Charlotte, NC – The Atlantic Coast Conference Football Players of the Week have been recognized for their standout performances in Week 11 of the season. The selections are determined by a vote of a select media panel. The following are this week’s honorees:
QUARTERBACK – Kyron Drones, Virginia Tech, QB, Pearland, Texas
Drones completed 12-of-17 passes for 219 yards and two touchdowns to lead Virginia Tech to a road win over Boston College, snapping the Eagles’ five-game winning streak. He also rushed 20 times for a season-high 135 yards to finish the game with 354 yards of total offense in the 44-28 win. The honor is the second weekly conference award for Drones this season.
CO-RUNNING BACK – Omarion Hampton, North Carolina, RB, Clayton, N.C.
The ACC’s leading rusher, Hampton compiled 169 yards on 31 carries with a touchdown while adding a career-high eight receptions for 47 yards in North Carolina’s 47-45 double-overtime win over Duke. His 31 rushing attempts were the most by a Tar Heel since Ryan Houston had 37 carries for 164 yards against Duke in 2009. This season, Hampton has recorded 13 rushing touchdowns and 1,236 rushing yards in 10 games. This marks his third conference weekly honor of the season.
CO-RUNNING BACK – Dan Villari, Syracuse, TE, Massapequa, N.Y.
Villari set a new Syracuse record for most rushing yards by a tight end, the highest total on record by an FBS tight end in at least a decade. He ran for 154 yards on 17 carries, averaged 9.1 yards per carry, and scored a touchdown. He entered the game with two career carries for three yards collegiately. Villari’s total was part of a Syracuse offensive effort that ran the ball for 392 yards and two scores in the victory over Pitt at Yankee Stadium.
RECEIVER – Jacolby George, Miami, WR, Lauderhill, Fla.
George finished with a career-high 153 yards on five catches, including two touchdowns, in the road game at No. 4 Florida State. With quarterback Emory Williams making the first road start of his career, George proved to be his go-to weapon. George totaled 131 yards after the catch for the game, including a career-long 85-yard touchdown reception in the fourth quarter that put Miami in striking distance – one of his two touchdown catches on the day. The weekly award is the second of the season for the Florida native.
OFFENSIVE LINEMAN – Christopher Bleich, Syracuse, OL, Hanover Township, Pa.
Bleich graded out as the top offensive lineman for Syracuse, paving the way for an offense that ran for 392 yards in a win over Pitt at Yankee Stadium. The Orange averaged 6.0 yards per carry on the day behind the offensive line performance. Bleich and company opened running lanes for three different Syracuse rushers to cross the 100-yard threshold on the afternoon – the first time three Syracuse players have gone over 100 yards in the same game since 1997. He also finished with six knockdown blocks in the win. The honor is the second conference weekly award for the lineman.
DEFENSIVE LINEMAN – Ashton Gillotte, Louisville, DL, Boca Raton, Fla.
Gillotte had 1.5 sacks to take his season total to 10 and added 7.0 tackles, 2.0 tackles-for-loss, and a quarterback hurry on Virginia’s last play of the game to force an incomplete pass and turnover on downs to secure Louisville’s victory over the Cavaliers on Thursday night.
LINEBACKER – Kalen DeLoach, Florida State, LB, Savannah, Ga.
DeLoach led Florida State with 10 tackles, 2.0 sacks and 2.0 tackles-for-loss in the Seminoles’ win over Miami. Both of his sacks came on third down, including a pivotal stop in the first quarter, a 10-yard loss that ended with a missed 51-yard field goal. His 10 tackles were a career-high and the first double-digit tackle game for a Seminole this season. His 2.0 sacks were also a career-best, as he leads the team with 7.0 sacks and 10.5 tackles-for-loss on the season. His 7.0 sacks are the most sacks for an FSU linebacker since 1993. The weekly honor is the second this season for the linebacker.
DEFENSIVE BACK – Dorian Strong, Virginia Tech, CB, Upper Marlboro, Md.
Strong registered two interceptions in Virginia Tech’s 44-28 win over Boston College. Strong set the tone of the game with the first interception coming on the Eagles’ first play from scrimmage. Later in the first quarter, Strong would get his second interception of the game. It was the first multi-interception game of his career. The last time Virginia Tech had a player intercept two passes in a game was on Oct. 5, 2019, at Miami, when both Jermaine Waller and Caleb Farley each had two interceptions.
SPECIALIST – Noah Burnette, North Carolina, K, Raleigh, N.C.
In North Carolina’s 47-45 double-overtime win over Duke, Burnette tied the UNC record with six made field goals in a single game (23, 31, 25, 27, 43 and 24), including making good on the game-tying field goal to send the game into overtime as time expired. Burnette has connected on 18-of-19 field goals this season.
ROOKIE – Shelton Lewis, Clemson, CB, Stockbridge, Ga.
Lewis produced a spectacular performance in his first career start, recording four pass breakups and his first career interception, which he returned 46 yards for a touchdown in Clemson’s win over Georgia Tech. The pick-six by Lewis was Clemson’s fourth interception return for a touchdown this season, tying the school record of four, set in 1990. He also recorded a career-high four pass breakups, one shy of the school record of five, set by Perry Williams against Virginia Tech in 1985, and the first four-breakup day by a Clemson player since Mario Goodrich at Syracuse in 2021. Lewis helped Clemson become the first FBS team since at least 2000 to have four different freshmen record an interception in a single game, according to Stats Perform.