GREENSBORO, N.C. – Former Clemson defensive end Richard Yeargin, who now plays for Boston College, has been named the recipient of the Atlantic Coast Conference’s 2019 Brian Piccolo Award, as announced by the league on Monday.
The Piccolo Award has been given annually since 1970 in memory of the late Brian Piccolo to the “most courageous” football player in the ACC. As a standout running back at Wake Forest, Piccolo was the ACC Athlete of the Year in 1965 and played for the Chicago Bears before his career was cut short when he was diagnosed with cancer. His courageous fight against the disease was an inspiration to the Bears and the entire football community.
Yeargin will be recognized this weekend during activities surrounding the 2019 ACC Football Championship Game between Clemson and Virginia, which is set for Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at Charlotte’s Bank of America Stadium.
In June of 2017, Yeargin, who began his college career at Clemson and had just completed his second season, was involved in a car accident near Greenville, South Carolina. His injuries included fractures of the C5 through C7 vertebrae at the base of his neck and a concussion.
Yeargin graduated in December of 2017, enrolled in a master’s program and was set to return to action for the Tigers in 2018, but symptoms related to the accident persisted and he decided to retire from football. Yeargin underwent surgery and became a student coach for the Tigers’ national championship run, but he continued to rehab under the watch of the Clemson strength and conditioning staff.
He got engaged, became a father and landed a job offer as he neared completion of work on his master’s degree. Then, during a routine check-up last April, he was surprisingly cleared to return to the playing field.
Yeargin, a 6-foot-4, 280-pound native of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, entered the transfer portal and landed at Boston College. Yeargin not only found his way back to the playing field this fall, he appeared in every game as a regular in the Eagles’ defensive line rotation while making six starts.
Nominated for the 2019 Capital One Orange Bowl-FWAA Courage Award after making his first start for Boston College and recording a tackle for loss in a win over NC State on October 19, Yeargin finished the regular season with 12 total tackles, including six for lost yardage, and a quarterback hurry.
“This is a tremendous honor for Richard to be named the Piccolo Award recipient as the ACC’s most courageous player,” said Steve Addazio, who coached Yeargin at BC this past season. “He has been a tremendous addition to our football team both on and off the field, and has shown tremendous courage and passion in returning to the field. We could not be happier for him.”
Yeargin becomes the second student-athlete from Boston College to earn the ACC’s Brian Piccolo Award and the first since linebacker Mark Herzlich in 2010.
ACC Brian Piccolo Award Winners
1970 Paul Miller, QB, North Carolina
1971 Jim Webster, LB, North Carolina
1972 Mark Johnson, QB, Duke
1973 Al Neville, QB, Maryland
1974 David Visaggio, DG, Maryland
1975 Scott Gardner, QB, Virginia
1976 Jeff Green, DE, Duke
1977 Ralph Stringer, DB, NC State
1978 Rex Varn, DB, Clemson
1979 not available
1980 Jack Cain, DB,Clemson
1981 Aaron Stewart, DB, Duke
1982 Kenny Duckett, WR, Wake Forest
1983 John Piedmonte, OLB,Wake Forest
1984 J.D. Maarleveld, T, Maryland
1985 Danny Burmeister, DB, N. Carolina
1986 Ray Williams, WR, Clemson
1987 no recipient
1988 Jerry Mays, TB, Georgia Tech
1989 Michael Anderson, RB, Maryland
1990 Marc Mays, WR, Duke
1991 Scott Adell, T, NC State
1992 Dan Footman, DE, Florida State
Randy Cuthbert, TB, Duke
1993 Scott Youmans, DL, Duke
1994 Chris Harrison, T, Virginia
1995 Warren Forney, DT, Clemson
1996 John Lewis, RB, Wake Forest
1997 Sam Cowart, LB, Florida State
1998 Anthony Poindexter, DB, Virginia
Corey Simon, DT, Florida State
1999 Chris Weinke, QB, Florida State
2000 Ed Wilder, FB, Georgia Tech
2001 Matt Crawford, T, Maryland
2002 Anquan Boldin, WR, Florida State
2003 Kevin Bailey, OL, Virginia
2004 Frank Gore, RB, Miami
2005 Ryan Best, S, Virginia
2006 Glenn Sharpe, Miami
2007 Matt Robinson, DE, Wake Forest
2008 Robert Quinn, DE, North Carolina
2009 Toney Baker, RB, NC State
2010 Mark Herzlich, LB, Boston College
Nate Irving, LB, NC State
2011 Giovani Bernard, RB, North Carolina
2012 Shayon Green, DE, Miami
Chris Thompson, RB, Florida State
2013 Robert Godhigh, RB, Georgia Tech
2014 Duke Johnson, RB, Miami
2015 Hunter Knighton, OL, Miami
2016 James Conner, RB, Pitt
2017 Trevon Young, DE, Louisville
2018 Greg Dortch, WR/KR, Wake Forest
2019 Richard Yeargin, DE, Boston College
–courtesy of ACC Communications
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