Wake Forest Places School Record Nine On All-ACC Team
Nov. 27, 2006
GREENSBORO, N.C. - In a record-setting regular season for Wake Forest football it is appropriate that the Demon Deacons set another school record by placing nine players on the All-Atlantic Coast Conference team announced today by the league office.
Five Deacons were named first team All-ACC, tying Clemson for the most first-team selections. One Wake Forest player earned second team All-ACC honors and three others were named honorable mention. The selections were made by the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association.
Wake Forest's nine All-ACC selections break a school record of six shared by the 1970 ACC championship team and the 1992 Deacon team. In 1970 there were only seven teams in the league, but just one all-conference team selected. In 1992 there were nine teams in the ACC. Wake's five first team selections rank second only to the six chosen first team in 1970.
Two members of the Wake Forest offensive line -- senior tackle Steve Vallos and junior center Steve Justice -- were named to the first team. Vallos, an honorable mention selection last season and an All-American candidate in 2006, and Justice have both played 709 snaps this year. Vallos has started all 46 games of his career and Justice owns a 22-game starting streak.
Two Deacon defenders -- junior linebacker Jon Abbate and senior safety Josh Gattis -- were named to the first team. Abbate, who ranks sixth in the ACC with 8.1 tackles per game against league opponents, is on track to become the third player in ACC history to lead his team in tackles for three straight years. Gattis, an honorable mention All-American last season, is the only player in the ACC with five interceptions and 70 tackles this season.
Sophomore Sam Swank was a two-time honoree. The Lou Groza Award and Ray Guy Award semifinalist was named first team All-ACC as placekicker. He is just one of five sophomores to earn first team All-ACC. Swank was also named honorable mention at punter.
Redshirt freshman quarterback Riley Skinner was named second team All-ACC. Skinner, who became the Deacon starter when Benjamin Mauk went down with an injury in the season opener, leads the ACC in passing efficiency, completion percentage and interception rate.
Wake Forest (5) and Clemson (5) led the way with the most first team selections, followed by Georgia Tech (4) and Virginia Tech (3). Georgia Tech had the most overall selections with 10, followed by Clemson (9) and Maryland (9).
Wake Forest, 10-2 and champion of the ACC's Atlantic Division, will take on Georgia Tech Saturday at 1 p.m. for the ACC Championship in Jacksonville, Fla.
Abbate, Gattis, Vallos all earned All-ACC recogition in previous seasons. Abbate was an honorable mention pick as a freshman and sophomore. Gattis was a second-team selection in 2005. Vallos was a first team offensive guard as a sophomore and honorable mention choice at tackle as a junior.
The ACC Rookie of the Year and Coach of the Year award will be announced on Tuesday evening. The ACC's Offensive, Defensive and Player of the Year awards will be announced on Wednesday evening.
2006 ACSMA/AP All-ACC Football Team
OFFENSE First Team Second Team