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Virginia Tech defensive standouts head list following win at No. 8 Ohio State; three from Pitt also cited.
GREENSBORO, N.C. (theACC.com) – Three members of Virginia Tech’s defensive unit received Atlantic Coast Conference weekly football honors following their performances in Saturday night’s win at No. 8 Ohio State, which capped an 11-0 weekend for league teams versus nonconference opponents.
Junior Deon Clarke, who was tabbed as the Walter Camp Foundation National Defensive Player of the Week following the Hokies’ 35-21 victory, has been named the ACC Linebacker of the Week. Clarke was joined by Virginia Tech redshirt junior Dadi Nicolas, who was named the ACC Defensive Lineman of the Week following his solid effort at defensive end. And Hokies senior rover Kyshoen Jarrett was recognized as the ACC Co-Defensive Back of the Week.
Clarke is one of two national honorees recognized by the conference this week. North Carolina sophomore cornerback Brian Walker, who was named the Athlon Sports National Defensive Player of the Week following the Tar Heels’ 31-27 win over San Diego State, received Co-ACC Defensive Back of the Week honors.
Pitt joined Virginia Tech with three ACC Player of the Week selections. Sophomore James Conner repeated as ACC Offensive Back of the Week and was joined by teammates T.J. Clemmings (ACC Offensive Lineman of the Week) and Chris Blewitt (ACC Specialist of the Week) following the Panthers’ road win at Boston College in their league opener. Other Week 2 honorees include Clemson’s Artavis Scott (ACC Receiver of the Week) and Louisville freshman running back L.J. Scott (ACCRookie of the Week).
OFFENSIVE BACK – James Conner, Pitt, So., RB, 6-2, 250, Erie, Pa.
Conner was named for the second consecutive week after leading Pitt to a 30-20 win at Boston College by rushing for 214 yards and a touchdown on 36 carries (5.9 avg.). It marked Conner's third consecutive game with more than 100 yards dating back to a 229-yard effort in the 2013 Little Caesars Pizza Bowl. During this three-game stretch, Conner has totaled 76 carries for 596 yards (7.8 avg.) and six touchdowns. It is the best three-game rushing performance by a Pitt player since Tony Dorsett closed his 1976 Heisman Trophy campaign with 625 yards and six TDs on 108 carries (208.3 yards per game and 5.8 yards per carry) against West Virginia, Penn State and Georgia (Sugar Bowl).
OFFENSIVE LINEMAN – T.J. Clemmings, Pitt, Sr.-r, OT, 6-6, 315, Teaneck, N.J.
Clemmings helped spearhead Pitt’s potent rushing attack at Boston College with his blocking up front. The Panthers rolled up 303 rushing yards on 51 carries (5.9 avg.) and did not give up a sack Clemmings has helped Pitt compile 712 rushing yards in its first two contests (356 avg.), the Panthers’ most in consecutive games since 1988.
RECEIVER – Artavis Scott, Clemson, Fr., WR, 5-11, 185, Oldsmar, Fla.
Scott had six catches for 164 yards and two touchdowns in the Tigers’ 73-7 win over S.C. State. The 164 yards established the Clemson freshman single-game record for receiving yards, breaking the previous mark of 155 set by Sammy Watkins against Auburn in 2011. Scott’s touchdowns came on a 37-yard pass from Cole Stoudt and an 8-yard strike from Deshaun Watson. Scott and Stoudt also hooked up on a 69-yard completion. Scott’s reception yardage total ranked fourth best in college football for the weekend.
DEFENSIVE LINEMAN – Dadi Nicolas, Virginia Tech, Jr.-r, DE, 6-3, 224, Delray Beach, Fla.
Nicolas was a disruptive force in the backfield all evening, leading a defensive effort that recorded seven sacks against No. 8 Ohio State. Nicolas had just three tackles, but they were all for loss with two of them being sacks as the Hokies defeated the Buckeyes on the road before a Ohio Stadium record crowd of over 105,000 and a national ESPN television audience.
LINEBACKER – Deon Clarke, Virginia Tech, Jr., LB, 6-2, 221, Richmond, Va.
Clarke led the Hokies’ stout defensive charge at No. 8 Ohio State. The junior recorded a career-high 10 tackles, including two tackles for loss and a sack, and broke up a pass as the Hokies beat the Buckeyes 35-21 in the Horseshoe. Clarke’s quarterback sack resulted in a 9-yard loss and came with just over a minute remaining and Virginia Tech leading 28-21. The win at Ohio State marked the highest ranked opponent the Hokies have ever beaten on the road.
CO-DEFENSIVE BACK – Brian Walker, North Carolina, So., CB, 5-11, 185, Charlotte, N.C.
Walker returned an interception 100 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter and added a second interception in the fourth quarter of Carolina’s 31-27 win over San Diego State. Walker had 126 interception return yards against the Aztecs, the second-highest single-game figure in UNC history. Walker’s touchdown was the third 100-yard interception return in school history. Former Tar Heels Bob Gantt (1950 vs. William & Mary) and Reggie Love (1994 vs. Tulane) also ran interceptions back 100 yards.
CO-DEFENSIVE BACK – Kyshoen Jarrett, Virginia Tech, Sr., ROV, 5-11, 190, Tannersville, Pa.
Jarrett came up with two big second-half at No. 8 Ohio State as the Hokies became the first opposing unranked nonconference team to win at Ohio Stadium since 1982. Jarrett had five tackles and broke up a pass as the defensive unit held Ohio State to under 400 yards of offense for just the second time in the Buckeyes’ last 15 games
SPECIALIST – Chris Blewitt, Pitt, So., PK, 5-9, 185, Alexandria, Va.
Blewitt played a crucial role in Pitt’s victory at Boston College, tying his career high with 12 points. He converted 3-of-3 field goal tries and went 3-of-3 on extra points. Blewitt made field goals of 49, 42 and 41 yards. The 49-yarder marked a career long. Four of Blewitt’s seven kickoffs resulted in touchbacks.
ROOKIE – L.J. Scott, Louisville, Fr., RB, 6-2, 228, Marion, Ohio
Scott rushed for career-high 126 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries in Louisville’s 66-21 win over Murray State. He registered one run of 68 yards and scored his first collegiate touchdown in the first quarter to put the Cardinals ahead 21-7.