Photo courtesy of Garnet and Great, Florida State archivist
The Atlantic Coast Conference has enjoyed an abundance of premier football talent since its inception. ACC football alumni can be found up and down at the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta.
The team assembled in this article is compromised of players who’ve made their mark on college football while playing for an ACC member university. To be eligible for this team, the player must’ve played on a team that was a part of the ACC during the time of their collegiate career.
So for instance, some notable all-time college football greats such as Miami’s Ed Reed or Pittsburgh’s Tony Dorsett would certainly have qualified for the team. For both of those players however, their careers took place before their schools joined the ACC. That makes both ineligible for this team.
Factors that go into a player’s consideration for the ACC All-Time Team are as follows:
-Their place on the ACC’s statistical categories leaderboard
-Bowl wins (both importance of bowls and number of bowls)
-Eye test (some greats were obvious all-time greats that may have just been on sub-par teams)
-Player no longer plays collegiate football
Factors that do not go into a player’s consideration for the ACC All-Time team are as follows:
-Their place on their university’s statistical categories leaderboard
-Their draft position
So let’s get started on the ACC’s all-time offense:
Charlie Ward, Florida State
Ward won the Heisman Trophy in 1993 — the same season he led Bobby Bowden’s Seminoles to their first ever national championship. In his final collegiate game, Ward engineered the winning drive in an 18-16 win over the Nebraska Cornhuskers in the Orange Bowl. Ward also won the Davey O’Brien Award, presented annually to the best quarterback in college football. Ward holds the fourthth-largest margin of victory in the history of Heisman Trophy balloting.
Ted Brown, NC State
Brown graduated from NC State in 1978 with the ACC’s career rushing record in hand — 4,602 yards. Believe it or not, that record that still stands today — 42 years later. Brown also set the single-game rushing record in 1977 against Penn State with 251 yards. Brown was voted All-ACC all four years he played in Raleigh. He was the ACC’s 1975 Rookie of the Year. In 1978, he was a Consensus All-American.
Peter Warrick, Florida State; Torry Holt, NC State; Calvin Johnson, Georgia Tech
Calvin Johnson was the ACC’s 2004 Rookie of the Year, the 2006 ACC Player of the Year and Biletnikoff Award winner. Johnson was also a three-time first-team All-ACC selection (2004-06) and a two-time first-team All-American selection (2005 and 2006). Johnson’s currently No. 16 on the ACC’s all-time career receiving yards list (2,927) and tied for seventh all-time in ACC history in career touchdown catches (28).
Torry Holt is currently third on the ACC’s all-time career receiving touchdowns list (31) and sixth on the ACC’s all-time career receiving yards list (3,379). He also holds the record for most receiving yards in a single season by an ACC football player (1,604) and the third-best season in ACC history in terms of receiving touchdowns (16). In 1998, Holt was voted the ACC Offensive Player of the Year, ACC Player of the Year and a Consensus All-American. He also set the ACC record for receptions in a season with 88. That was later broken by Kenneth Moore of Wake Forest.
Peter Warrick was a two-time Consensus All-American in 1998 and 1999. He was a three-time first-team All-ACC selection (1997-99). He was also the 2000 Sugar Bowl MVP with over 160 receiving yards and three touchdowns. The 2000 Sugar Bowl was that year’s BCS national championship game, played against Virginia Tech. The 46-29 victory made that Florida State team the first team in college football history to go wire-to-wire with a No. 1 ranking.
Heath Miller, Virginia
In 2004, Virginia tight end Heath Miller won the John Mackey Award and was named a Unanimous All-American selection. Miller was a first-team All-ACC selection in each of his final two season and first-team Freshman All-American in 2002. Miller currently holds career records for receptions (144), receiving yards (1,703) and touchdowns (20) by an ACC tight end.
D’Brickashaw Ferguson, Virginia; Jim Dombrowski, Virginia; Jim Ritcher, NC State; Cam Erving, Florida State; Alex Barron, Florida State
This group of linemen is one of the most decorated all-time position groups in the country, across all conferences. These five men combined for: eight first-team All-American selections, 10 first-team All-ACC selections, an Outland Trophy, two Jacobs Blocking Trophies, five ACC championships and a national title. Dombrowski is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame.