Clemson QB Deshaun Watson voted ACC offensive player of year
No. 1 Clemson swept through the Atlantic Coast Conference this season and that helped three Tigers claim league-wide individual awards.
Heisman Trophy finalist Deshaun Watson was honored as the ACC's offensive player of the year Thursday by The Associated Press while lineman - and fellow AP All-America selection - Shaq Lawson was picked as the defensive player of the year and Dabo Swinney was selected as the coach of the year.
''I enjoy it, but I enjoy it for our team because that's just a team award,'' Swinney said. ''I haven't caught a ball. I haven't made a tackle. (Coaches) of the years are really made by the players. That's just the way it is. It's an honor and it's great to be recognized, but it's truly a reflection of the team and the staff.''
A pair of Pittsburgh players - running back Qadree Ollison and safety Jordan Whitehead - share the award for top newcomer.
Watson received 11 votes for the offensive award from a panel of 14 reporters, one for every school in the league. The other three votes went to Florida State running back Dalvin Cook.
In defensive voting, Lawson had seven votes to six for Duke safety Jeremy Cash. Swinney received 10 votes for the coaching award and four went to North Carolina's Larry Fedora.
Ollison and Whitehead each had five votes for the award for newcomers while Clemson's Mitch Hyatt received two votes.
Six players were unanimous selections to the inaugural AP All-ACC first team: Watson, Cook, Lawson and Cash plus Pitt receiver Tyler Boyd and North Carolina guard Landon Turner.
Watson and Lawson were joined on the first team by teammates Eric Mac Lain at guard and Mackensie Alexander at cornerback. Nine more made the second team following Clemson's best season since 1981, when the Tigers claimed their only national title.
Clemson (13-0) will play Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl semifinal on New Year's Eve.
In winning the Davey O'Brien Award as the top quarterback in college football, Watson led the ACC with 3,512 yards passing and added 887 yards rushing - good for seventh-most among all ACC rushers. He's the only player in the nation with more than 3,500 yards passing and 850 yards rushing.
Clemson finished with the ACC's most productive offense, averaging 510.6 total yards, and ranked second in total defense, giving up 295.7 yards per game. The Tigers rank in the top four in each of the eight major statistical categories.
''The game is about performance so if I win or lose some awards, I've pretty much got to still go out there and do my job,'' Watson said. ''You celebrate and enjoy it and appreciate all the hard work and support of your teammates and coaches around you. You make sure you don't take it for granted.''
Lawson, a finalist for both the Nagurski (top defensive player) and Lombardi (top lineman) awards, had 9 1/2 sacks this season and led the nation with 22 1/2 tackles for losses.
Swinney kept the Tigers rolling despite the departure of offensive coordinator Chad Morris to SMU and the early season loss of star receiver Mike Williams to a neck injury on the opening drive of the season.
Ollison rushed for 1,048 yards, ranking fourth in the league, with 10 touchdowns while Whitehead had 99 tackles.
AP Sports Writer Pete Iacobelli in Clemson, South Carolina, contributed to this story.
AP college football website: http://collegefootball.ap.org/