The Panthers had four first-team honorees, led by junior tailback James Conner.
PITTSBURGH—Nine Pitt players were honored on the 2016 All-ACC Football Team announced today by the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association (ACSMA).
The Panthers had four players earn first-team All-ACC honors: junior running back James Conner, sophomore return specialist Quadree Henderson, senior offensive guard Dorian Johnson and senior defensive end Ejuan Price.
Pitt had three players earn second- or third-team recognition: senior offensive tackle Adam Bisnowaty(second team), sophomore safety Jordan Whitehead (second team) and sophomore offensive tackle Brian O’Neill (third team).
Henderson also received Honorable Mention as a wide receiver. Pitt’s additional Honorable Mention selections included senior placekicker Chris Blewitt and senior nose tackle Tyrique Jarrett.
Conner (Erie, Pa./McDowell) heroically overcame both a knee injury and Hodgkin lymphoma to return to the field this season. The bruising back has rushed for 1,060 yards and 16 touchdowns on 208 carries (5.1 avg.). His 20 total touchdowns rank second in the ACC (trailing only Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson’s 21) and sixth nationally.
Conner also set ACC career marks for total touchdowns (56) and rushing TDs (52).
Henderson (Wilmington, Del./Alexis I. du Pont) has four returns for touchdowns this season, including a nation-leading three on kickoffs. He ranks second in the country in combined kick return yards (1,121), fifth in kickoff return average (31.1) and 11th in all-purpose yards per game (159.75).
Price (Rankin, Pa./Woodland Hills) is one of the most disruptive defensive linemen in college football. He ranks second nationally in tackles for loss (1.8 per game) and fifth in sacks (1.0 per game). Incredibly, half of his 42 tackles this season have been behind the line of scrimmage. Price has compiled 21 tackles for loss, 12 sacks, 13 QB hurries, three forced fumbles and a blocked extra point.
The lineman trio of Johnson (Belle Vernon, Pa./Belle Vernon Area), Bisnowaty (Pittsburgh, Pa./Fox Chapel) and O’Neill (Wilmington, Del./Salesianum) has helped Pitt’s offense produce at an historic rate this season.
The Panthers have compiled the highest season point total in school history (508). With a bowl game to go, the Panthers are averaging 42.3 points per game, which would eclipse the all-time Pitt record of 40.7 set way back in 1904. Additionally, Pitt’s offensive front has paved the way to 447.5 yards per game, which would be the second highest average in school history.
Pitt has surrendered just nine sacks this year, an average of 0.75 per game, which leads the ACC and ranks third nationally.
Whitehead (Aliquippa, Pa./Central Valley) has been one of Pitt’s most active defenders despite missing three games this season. He has compiled 65 tackles, a 59-yard interception return for a touchdown (at Virginia) and a nine-yard fumble return (against Penn State).
Jarrett (Pittsburgh, Pa./Allderdice/Milford [N.Y.]) is another defender who has been key for the Panthers despite missing time due to injury. In nine contests he has 31 stops with a sack.
Blewitt (Alexandria, Va./West Potomac) became Pitt’s all-time leader in kick scoring (357) and field goals (54) this season. He is Pitt’s second-leading overall scorer this season with 90 points (9-of-15 field goals and 63-of-66 PATs). His dramatic 48-yard field goal with six seconds left provided the winning points in Pitt’s 43-42 upset of No. 2 Clemson earlier this month.
Pitt, ranked No. 24 in this week’s Associated Press poll, finished the regular season with an 8-4 overall record and 5-3 in the ACC. The Panthers now await their bowl destination, which will be announced on Sunday, December 4.www.pittsburghpanthers.com