards for total points (490), first downs (330) and yards of total offense (6,223).

Wide receiver Cam Phillips also earned 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. The junior from Laurel, Md., accumulated 983 yards with five touchdowns on the season and now stands third in school history with 165 career receptions.

Quarterback Jerod Evans, out of Dallas, Texas, was a second-team selection 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.

The only second team defender for the Hokies was Terrell Edmunds, from Danville, Va., and like his brother also had a breakout season. The redshirt-sophomore 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.

Rounding out Tech’s second-team 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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