PITTSBURGH—Two Pitt football players, junior offensive tackle Brian O’Neill and junior return man Quadree Henderson, were named to the All-ACC Preseason Team, the league office announced Wednesday morning.
The dynamic Panthers duo—both Delaware natives—gave Pitt two of the 27 players chosen to the 2017 All-ACC Preseason Football Team via voting by 167 media members that attended last week’s ACC Football Kickoff.
O’Neill (Wilmington, Del./Salesianum School) had already garnered preseason candidacies from the Outland Trophy for his blocking ability and the Wuerffel Trophy for his work in the community. On Wednesday, he added selection to the All-ACC Preseason Team as an offensive tackle, along with Clemson’s Mitch Hyatt, as his accolades continue to add up prior to the 2017 campaign.
The junior, who is expected to switch to left tackle this season, has started 25 consecutive games on the Pitt offensive line. Adding to his consistent production as a blocker, O’Neill’s athleticism and touchdown-scoring exploits, including a 24-yard catch-and-run off a lateral against Georgia Tech and a 6-yard run on an end-around versus Virginia Tech last season, have also caught the attention of fans and media alike.
A Maxwell Award and Hornung Award candidate, Henderson (Wilmington, Del./Alexis I. du Pont) earned All-ACC Preseason honors as a specialist returner after being named consensus All-America as a returner and proving himself as one of college football’s top all-purpose threats last season.
The speedster accumulated over 2,000 all-purpose yards last fall, joining 1976 Heisman Trophy-winning running back Tony Dorsett as the only Panther to achieve that milestone. Henderson’s 914 kickoff return yards—aided by four kickoff returns of more than 80 yards—set a Pitt record. He also recorded 252 punt return yards, giving him a FBS-leading 1,166 combined kick return yards in 2016.
His three kickoff return touchdowns in a single season also set a Pitt all-time mark, and he added a 65-yard punt return for a score against Duke.
Henderson garnered 98 votes and O’Neill received 83 votes as both were consensus selections to the All-ACC Preseason Team, according to the league’s media. Henderson also earned 43 votes from the media as an all-purpose offensive player.
Several other Panthers, including senior wide receiver Jester Weah (22 votes), junior safety Jordan Whitehead (17), senior punter Ryan Winslow (16) and senior offensive guard/center Alex Officer (13), were also touted for All-ACC selection by double-digit media members.