Here is a look at the defensive selections on Pack Pride's 2016 Preseason All-ACC ballot, which we've submitted to the ACC Football Office. The league's selections will be announced Wednesday morning.
EJuan Price (SR), Pittsburgh: A first-team All-ACC pick in 2015, Price is the ACC's top returning sack artist (11.5) and tackles for a loss leader (19.5).
DeMarcus Walker (SR), Florida State: A second-team All-ACC pick in 2015, Walker anchors one of the nation's best defenses. Last year he totaled 10.5 sacks and 15.5 tackles for a loss, the second-best totals of returning defensive linemen in the ACC. Walker was tabbed a second-team All-ACC player by Pro Football Focus.
Carlos Watkins (SR), Clemson: A first-team All-ACC pick,Watkins occupies blockers and disrupts the interior for Clemson. Last year he totaled 34 tackles, 7.5 tackles for a loss, and 3.5 sacks in 15 games.
B.J. Hill (JR), NC State: Hill totaled 50 tackles, 11 tackles for a loss, and 3.5 sacks last season (compare his numbers in 13 games to Watkins above in 15) but wasn't even voted honorable mention All-ACC by the media. Pro Football Focus noticed his play though, as he was tabbed the league's best interior lineman by PFF.
Again, he likely won't receive the votes from the media, but Hill is right there among the ACC's best in terms of productivity at defensive tackle. There's no way eight defensive tackles were more productive or disruptive than him last season.
Devonte Fields (SR), Louisville: A dynamic pass-rusher, Fields led all ACC linebackers in sacks (11.0) and tackles for a loss (22.5) last season. Crazy he was just a honorable-mention All-ACC pick in 2015. Pro Football Focus had him rated a first-team All-ACC pick as an edge rusher.
Micah Kiser (JR), Virginia: A first-team All-ACC pick last year, Kiser led all returning ACC linebackers in tackles (117).
Ben Boulware (SR), Clemson: Boulware flies all over the field for Clemson and makes flashy plays. With personnel losses around him, Boulware's numbers should rise as he totaled 82 tackles and 8 tackles for a loss last year whne he was tabbed a second-team All-ACC pick.
Corndrea Tankersley (SR), Clemson: A third-team All-ACC pick last season, Tankersley was tabbed a second-team pick by Pro Football Focus.
M.J. Stewart (JR), North Carolina: Stewart, a second-team All-ACC pick, was picked first-team by Pro Football Focus after totaling 10 pass breakups and three interceptions working a lot at slot corner.
Quin Blanding (JR), Virginia: Blanding, a first-team All-ACC pick in 2015, was fourth in the ACC with 115 tackles.
Derwin James (SO), Florida State: James really emerged down the stretch as a true freshman for Florida State, he totaled 90 tackles and nine tackles for a loss. He was tabbed a first-team All-ACC pick by Pro Football Focus.
Look for him to be one of the league's best players.
Nicholas Conte (SR), Virginia: A honorable mention All-ACC pick in 2015, Conte averaged 44.65 yards per punt.