Eason Named First-team All-ACC


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Clemson, SC-Clemson defensive tackle and team leader Nick Eason was

named first-team All-ACC on Monday by the Atlantic Coast

Sportswriters Association. Three of his defensive teammates, Justin

Miller, Bryant McNeal and Brian Mance, were named to the second team.

Clemson did not have any players from its offense on either

of the first two teams, but offensive tackle Gary Byrd and

placekicker Aaron Hunt were named honorable mention. Clemson

linebackers John Leake and Rodney Thomas were also named honorable

mention selections.

Eason had 62 tackles, including seven sacks and nine total

tackles for loss this year, a key reason Clemson showed great

improvement defensively. Clemson gave up just 330 yards per game, an

improvement by over 60 yards per game over 2001. Eason's seven sacks

were the most by a Clemson defensive tackle since current All-Pro

Trevor Pryce had 7.5 in 1996.

Miller, a first-year freshman, missed making the first team

by just one first-place vote. Mance missed the first team by just

three first-place votes. The Clemson cornerbacks rank one-two in

the ACC in interceptions. Miller leads the way with seven, while

Mance, a senior, has six. They are also both among the league

leaders in passes defensed. Clemson is the only school in the nation

with two players with at least six interceptions this year.

McNeal finished the regular season with 64 tackles, fifth on

the team, and he paced the club in sacks (8) and tackles for loss

(13). His 21 career sacks rank sixth in Clemson history, just ahead

of Chester McGlockton.

Byrd was the leader of the Clemson offensive line and paced

the team in knockdown blocks this year. Leake led the Tigers in

tackles with 153, while Thomas had 152. Both are ranked among the

top four in the ACC in tackles per game.

Hunt made 17-21 field goals, best in the ACC on a percentage

and on a per game basis, yet was not named to either of the first two

teams. He has made 12 of his last 13 field goals heading into the

bowl season, including a pair of field goals in the victory over

South Carolina.

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