Heel Tough Blog: Eleven Tar Heels Named to All-ACC Teams
With the conclusion of the 2021 regular season this past weekend and bowl designations on the horizon, all-conference teams and awards are starting to be handed out. On Tuesday morning, the ACC released their All-ACC designations and even though this wasn’t the season that the Tar Heels were hoping for, eleven players were still among those honored. Let’s take a look at who landed what honors earlier today.
First Team All-ACC: Josh Downs
There was no doubt about this one, as Downs led the league in receptions (98) and finished in the top five in both receiving yards (1273) and receiving touchdowns (8). Downs caught at least eight catches and 50 or more yards in all but one game this season and scored a touchdown in each of the first seven games of the season. The reason why Downs might miss out on first team All-American honors, though, is that he did not find the endzone in any of the team’s final five games.
Second Team All-ACC: Ty Chandler and Myles Murphy
Chandler was a shoe in here as one of the league's top running backs this season but Murphy was a bit of a surprise here. Chandler finished top five in the league in rushing yards (1063), scrimmage yards (1278), rushing yards per attempt (6.1), rushing touchdowns (13) and scrimmage touchdowns (14). He honestly had a legitimate case to join Downs with first team honors. As for Murphy, he had a nice sophomore season, finishing with 32 total tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss and 4.0 sacks and three pass deflections, all solid numbers for a defensive tackle, but the majority of which came in the first half of the season.
Third Team All-ACC: Tomon Fox, Jeremiah Gemmel and Cam’Ron Kelly
Kelly was the surprise of this group, but with his ability to create turnovers, it makes sense why he is here. He tied for the league lead in interceptions with four this season and finished with 56 total tackles to go along with it. Fox finished tied for fourth in the conference in sacks this season with 8.0 and he had 9.5 tackles for loss, a team high for the Tar Heels. The lack of consistency is the only reason why he and Kelly probably weren’t higher on the list. Gemmel had a solid all around season with 71 total tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks, finishing top three on the team in each of those first two categories.
All-ACC Honorable Mentions: Joshua Ezeudu, Tony Grimes, Sam Howell, Marcus McKethan and Raymond Vohasek
The most honorees were under the honorable mentions and feature two preseason first teamers. Howell had another tremendous season, finishing in the top six in the conference in every major passing category and top three in rushing yards and rushing touchdowns amongst quarterbacks. Grimes, the other preseason first teamer came just one vote short of making third team after a solid second season in the Tar Heels defense where he finished with 41 total tackles and 9 pass deflections. Ezeudu and McKethan were part of an offensive line that struggled overall, but they were easily the two best members of the unit and graded out amongst the top guards in the conference according to PFF. Vohasek closed out his Tar Heel career with a solid senior season, wracking up 34 total tackles, 4.0 tackles for loss and 1.0 sack.