UVA football: Blanding, Conte, Kiser highlight All-ACC honorees

uva footballFree safety Quin Blanding, punter Nicholas Conte and inside linebacker Micah Kiser highlight four UVA players named to 2016 All-Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Football team, as announced Monday by the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association (ACSMA). Blanding, Conte and Kiser were named to the first team. Running back Taquan Mizzell earned honorable mention honors.

This is the second year in a row that Blanding and Kiser have earned first-team All-ACC honors. It is also the first time since 2011 UVA has had three players earn first-team honors (Matt Conrath, Chase Minnifield, Austin Pasztor). Blanding and Kiser are the first Cavaliers since Minnifield (2010 and 2011) to earn first-team All-ACC honors in back-to-back seasons. They are the first UVA duo to accomplish the feat since Thomas Jones and Noel LaMontagne in 1998 and 1999.

Conte is the first UVA punter to earn first-team All-ACC honors since Will Brice in 1996.

This is the third career All-ACC honor for Blanding, which includes second-team accolades in 2014. The All-ACC accolades is the second career nods for Conte, Kiser and Mizzell. Conte was an honorable mention selection in 2015 and Mizzell earned third-team honors.

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.

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 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.

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 (10.82) and Ty Summers (9.55) join Blanding and Kiser in 2016 as they lead the Big 12 in tackles.

Mizzell (Sr., Virginia Beach, Va.) is the only player in ACC history with 1,500 career rushing and 1,500 career receiving yards. He ranks No. 7 in the ACC with 114.67 all-purpose yards per game and No. 7 in the ACC with 940 rushing yards. His 52 receptions led all UVA receivers. He is one of four players in the nation to lead his team in rushing yards and receptions, joining TCU’s Kyle Hicks, Texas State’s Stedman Mayberry and San Diego State’s Donnel Pumphrey. Mizzell concludes his career as the ACC record holder for career receptions by a running back with 195. Mizzell concludes his UVA career No. 16 all-time in rushing (2,075) and No. 12 all-time in career receiving (1,560).

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