Tigers have an opportunity to sweep ACC’s top honors for first time ever
There is a good chance when the Atlantic Coast Conference names its Player of the Year on Wednesday, Clemson could earn a complete sweep in the league’s individual top honors this season.
Running back Travis Etienne has a good shot at being named the ACC’s Player of the Year, especially considering he led all players with 174 points when he was named First-Team All-ACC on Monday. If Etienne does earn the conference’s top honor, it will mean for the first time in history Clemson swept the ACC’s top individual honors – Player of the Year, Coach of the Year, Rookie of the Year and Lineman of the Year.
Defensive tackle Christian Wilkins, who is up for ACC Defensive Player of the Year honors, could also take home the coveted award.
The only times Clemson (12-0) has come close to sweeping all four categories came in 1977 and 1981 when it won three of the four major awards.
It would be fitting for the Tigers to get such a sweep considering how it dominated the ACC this season. Clemson went 8-0 in conference play and beat its opponents by an average margin of 35.6 points per game.
There were 18 Tigers named to the All-ACC Football Teams on Monday, more than any other school.
“I’m really proud of our team,” Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney said. “This has been an amazing season.”
Etienne has a really good shot to take home Player of the Year honors on Wednesday. He leads the ACC with 1,307 rushing yards, while his 20 overall touchdowns led the league as well. He also leads the league with 19 rushing touchdowns, which broke a 40-year old record at Clemson.
On Sunday left tackle Mitch Hyatt earned the Jacobs Trophy as the ACC’s best offensive lineman, while on Tuesday Swinney was named the ACC Coach of the Year and quarterback Trevor Lawrence was dubbed the Freshman of the Year.
“This has probably been the fastest season I have been a part of. It has just been a blink, a blur. It has gone by so fast,” Swinney said. “I think part of that is just how much I have enjoyed being with this group every day.
“These seniors are special. They are special in every sense of the word. They have had a ton of fun this year. This is a team that I think has been as focused as any group that I have ever been around and have really just enjoyed the whole part of the journey.
“That is something that is important to me that they have a great experience. I think they have.”
Clemson will try to complete it is dominance of the league on Saturday when it plays Pittsburgh, the Coastal Division Champion, in the ACC Championship Game at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte. If the Tigers win, it will be their fourth consecutive conference championship, something no team in the ACC has ever done before.