Six NC State football players earned recognition from the ACC today for their play in the 2020 season. Defensive Tackle Alim McNeill and Linebacker Payton Wilson both led the way with each earning 1st Team honors at their respective positions.
Zonovan Knight (RB), Ikem Ekwonu (OT), Joe Sculthorpe (OG), and Thayer Thomas (STP) earned 3rd team recognition.
Emeka Emezie earned Honorable Mention status, falling six points shy of 3rd Team honors. Cary Angeline, Isaiah Moore, and Christopher Dunn also each earned Honorable Mention status for receiving 20 or more votes/points.
Each of them feel like snubs to me. I mean, really, 3rd team kicker Nick Sciba of Wake Forest didn’t even attempt a field goal over 50 yards this season while Dunn hit 2-of-3 from that distance, and Sciba missed a field goal from inside of 30 yards. Dunn sure as heck doesn’t have that on his 2020 resume, yet Sciba ended up with almost three times as many vote points. Absurd.
Isaiah Moore finished the season 6th in the ACC in tackles and tied for 11th in tackles-for-loss. That’s for all players, not just LBs. You know where ol’ Chazz Surratt, the top vote-getter for ACC linebackers ranks in TFL? Tied for 33rd. He probably did lead the league in missed tackles, though, so you gotta give him credit there. All-ACC 2nd teamer James Skalaski of Clemson had a whopping 32 tackles and 3.5 TFL on the season. What a joke.
Dunn and Moore both deserved better recognition, although this does mark the 3rd straight year Dunn has garnered postseason recognition (2nd team in 2018 and 2019). For Angeline, it’s his second straight year on the Honorable Mention list.
The 10 NC State All-ACC honorees marks the 2nd most in a single season under Dave Doeren, trailing only the 2017 team which had 11 players honored.
Pro Football Focus - a more statistically inclined football evaluation site - also released their 2020 All-ACC Team this week, with seven Wolfpack players earning recognition.
On PFF’s All-ACC Team
- Alim McNeill - DT - 1st Team
- Grant Gibson - C - 2nd Team
- Tanner Ingle - S - 2nd Team
- Zonovan Knight - RB - 3rd Team
- Thayer Thomas - WR - 3rd Team
- Emeka Emezie - WR - Honorable Mention
- Ikem Ekwonu - OT - Honorable Mention
From PFF on McNeill:
McNeil played 87% of his total snaps at heads-up nose tackle this year, making his production nothing short of incredible. Only one player since 2014 has produced a higher PFF grade at 0-technique than McNeil’s 90.5 this season (former Mississippi State Bulldog and current Tennessee Titan Jeffery Simmons in 2017).
McNeil won 10% of his pass-rush snaps from the position, an impressive figure in its own right, but the reason for his overall success is due to his run defense. He was a constant disruptor against opposing run games and earned a 92.1 run-defense grade on the year.
Yeah, there’s a reason that guy is going pro early. If Simmons is his draft comp, he’ll be hearing his name on Day 1 of the draft come April.