CLEMSON — The usual suspects, and one unlikely character, will always have that extra line added to their college bios.
Clemson, labeled Tuesday the favorite to capture the 2015 ACC Championship, leads all league teams with five players named to the preseason all-ACC roster.
Among the 27 players on the squad are Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson, the ACC’s preseason player of the year, along with wide receivers Artavis Scott and Mike Williams, offensive guard Eric Mac Lain and defensive end Shaq Lawson.
Watson is being showered with preseason praise, on account of his immense potential and a few dazzling games during his injury-marred freshman year. Based on the voting media’s points-based system, Watson held a comfortable lead over Georgia Tech’s Justin Thomas, UNC’s Marquise Williams and Miami’s Brad Kaaya.
Scott and Williams were joined by Tyler Boyd of Pittsburgh as the first-team wideouts. Boyd was a 2014 postseason first-team selection, whereas Scott and Williams were on the second team.
Lawson, a longtime backup with 7.5 career sacks in a reserve role, is Clemson’s lone defender on the squad.
Sophomore cornerback Mackensie Alexander took a distant third in his position’s voting, beaten by seasoned colleagues Kendall Fuller of Virginia Tech and Jalen Ramsey of Florida State. Junior safety Jayron Kearse faced the same plight, voted a distant third behind Virginia’s Quan Blanding and Duke’s Jeremy Cash.
The surprise pick was Mac Lain, who has started as many college football games (one) as ACC Media Days, where Mac Lain showcased his entertaining demeanor Monday.
UNC’s Landon Turner scorched the offensive guard voting, but the second and final slot had five candidates separated by seven votes — topped by Mac Lain, who has played in 39 games.
Florida State and Virginia Tech each trailed Clemson with four nominees each; Pitt had three, including 2014 ACC Player of the Year and running back James Conner.
Wake Forest, which went 3-9 in 2014, landed two selections (linebacker Brandon Chubb and punter Alex Kinal). 2015 Orange Bowl champion Georgia Tech only has defensive tackle Adam Gotsis, whereas historically talent-laden Miami has zero preseason all-ACC players.
Although they aren’t on the squad, Alexander, Kearse, defensive tackle D.J. Reader, linebacker Ben Boulware, running back Wayne Gallman, tight end Jordan Leggett and center Ryan Norton received consideration from Clemson. The Tigers earned zero votes at the three special teams positions of punter, kicker and returner.