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UVA football: Blanding, Conte and Kiser Earn Coaches All-ACC honors

uva footballUVA free safety Quin Blanding, punter Nicholas Conte and inside linebacker Micah Kiser were named to 2016 Coaches All-ACC Football team, as announced Thursday by the league’s 14 head coaches. Blanding, Conte and Kiser were named to the first team.

All three players were also named to the Coaches All-ACC team in 2015. Blanding and Kiser were second-team recipients and Conte earned an honorable mention nod. Blanding also earned second-team Coaches All-ACC honors in 2014 as a freshman.

This is the first season UVA has had more than one first-team honoree on the Coaches All-ACC team since the league’s head coaches first voted on a postseason all-league team in 2012.

Blanding (Jr., Virginia Beach, Va.) ranks No. 2 in the ACC and No. 10 in the nation with 10.0 tackles per game. Blanding recorded 120 tackles in 2016, which ranks No. 7 in the nation. His 10.0 tackles per game average and 120 total tackles are the most in the nation by a defensive back. Blanding has finished No. 2 in the ACC in tackles three seasons in a row, twice behind Kiser. Blanding was also voted first-team All-ACC by the league’s media last week. He has also been named a second-team All-American by the Sporting News and a third-team All-American by College Sports Madness.

Conte (Sr., Roanoke, Va.) ranks No. 1 in the ACC and No. 17 in the nation with a 44.3-yard punting average. He currently ranks No. 1 in the nation with 34 punts inside the 20 and No. 3 in the nation with 23 punts of 50 yards or more. Conte’s career punting average of 44.45 yards per punt is a UVA career record and ranks No. 3 all-time in the ACC record book. Conte was also voted first-team All-ACC by the league’s media last week. Conte was a Ray Guy Award semifinalist and a semifinalist for the National Football Foundation’s Campbell Award. Conte is a member of CoSIDA’s Academic All-District team.

Kiser (Jr., Baltimore, Md.) ranks No. 1 in the ACC and is tied for No. 3 in the nation with 11.2 tackles per game. His 134 total stops rank No. 2 in the nation and is tied with Wali Rainer for the fourth-most single-season tackles in program history. Kiser also ranks No. 4 in the nation in forced fumbles (5) and No. 2 in the ACC and No. 10 in the nation in sacks by a linebacker (6.5). Kiser is a semifinalist for the Butkus Award and Lott IMPACT Trophy. Kiser was also voted first-team All-ACC by the league’s media last week. College Sports Madness named Kiser a third-team All-American.

For the second year in a row Blanding and Kiser finished No. 1 and No. 2 in tackles in the ACC. They were the only duo in 2015 to accomplish the feat among the 10 FBS conferences. TCU’s Travin Howard (1042) and Ty Summers (9.42) join Blanding and Kiser in 2016 as they lead the Big 12 in tackles.