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12 Hurricanes make Athlon Sports preseason ACC All-Conference team

Miami had a dozen ‘Canes make the ACC All-Conference teams. However, QB Tyler Van Dyke is buried on the 4th team in a bad conference.

Virginia Tech v Miami Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

The Athlon Sports preseason ACC All-Conference team has been released, and it includes 12 Miami Hurricanes for Mario Cristobal’s Year One at the helm. The ‘Canes, coming off of a 7-5 season (5-3 in the ACC) and the firing of head coach Manny Diaz. After another round of Portal Kombat, Miami has added talent to the offensive and defensive lines and a new starting linebacker, and should have a Blue Chip Ratio over 50%.

Athlon’s Miami preview has the Hurricanes finishing ranked 20th in the nation and in contention for the ACC Coastal championship.

Only two Hurricanes made the ACC All-Conference first team. Offensive tackle Zion Nelson and punter Lou Hedley are the lucky duo to earn the nod. Hedley could potentially win the Ray Guy Award in ‘22, for the nation’s best punter. In ‘21, Hedley averaged 44.7 yards per punt. Nelson isn’t quite a first round NFL Draft pick just yet, but he’s shown growth and promise and will now be coached by Alex Mirabal.

The second team shows more orange and green with five ‘Canes on the list. Running back Jaylan Knighton, tight end Will Mallory, offensive guard-tackle DJ Scaife, cornerback Tyrique Stevenson, and kicker Andres Borregales made the cut. Knighton averaged only 3.9 yards per carry a year ago. The oft-injured Mallory caught four TD’s but will share reps with Elijah Arroyo who averaged 17.2 yards per catch in ‘21. Stevenson logged four PBU’s and 2.5 TFL’s last season.

The third team has two from The U- wide receiver Key’Shawn Smith and defensive tackle Leonard Taylor. Smith is a young receiver that’s caught three TD’s in 11 games at Miami. Taylor is a former five-star that picked up 8.5 TFL’s last season as a freshman.

Quarterback Tyler Van Dyke is buried all the way down on the fourth team. On the defense, DT Jared Harrison-Hunte and safety James Williams round out the ‘Canes on the list. Van Dyke threw 25 TD’s and only six interceptions as a first-time starter last year. After early struggles, Van Dyke hit a hot hand and completed just under 63% of his passes.

TaxSlayer Gator Bowl - Wake Forest Demon Deacons v Rutgers Scarlet Knights Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images

As much as Athlon touts Van Dyke a star, he’s only on the conference’s fourth team. Van Dyke is behind Wake Forest’s Sam Hartman, NCSU’s Devin Leary, and surprisingly UVA’s Brennan Armstrong.

The defense has four big name defensive backs in Williams, Stevenson, Kam Kinchens and Avantae Williams, all blue chip caliber players, but only Stevenson cracks the first two teams.

Leave your two cents on the Athlon All-Conference teams below.