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Coples Named First Team All-ACC

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Interesting departure from the preseason poll which had five Tar Heels on the first team defense. Amazing what NCAA and academic suspensions can do.

Here are the full teams.

Junior DE Quinton Coples was UNC's only first team selection. Coples was 3rd in the ACC with 8.5 sacks and tied for eighth with 14 tackles for a loss. Given the personnel losses UNC suffered on the defensive line, Coples' numbers are rather impressive. Don't spend too much time thinking about what life would have been like had Robert Quinn and Marvin Austin played with Coples, that is unless you enjoy being miserable.

UNC had two players named to the second team. Sophomore OG Jonathan Cooper, he of the bad snaps vs LSU, was named 2nd team All-ACC offense. A nice turnaround from an unfortunate start to the season for him. Senior LB Bruce Carter made 2nd team All-ACC defense while also being a finalist for the Butkus Award which goes to show how strange postseason awards can be sometimes.

Senior QB T.J. Yates received honorable mention having been beaten out by VT's Tyrod Taylor on first team and NCSU's Russell Wilson on the 2nd team. I have zero issue with Taylor being on the first team and a slight issue with Wilson over Yates on 2nd team. That is probably more my bias coming through than anything else. Just for fun, here is the tale of the tape:

Yates: 259-383, 67% completion, 3184 yards passing, 18 TDs, 8 INTs, 265.3 yards per game, -49 yards rushing, 2 TDs

Wilson: 280-482, 58% completion, 3288 yards passing, 26 TDs, 14 INTs, 274.0 yards per game, 381 yards rushing, 9 TDs

Wilson has a leg up in both rushing yards, passing yards, yards per game and TDs. Yates posted a better completion percentage and six fewer INTs. In fact, half of Yates INTs came in one game vs Virginia Tech. Yates had 99 fewer passing attempts and more completions hence the almost 10% higher completion number. What gives Wilson an edge is the rushing yards and his general mobility which saved NCSU's bacon on numerous occasions including twice on one drive vs UNC. Those yards do not show up in the stats but are just as important if not more so. Wilson ended up with 35 total TDs vs 20 total TDs for Yates plus NCSU was 8-4 beating UNC which finished 7-5. The numbers tend to play more in Wilson's favor which leaves you with arguing the intangibles such as Yates doing more with less and carrying his team in at least three games with over 400 yards passing. And had UNC gone 2-1 or 3-0 in those games, it would have helped Yates tremendously but at 1-2 it is less impressive.

Also on the honorable mention list: Kicker Casey Barth, WR Dwight Jones, who will undoubtedly be tabbed as a preseason All-ACC pick come next August and Johnny White who ran for 720 yards prior to being injured vs FSU. Before the clavicle fracture, White had a legitimate chance at the 1000 yard mark. The fact he performed so well after being an afterthought prior to the NCAA shenanigans deserves a tidy and quick salute.