Clemson players pick up top ACC football honors
Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2019
GREENSBORO, N.C. (theACC.com) – Clemson junior running back Travis Etienne has been named the Atlantic Coast Conference Football Player of the Year for the second consecutive season, while Tigers junior linebacker Isaiah Simmons earned ACC Defensive Player of the Year honors.
The 2019 season award winners were chosen by a vote of a select 46-member media panel and the league’s 14 head coaches.
Etienne becomes the seventh player to be voted ACC Player of the Year twice and the second in a four-year span (Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson in 2016-17). He is the first running back since North Carolina’s Mike Voight (1975-76) to win the honor in multiple years.
Etienne enters Saturday night’s ACC Football Championship game versus Virginia as the conference’s all-time leader in career touchdowns (57) and rushing touchdowns (53).
The Jennings, Louisiana, native has rushed for 1,386 yards this season while scoring 18 TDs. His 2019 campaign included a school-record six consecutive 100-yard rushing games, breaking five-game streaks by Kenny Flowers (1985) and Raymond Priester (1996-97).
Also voted the ACC Offensive Player of the Year, Etienne is the first player in Clemson history to rush for at least 15 touchdowns in multiple seasons. He ranks third among ACC players this season in overall scoring, and his 342 career points are the most in league history by a non-kicker.
This marks the 11th season – and the third time in the past five years – that Clemson has produced the ACC’s overall Player of the Year.
In only his second full year at the linebacker position after moving from safety following the 2017 season, Simmons owns a team-high 83 tackles and ranks sixth among ACC defenders with 14 tackles for loss. The athletic junior from Olathe, Kansas, has also registered six quarterback sacks as the leader of a Clemson unit that leads the nation in fewest points allowed per game (10.1) and ranks second in total defense.
A Bednarik and Nagurski finalist, Simmons posted a season-high 11 tackles with 3.5 tackles for loss and two sacks in the Tigers’ win over Syracuse early in the season. He earned ACC Linebacker of the Week, Lott IMPACT Trophy Player of the Week and Walter Camp Defensive Player of the Week honors following that performance.
Simmons closed the regular season with 10 tackles, including two for loss, a sack and a pass breakup in last Saturday’s 38-3 win at rival South Carolina.