By Staff Report.
GREENSBORO, N.C. – North Carolina senior quarterback T.J. Yates headlines a list of six players honored as the Atlantic Coast Conference Football Players of the Week, announced Monday by the ACC. Yates, who claimed his second recognition of the season, threw for a school-record 439 yards and three touchdowns in the Tar Heels’ 37-35 win at then-No. 24 Florida State. He became the first player in school history to register two 400-plus passing games in a career and currently has the top two performances in the conference this year. The win was the first for North Carolina in Tallahassee.
Virginia Tech had two players recognized as sophomore linebacker Bruce Taylor was named the defensive lineman of the week and his classmate tailback David Wilson was the specialist of the week. It was Taylor’s second honor of the season. Duke junior tight end Cooper Helfet was selected the offensive lineman of the week for the second-straight week, while Clemson senior safety DeAndre McDaniel earned defensive back of the week honors. Miami quarterback Stephen Morris was tabbed the rookie of the week.
OFFENSIVE BACK – T.J. Yates, North Carolina, QB, Sr., 6-4, 220, Marietta, Ga. (Pope)
Yates was 24-of-35 for a school-record 439 yards and three touchdowns in Carolina’s 37-35 win at Florida State. It was his fifth career 300-plus yard game and his second career 400-plus yard game. He became the first player in program history to pass for 400-plus yards twice in a career and the second player all-time in the ACC to have the two performances in the same season against nationally ranked opponents (No. 24 Florida State and No. 21 LSU). Yates, who passed for 412 yards earlier this season against LSU, has the top two passing performances in the ACC this season. He threw touchdown passes of 67, 14 and 4 yards in the Tar Heels’ first ever win in Tallahassee.
OFFENSIVE LINEMAN – Cooper Helfet, Duke, TE, Jr., 6-4, 240, Kentfield, Calif. (Redwood & Santa Rosa Junior College)
Helfet helped Duke to a 55-48 win over Virginia, catching seven passes for a career-high 122 yards and one touchdown. His scoring reception covered 30 yards. Five of his seven catches produced first downs, and he averaged 17.4 yards per reception. On Duke’s game-winning, 91-yard touchdown drive in the final two minutes, Helfet caught two passes for 30 yards and two first downs. He helped create holes for the Blue Devils’ rushing attack, which totaled 230 yards on the ground and six rushing touchdowns. Helfet’s receiving performance came against a Virginia defense that had ranked second in the league in pass defense.
DEFENSIVE LINEMAN – Bruce Taylor, Virginia Tech, LB, r-So., 6-2, 246, Myrtle Beach, S.C. (Myrtle Beach)
Taylor was the top point getter for the Hokies after recording a career-high 14 tackles, including a game-high two sacks, in the win over Georgia Tech. His two sacks resulted in a loss of six yards. He earned 58 points in the coaches’ grading system, one of the top totals this year.
DEFENSIVE BACK – DeAndre McDaniel, Clemson, S, Sr., 6-1, 215, Tallahassee, Fla. (Amos P. Godby)
McDaniel had three tackles, a quarterback pressure and a crucial interception in Clemson’s win over NC State Saturday. His interception was clutch as it came in the end zone when NC State had a first and goal from the Tigers’ seven. The pick kept State off the board on that possession in the game that Clemson eventually won, 14-13. It was the 15th INT of McDaniel’s career, which ties for second best in school history (17).
SPECIALIST – David Wilson, Virginia Tech, TB, So., 5-11, 200, Danville, Va. (George Washington)
Wilson was a key player in Virginia Tech’s come-from-behind win over Georgia Tech Thursday, scoring a pair of touchdowns. His first was on a 15-yard run in the second quarter, but he gave the Hokies the lead for good with 2:23 remaining in the game when he ignited the crowd with a 90-yard kickoff return for a score, his second of the season. He finished with 129 all-purpose yards.
ROOKIE – Stephen Morris, Miami, QB, Fr., 6-2, 183, Miami, Fla. (Monsignor Pace)
Morris, a true freshman making his first career start, completed 18-of-30 passes against Maryland, but none was bigger than the final completion for a 35-yard touchdown to Leonard Hankerson with 37 seconds to play. The touchdown pass gave the ‘Canes a 26-20 win and capped off an impressive debut for the rookie. Morris threw for 286 yards, a single-game high for any UM quarterback this season, and also rushed for 13 yards.