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ACC officially names Jermaine Johnson Defensive Player of the Year

Johnson earned 53 of the 64 possible votes to take home the award.

Defensive end Jermaine Johnson II added to his postseason accolades Wednesday, receiving 53 of 64 votes to earn Atlantic Coast Conference Defensive Player of the Year.

Tuesday, Johnson was the league’s top vote-getter in All-ACC voting as a first team defensive end. On Monday, Johnson earned PFF ACC Defensive Player of the Year.

Johnson, from Eden Prairie, Minnesota, tallied 70 tackles and led the ACC with 18.0 tackles for loss and 12.0 sacks. His TFL and sack totals were the most by an FSU defender since DeMarcus Walker had 21.5 and 16.0, respectively, in 2016. Walker, now with the Houston Texans, also earned Defensive Player of the Year honors that season, the most recent Seminole to win the award.

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Entering conference championship weekend, Johnson leads all Power 5 defensive linemen in tackles and ranks in the top-six nationally in sacks and tackles for loss. Johnson was a four-time ACC Defensive Lineman of the Week, the most honors in 2021 for any defensive player. He opened the year with 2.5 TFL and 1.5 sacks against No. 9 Notre Dame and followed that up with 3.0 sacks and 4.0 TFL against Jacksonville State.

At Clemson, Johnson had 2.0 TFL and a strip-sack fumble that he recovered and returned for a go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter. Johnson had 3.0 sacks and 5.0 TFL in FSU’s 31-28 win over Miami and is the only Power 5 player in the country with multiple games with 3.0 sacks and 4.0 TFL. No player in the 66-game history of the FSU-Miami rivalry has had more TFL than Johnson and his 5.0 were the most in any game for a Seminole since 2012. Johnson also forced a fumble against Miami that FSU recovered and turned into a touchdown.

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In addition to his ACC honors, Johnson was a semifinalist for the Lombardi and Bednarik Awards as well as a midseason All-American by CBS Sports.

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Florida State has won a league-best eight Defensive Player of the Year awards since the ACC first presented the honor in 1993. Johnson joins DE Walker (2016), DE Bjoern Werner (2012), DL Darnell Dockett (2003), DE Andre Wadsworth (1997), LB Peter Boulware (1996), DE Derrick Alexander (1994) and LB Derrick Brooks (1993).

Tuesday, Johnson and Jammie Robinson earned first team All-ACC honors, while Keir Thomas and Jashaun Corbin were on the All-ACC third team. Dillan Gibbons, Devontay Love-Taylor, Fabien Lovett and Robert Cooper were named to the All-ACC honorable mention list.

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