Seven defensive players highlight the 10 UVA players named to the 2014 All-Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Football team, as selected by the league’s 14 head coaches. Quin Blanding was named ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year by the coaches after the media bestowed the same honor on the true freshman last week.
Safety Blanding, linebacker Henry Coley, placekicker Ian Frye, defensive end Eli Harold and running back Kevin Parks led UVa with second-team honors. Cornerback Maurice Canady, defensive tackle David Dean, safety Anthony Harris and linebacker Max Valles earned third team accolades, while return specialist Darius Jennings was an named honorable-mention honoree.
With nine players named to the second and third teams, UVa ranks No. 2 in the ACC for total number of 2014 All-ACC players named to either the coaches’ first, second or third teams. Florida State (18) is the only school ahead of Virginia. UVa and Georgia Tech lead the ACC with five second-team honorees. All 10 Cavaliers were also named All-ACC by the media last week. The media and coaches teams mirror each other in regards to seven UVa players. The three differences were Canady was a second-team selection by the media, Dean was an honorable mention by the media and Parks was a third-team selection by the media.
The All-ACC accolades are the second-career nods for Harris and Parks, both of whom were named all-league performers by the coaches in 2013. Blanding, Canady, Coley, Dean, Frye, Harold and Valles all earned first-career honors from the ACC coaches.
Blanding (Fr., Virginia Beach, Va.) finished the regular season No. 2 in the ACC and No. 12 in the nation with 123 tackles. He finished his rookie campaign tied with Jamie Sharper (1996) for No. 10 in the UVa record book for tackles in a season and the 123 stops is the most tackles by a Cavalier in a season since Angelo Crowell had 155 in 2002. Blanding is one of two freshmen in the nation to lead his team in tackles (NC State’s Jerod Fernandez, 76) and he also led UVa with 79 tackles on rushing plays for the nation’s No. 21 rush defense (120.7 per game).
Coley (Sr., Virginia Beach, Va.) finished the season No. 5 in the ACC with 8.0 sacks and No. 7 with 12.5 tackles for loss. Coley and Valles led all ACC linebackers and defensive backs in tackles for loss. Coley recorded 76 tackles, broke up six passes and forced two fumbles.
Frye (Jr., Bristol, Va.) finished the season No. 2 all-time at UVa for field goals in a season (22). His 22 made field goals is tied for No. 1 in the ACC and No. 5 nationally. Frye was also named a semifinalist for the Lou Groza Award and was twice named the ACC Specialist of the Week, including after his 42-yard kick elevated UVa over then-No. 21 Louisville. It was the third-longest game-winning kick in schoolhistory.
Harold (Jr., Virginia Beach, Va.) finished the year No. 3 in the ACC with 14.5 tackles for loss and No. 6 in the ACC with 7.0 sacks. He made 54 tackles, forced one fumble and recovered two, including returning one 22 yards for a touchdown against Richmond. Harold also intercepted his second career pass at then-No.2 Florida State.
Parks (Sr., Salisbury, N.C.) finished the season No. 8 in the ACC with 745 rushing yards and concludes outstanding career No. 5 all-time at UVa with 3,219 career rushing yards.
Canady (Jr., Richmond, Va.) finished the season No. 2 in the ACC with 15 passes defended and tied with the team lead with three interceptions. He returned an interception for a touchdown 69 yards against Kent State, the fourth-longest return for a touchdown in program history.
Dean (Jr., Virginia Beach, Va.) was a key cog in the middle of UVa’s defensive front seven. He recorded first career interception and returned it three yards for a touchdown at Virginia Tech.
Harris (Sr., Chesterfield, Va.) finished the year No. 2 on the team with 108 tackles. No. 2 on the team with 70 tackles on rushing plays for the nation’s No. 21 rush defense (120.7 per game). Harris intercepted two passes to finish his career No. 10 all-time in program history with 11 picks.
Valles (So., Sicklerville, N.J.) finished No. 2 in the ACC with 9.0 sacks and No. 7 in the ACC with 12.5 tackles for loss. Valles and Coley led all ACC linebackers and defensive backs in tackles for loss. Valles recorded an interception and returned it 35 yards for a touchdown against Pitt.
Honorable Mention Honoree
Jennings (Sr., Baltimore, Md.) finished the season No. 1 in the ACC and No. 6 nationally with 27.5 kick return yards per game. His 1,839 career kick return yards is a UVa record.