Clemson, UNC lead selections following dramatic wins over ranked conference opponents
GREENSBORO, N.C. (theACC.com) – Three Clemson student-athletes and two from North Carolina have been recognized as Atlantic Coast Conference Football Players of the Week following their performances in league wins over ranked opponents on Saturday.
Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson was voted the ACC Offensive Back of the Week, and center Jay Guillermo received Offensive Lineman of the Week honors for their play in the fifth-ranked Tigers’ 42-36 win over third-ranked Louisville. Clemson’s Ben Boulware, who tallied a game-high 18 tackles, was recognized as the ACC Linebacker of the Week.
North Carolina senior Ryan Switzer was named the ACC Receiver of the Week for the second consecutive week after making 14 receptions in the Tar Heels’ 37-35 victory at No. 12 Florida State. Placekicker Nick Weiler, who connected on a 54-yard field goal as time expired to lift UNC to the win, earned Specialist of the Week accolades.
Miami’s Trent Harris was named ACC Defensive Linemen of the Week following his play in the Hurricanes’ 35-21 win at Georgia Tech, while Virginia’s Juan Thornhill earned Defensive Back of the Week honors after helping the Cavaliers to a 34-20 road win at Duke. Georgia Tech freshman running back Dedrick Mills was named the ACC Rookie of the Week.
Clemson’s Watson was also named the Walter Camp National Offensive Player of the Week, giving the ACC four recipients of that award in the first five weeks of the season.
The ACC Football Player of the Week selections are determined by a vote of a 14-member media panel. Selections are announced via Facebook.com/theACC Mondays at noon by the ACC Digital Network. Be sure to like Facebook.com/theACC and opt in for live alerts to be the first to be notified.
Watson completed 20-of-31 passes for 306 yards and five touchdowns to lead Clemson to a 42-36 win over No. 3 Louisville. He added 14 rushes for 91 yards for 397 yards of total offense. Watson became just the second FBS player to have at least 300 yards passing, five touchdown passes and 90 yards rushing against a top 25 team over the last four years (the other was former Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd against Ohio State in the 2014 Orange Bowl).
Guillermo played all 62 offensive plays and graded 91 percent for the Tigers in the win over Louisville. He had three knockdown blocks and did not allow a sack. Guillermo made all the line calls and did not have a bad snap. He had a key block on Wayne Gallman’s 24-yard touchdown run that put Clemson up 14-7 in the second period. Guillermo was a big reason Clemson ran for 201 yards against a Louisville team that had allowed just 122 yards and 3.1 yards per rush entering the game.
RECEIVER – Ryan Switzer, North Carolina, Sr., WR, 5-10, 185, Charleston, W. Va.
Switzer made 14 receptions for 158 yards in the 37-35 win at No. 12 Florida State. He has 30 catches over the last two weeks (16 last week vs. Pitt), which is an ACC record for most receptions in back-to-back games. It was his third consecutive game with more than 100 yards receiving and marked the eighth time he topped the century mark in his career.
DEFENSIVE LINE – Trent Harris, Miami, Jr, DL, 6-2, 250, Winter Park, Fla.
Harris did a little bit of everything for the Hurricanes in their 35-21 victory over Georgia Tech as he tied a career high with 7.0 tackles, while his 6.0 solo tackles were a career high. Harris also posted career-high totals in sacks (2.0) and tackles for loss (3.0). In addition, Harris’ first career forced fumble led to a scoop and score by linebacker Shaquille Quarterman.
Boulware had a career high 18 tackles to lead the Clemson defense in the win over Louisville. The senior had three tackles for loss, including a sack, recovered a fumble and deflected a pass in the solid all-around effort. Eight of Boulware’s tackles were solo stops.
DEFENSIVE BACK – Juan Thornhill, Virginia, So., CB, 6-1, 190, Altavista, Va.
Thornhill had two interceptions to help Virginia to a 34-20 win at Duke. He also had four tackles and broke up another pass. Thornhill was part of a defensive unit that forced six turnovers and tied the school record with five interceptions.
SPECIALIST – Nick Weiler, North Carolina, Sr., PK, 6-0, 190, Fairfax Station, Va.
Weiler booted a career-long 54-yard field goal as time expired to lift North Carolina to a 37-35 win at No. 12 Florida State. Weiler’s 54-yard field goal equaled the second-longest in UNC history and gave the Tar Heels a win over their highest ranked opponent since knocking off No. 12 Miami in 2009. It marked the highest ranked team North Carolina had beaten on the road since a win at No. 9 Syracuse in 1996.
Mills set career highs with 99 rushing yards, 108 all-purpose yards and three touchdowns (two rushing, one receiving) in Georgia Tech’s 35-21 loss to No. 14 Miami. Mills averaged 5.2 yards rushing on 19 carries and scored all three of Georgia Tech’s touchdowns on a seven-yard run, a nine-yard reception and a one-yard run. He now ranks third nationally among all freshmen, averaging 75.0 rushing yards per game and his seven rushing touchdowns leads all first-year players.