Atlantic Coast Conference announces football players of the week
Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson was recognized as the ACC Offensive Back of the Week for his play in the sixth-ranked Tigers’ win over Boston College, while teammate Jay Guillermo picked up his second consecutive Offensive Lineman of the Week honor.
Florida State’s Kermit Whitfield was selected as the ACC Receiver of the Week following his performance in the ninth-ranked Seminoles’ 42-21 win over Louisville, while FSU sophomore Jacob Pugh was named the conference’s Linebacker of the Week.
Also recognized were North Carolina’s Junior Gnonkonde (Defensive Lineman of the Week), Miami’s Artie Burns (Defensive Back of the Week), Pitt’s Chris Blewitt (Specialist of the Week) and Georgia Tech’s Marcus Marshall (Rookie of the Week).
ACC Football Players of the Week are selected by a 14-member media panel.
OFFENSIVE BACK – Deshaun Watson, Clemson, So., QB, 6-2, 205, Gainesville, Ga.
Watson completed 27 of 41 passes for 420 yards and three touchdowns in the Tigers’ 34-17 win over Boston College. He added 32 yards rushing in 11 attempts, giving him 452 yards of total offense against the Eagles, who lead the nation in total defense and entered allowing just 140 total yards per game. Clemson had 139 yards in the first quarter. Watson’s 420 passing yards equals the fifth-best game in Clemson history, and his 452 yards of total offense ranks seventh. Watson was responsible for all four Clemson touchdowns, three on passes and one on a 22-yard run. Boston College had allowed just one touchdown in its previous three games combined. Watson became the only quarterback in Clemson history to win 10 of his first 11 games as a starter.
OFFENSIVE LINEMAN – Jay Guillermo, Clemson, Jr., C/OG, 6-3, 310, Maryville, Tenn.
Guillermo repeated as ACC Offensive Lineman of the Week after he graded 88 percent on 78 plays and had three knockdown blocks in Clemson’s win over Boston College. He saw action at both center and guard while playing every offensive snap. He was Clemson’s highest graded offensive lineman according to the Tigers’ coaches for the second straight week. He was a significant reason Clemson gained 532 yards of total offense against a Boston College team that ranks number-one in the nation in total defense and came in allowing just 140 yards a game.
RECEIVER – Kermit Whitfield, Florida State, Jr., WR, 5-8, 184, Orlando, Fla.
Whitfield had a nine-catch, 172-yard, one-TD performance in the Seminoles’ 41-21 win over Louisville on Saturday. His nine catches tied a career high, while the 172 receiving yards were the most by a Seminole this season. Whitfield caught a 70-yard touchdown pass – FSU’s longest pass completion of the season – for what proved to be the winning score in the third quarter. Whitfield ran over 50 yards to complete the touchdown play after making the catch.
DEFENSIVE LINEMAN – Junior Gnonkonde, North Carolina, Jr., DE, 6-4, 260, Lakeland, Ga.
Gnonkonde recorded two sacks, both coming in a span of three plays in the third quarter of North Carolina’s 50-14 win over Wake Forest. That matched the total number of sacks the Tar Heels had registered this season prior to that drive. He finished with nine tackles, two sacks and 2.5 tackles for loss as UNC shut out Wake Forest in the second half and held the Demon Deacons to 310 total yards of offense, including just 113 on the ground.
LINEBACKER – Jacob Pugh, Florida State, So., LB, 6-4, 239, Dade City, Fla.
Pugh had two sacks and a game-high seven tackles in the Seminoles’ 41-21 win over Louisville. Pugh led a defensive effort that recorded a season-high five sacks – FSU’s most since 2013 – and held Louisville to just 99 yards rushing. Pugh’s two sacks and seven total tackles also marked career highs.
DEFENSIVE BACK – Artie Burns, Miami, Jr, CB, 6-0, 193, Miami, Fla.
Burns tallied a career-high two interceptions, including one late in the fourth quarter that helped seal the Hurricanes’ 30-20 win over visiting Virginia Tech. Burns currently leads the team and ranks third nationally with five interceptions on the year. With Saturday’s effort, Burns became the first Hurricane with multiple interceptions in a game since Tracy Howard accomplished the feat against North Carolina in 2013.
SPECIALIST – Chris Blewitt, Pitt, Sr., PK, 5-9, 190, Alexandria, Va.
Blewitt was the hero of Pitt’s game at Georgia Tech, kicking a school-record 56-yard field goal with 1:11 left to give the Panthers a 31-28 win. The kick eclipsed the 21-year-old Pitt record held by David Merrick (54 yards vs. Texas in 1994). Blewitt was 4-for-4 on kicking efforts (3-for-3 on PATs, plus his lone, successful record field goal attempt). He also helped the Panthers in the battle for field position battle by registering four touchbacks on six kickoffs.
ROOKIE – Marcus Marshall, Georgia Tech, Fr., RB, 5-10, 209, Raleigh, N.C.
Marshall accounted for two of Georgia Tech’s four touchdowns and carried 10 times for 159 yards against Pitt on Saturday. Marshall had two 58-yard carries against Pitt – one touchdown run and another that set up a game-tying Georgia Tech TD at the beginning of the fourth quarter. His 58-yard runs were his longest since a 64-yarder in the season opener. Marshall averaged 15.9 yards per carry against the Panthers while posting his second 100-yard rushing game of the season. It also marked the second time he scored twice in a game.