Jeremiah Attaochu (SR), Georgia Tech: Attaochu should make a nice transition to defensive end, as he is outstanding at rushing the passer.
He enters the season with 27.5 career tackles for loss and 19.0 career sacks. An honorable mention All-ACC pick at linebacker last season, Attaochu is the only returning player in the AC who totaled double-digit sacks (10.0) in 2012.
Kareem Martin (SR), North Carolina: Martin lines up at defensive end for North Carolina and makes his mark as a run-stuffer. Although he had only four sacks in 2012, Martin's 15.5 tackles for a loss was the third-most in the ACC.
He was a second team All-ACC pick last season.
Aaron Donald (SR), Pittsburgh: A first-team All-Big East defensive tackle in 2012, Donald is coming off a season where he tallied 64 tackles, 18.5 tackles for a loss, 5.5 sacks and a forced fumble.
He led Big East and ranked 12th nationally in tackles for a loss (1.54 per game).
T.Y. McGill (JR), NC State: Arguably the most underrated player on our ballot, McGill has been listed by most experts as a second or third-team pick heading into the year. However, you can't dismiss the junior's production.
Of all returning defensive tackles in the ACC, McGill totaled the most sacks (5.0) and tackles for a loss (10.5) last season.
Christian Jones (SR), Florida State: Jones is one of the leading candidates for the Butkus Award, given to the nation's top linebacker.
A second-team All-ACC pick in 2012, Jones led FSU with 95 tackles, which was the seventh-most in the ACC. He also chipped in seven tackles for a loss.
Jack Tyler (SR), Virginia Tech: Tyler had a terrific junior year, as he finished in the top 10 in the ACC in tackles (119) and tackles for a loss (13).
He was a second-team All-ACC pick in 2012.
Kevin Pierre-Louis (SR), Boston College: Pierre-Louis was on his way to an All-ACC selection prior to sustaining an injury that forced him to miss the final three games of the season.
He still managed to total 85 tackles, including 51 solo tackles, and two sacks in 2012, and he is the ACC's top returning tackle with 252 career stops.
Ross Cockrell (SR), Duke: A first-team selection in 2012, Cockrell led the ACC in interceptions (5) and was second in passes defended (18).
Antone Exum (SR), Virginia Tech: A second-team selection in 2012, Exum led the ACC in interceptions (5) and was second in passes defended (21).
It's worth pointing out that Exum suffered a knee injury in January but hopes to be ready for the season opener. If he can't go, look for Florida State's Lamarcus Joyner to potentially make his way on the All-ACC team.
Jason Hendricks (SR), Pittsburgh: A second-team All-Big East pick in 2012, Hendricks led Pitt with 90 tackles and six interceptions. His six interceptions was the highest by a Pitt player since 2000 and led the Big East Conference.
Hendricks ended the season with perhaps his best game, a 17-tackle performance against Ole Miss in the BBVA Compass Bowl where he also totaled two TFLs and an interception.
Isaiah Johnson (SR), Georgia Tech: It's worth pointing out that FSU standout Lamarcus Joyner would have been a lock for this slot (a first-team All-ACC pick in 2012 at safety), but he has moved to cornerback. However, Johnson is coming of a big junior year, where he totaled 87 tackles.
His 211 career tackles is the second-most of all returning ACC players (behind BC linebacker Kevin Pierre-Louis), and he has made 29 career starts.
Will Monday (SO), Duke: A first-team selection in 2012, Monday led the ACC with a 44.64 punting average.