Carolina's four first-team selections are the most by the Tar Heels since placing six on the 1997 all-conference squad. Carolina has not had four defensive players make first team since 1997, when five were honored. This is the first year since 2002 that the Tar Heels have had a defensive first-team all-conference selection.
Carolina's defense finished the regular season ranked among the top 15 nationally in all major statistical categories, including No. 6 in total defense (267.8 yards per game), No. 9 in rushing defense, No. 11 in pass efficiency defense and No. 14 in scoring defense.
Quinn, a sophomore from Ladson, S.C., had the second-highest vote total of any defensive player after finishing the season with 19 tackles for losses, including 11.0 sacks. Quinn ranked first in the ACC in tackles for losses, second in sacks and second in forced fumbles with six. He is the first defensive end to earn first-team All-ACC honors at UNC since Julius Peppers in 2001.
Sturdivant, a junior from Oakboro, N.C., is the first Tar Heel linebacker to earn first-team all-conference honors since Kivuusama Mays in 1997. For the second straight season, Sturdivant led the Tar Heels in tackles, finishing with 75, including 12.0 for loss, which ranked sixth in the conference.
Williams and Burney, both juniors from Jacksonville, N.C., took two of the four all-conference defensive backfield spots. Burney had 48 tackles and five interceptions for 200 yards and two touchdowns. He ranks second all-time in the ACC in interception return yardage and holds the UNC career record for interception returns for touchdowns with three. Burney is the first UNC cornerback to earn first-team all-league honors since Robert Williams and Dre' Bly in 1997.
Williams had a team-high six interceptions for 114 yards and finished the regular season with 41 tackles.
A native of Washington, D.C., Austin had 40 tackles, including six tackles for losses and four sacks. He was joined on the second-team defensive squad by Carter, who was second on the team with 61 tackles, including seven for losses. Barth became the first kicker at UNC since Jeff Reed in 2000 to earn all-conference honors after making 20 of 24 attempts, including 16 in a row at one point this season.
Despite missing four games to a foot injury, Pianalto was one of the top tight ends in the league with 31 receptions for 308 yards and a touchdown. Jolly graded out as the team's top offensive lineman and had 31 knockdown blocks on the season.
In the last two seasons, Carolina has had 16 all-conference selections, the most in any two-year period since 1996-97 (22).
The 2009 All-Atlantic Coast Conference football team as voted on by 40 members of the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association. NOTE: A first-team vote was worth two points and second team vote one.
QB-Josh Nesbitt, Georgia Tech (50)
RB-Jonathan Dwyer, Georgia Tech (67)
RB-Ryan Williams, Virginia Tech (63)
WR-Demaryius Thomas, Georgia Tech (63)
WR-Donovan Varner, Duke (50)
TE-George Bryan, NC State (39)
TE-Michael Palmer, Clemson (39)
OT-Jason Fox, Miami (57)
OT-Anthony Castonzo, Boston College (53)
OG-Rodney Hudson, Florida State (54)
OG-Cord Howard, Georgia Tech (47)
C-Sean Bedford, Georgia Tech (45)
K-Matt Waldron, Virginia Tech (27)
K-Matt Bosher, Miami (27)
Spc-C.J. Spiller, Clemson (76)
DE-Derrick Morgan, Georgia Tech (76)
DE-Robert Quinn, North Carolina (69)
DT-Nate Collins, Virginia (47)
DT-Allen Bailey, Miami (38)
LB-Cody Grimm, Virginia Tech (65)
LB-Luke Kuechly, Boston College (53)
LB-Quan Sturdivant, North Carolina (44)
LB-Alex Wujciak, Maryland (44)
CB-Kendric Burney, North Carolina (59)
CB-Brandon Harris, Miami (41)
S-DeAndre McDaniel, Clemson (57)
S-Deunta Williams, North Carolina (53)
P-Brent Bowden, Virginia Tech (57)
QB-Thaddeus Lewis, Duke (18)
RB-C.J. Spiller, Clemson (62)
RB-Montel Harris, Boston College (39)
WR-Torrey Smith, Maryland (25)
WR-Jacoby Ford, Clemson (24)
TE-Greg Boone, Virginia Tech (16)
OT-Ed Wang, Virginia Tech (31)
OT-Chris Hairston, Clemson (26)
OG-Thomas Austin, Clemson (39)
OG-Sergio Render, Virginia Tech (37)
C-Matt Tennant, Boston College (29)
K-Casey Barth, North Carolina (21)
K-Will Snyderwine, Duke (21)
Spc-Torrey Smith, Maryland (17)
DE-Patrick Sapp, Clemson (29)
DE-Willie Young, NC State (24)
DE-Jason Worilds, Virginia Tech (24)
DT-Marvin Austin, North Carolina (32)
DT-John Russell, Wake Forest (29)
LB-Vincent Rey, Duke (29)
LB-Darryl Sharpton, Miami (21)
LB-Bruce Carter, North Carolina (17)
LB-Colin McCarthy, Miami (17)
LB-Dekoda Watson, Florida State (17)
CB-Ras-I Dowling, Virginia (26)
CB-Patrick Robinson, Florida State (26)
S-Morgan Burnett, Georgia Tech (51)
S-Kam Chancellor, Virginia Tech (24)
P-Matt Bosher, Miami (37)