The ACC had a fairly successful opening weekend with some players putting forth terrific efforts.
However, only a handful can be recognized each week, so with respect to Miami’s Davon Johnson, Virginia Tech’s Derrick Hopkins, Duke’s Sean Renfree and Connor Vernon, and Florida State’s James Wilder Jr., here is this week’s Honor Roll:
DeAndre Hopkins, Clemson – The junior wide receiver who flew well under Sammy Watkins’ radar last season despite hauling in 72 passes for nearly 1,000 yards, set a Clemson record with 13 receptions in a win over Auburn. Hopkins’ receptions went for 119 yards and a touchdown and were instrumental in giving the Tigers the belief they would beat the War Eagles.
Michael Rocco, Virginia – The junior quarterback, who barely beat out Alabama transfer Phillip Sims in camp, completed 25 of 37 pass attempts for 311 yards and two scores and didn’t even play the fourth quarter in a 43-19 beating of Richmond. Rocco will still get challenged by Sims, but he made a statement of sorts with this performance.
Gio Bernard, UNC – The sophomore tailback ran the ball 9 times for 93 yards, including a 59-yard touchdown run, plus he caught and touchdown pass and returned a punt 70 yards for a score, crossing the goal line in three different ways in a 12-minute span in the Tar Heels’ 62-0 pummeling of Elon on Larry Fedora’s debut as head coach.
Joe Vellano, Maryland – The All-ACC defensive tackle registered 11 tackles, including two for a loss of yardage and he grabbed an interception in the Terrapins’ 7-6 victory William & Mary. It was a miserable opening performance for Maryland, but Vellano continued to do his thing.
Jack Tyler, Virginia Tech – The linebacker had a monster night Monday collecting 17 tackles in the Hokies’ 20-17 overtime victory over Georgia Tech. Tyler led a defense that allowed just 288 total yards, including only 192 on the ground, well under its average during the Paul Johnson era, to one of the ACC’s top offensive clubs.
Disappointment of the Week
N.C. State – The Wolfpack returned 15 starters including what was promoted as one of the best secondaries in the nation and a future NFL quarterback. But the Pack was regularly torched by Tennessee and Mike Glennon threw four interceptions and fumbled in the end zone leading to a Volunteers’ safety in a 35-21 loss in Atlanta.
Player of the Week
Andre Ellington, Clemson – The senior tailback ran for 231 yards on 26 carries, including a 68-yard run that was a highlight-film special that has propelled him into the broad Heisman Trophy conversation. With wide receiver Sammy Watkins out, others had to step up for the Tigers in their win over Auburn, and Ellington more than did his part.
Coach of the Week
Larry Fedora, UNC – It’s rather evident that in just eight months Fedora has changed a great deal of Carolina’s inner culture. It wasn’t because the Tar Heels won 62-0 on Saturday over a mediocre FCS team, but how they went about it on both sides of the ball and how the players have handled this transition that have been so impressive. Fedora and his staff have done a remarkable job in such a short period of time.