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Six NC State players earn first-team All-ACC honors

The Pack defense is well represented.

NCAA Football: Louisville at North Carolina State Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

NC State had eight players earn All-ACC honors in 2021, including six players who earned first-team honors. Not surprisingly, most of those first-teamers are from the defensive side of the ball.

Leading the way on the first team is linebacker Drake Thomas, who was the top vote-getter at his position. Defensive tackle Cory Durden and safety Tanner Ingle also made the first team. Left tackle Ickey Ekwonu is State’s lone representative on the first-team offense, Trenton Gill is the first-team punter, and Bam Knight earned first-team recognition as a kickoff returner.

Wide receiver Emeka Emezie made the second team, and center Grant Gibson earned third-team honors.

Notably absent is quarterback Devin Leary, who was an honorable mention in a stacked group of quarterbacks. Kenny Pickett, Sam Hartman, and Brennan Armstrong were the three guys to get the all-conference nods. Sam Howell was relegated to the honorable mention list as well.

It has been an incredible year for QBs in the ACC and some guys who would have earned All-ACC nods in years past were going to have to be left off. If I were Leary, I’d use this as motivation to come back and throw 50 touchdowns next year. Maybe 60, I dunno.