Photo Credit: ACC Media/Virginia Tech Athletics
As the regular season has come to a conclusion, award season has entered full swing with the ACC revealing their conference honors over the past two days. Several Hokies earned All-ACC honors led by Christian Darrisaw and Divine Deablo earning All-ACC First Team honors and Khalil Herbert earning a mix of Second and Third Team honors.
So did the All-ACC voters get it right or were there some Hokies that got snubbed from receiving better honors that they deserved? Here's three thoughts on it all.
1. Christian Darrisaw, Divine Deablo Earned Their 1st Team Honors
It wasn't a surprise to see Christian Darrisaw and Divine Deablo both earn First Team All-ACC honors for the first time in each of their careers, but it was clearly well-deserved given their performances this season.
Darrisaw was as good of an offensive tackle as any in America consistently shutting down basically every opponent he went against throughout this season. It was on-field performance, not some sort of freak athletic or size metrics (though he does well in that department) that led him to emerging as one of the best in the nation and a likely first round pick in the upcoming NFL Draft.
Meanwhile, Divine Deablo's absence was felt when he was out but his presence was even more noticed throughout the season. His ball-hawking skills and versatility helped Tech maximize what they did on defense while he also produced at a high level with 4 interceptions plus 55 tackles including 2 for loss, 5 pass breakups, and 1 forced fumble.
Additionally, imagine if he would not have missed a pair of games against Duke and North Carolina that held his production back some. Add in those games and Deablo could be in more serious All-American contention even, and the story of Tech's season might be a lot different.
2. Khalil Herbert Among Loads of Running Backs
The ACC was as loaded with running backs as anywhere in America which guaranteed that someone was going to get a worse honor than they deserved but without any clear flipping of who they should replace. Unfortunately, that went to Khalil Herbert who in a normal year would probably be a clear First Team All-ACC guy and absolutely deserved a spot on this year.
However, the ACC has so many good running backs with Travis Etienne at Clemson, Michael Carter and Javonte Williams at North Carolina, and Kyren Williams at Notre Dame that one of those five was going to be on the Third Team at RB.. If there is one player who you could swap, it's maybe Williams and Herbert for Herbert to be a Second Team All-ACC RB, but these five could be ranked a lot of different ways.
There is a strong and clear case for Herbert, the nation's leader in all-purpose yards, to be the All-ACC First Teamer at the all-purpose player spot over Etienne who did not lead the nation in all-purpose yards. Of course, teams avoiding Herbert on kickoffs may have hurt those hopes as well but that may be the biggest complaint.
Regardless, Herbert has left a legacy on the Virginia Tech program with a season that will always put him among the great running backs in Tech history. If he would have been healthy for the full season, there's a good chance we're talking him as a third All-ACC player.
3. Lecitus Smith and Amare Barno Deserved Better
Lecitus Smith and Amare Barno did earn All-ACC Honorable Mention honors but both players proved that they were among the 6 best players in the conference at their respective positions.
Smith is the biggest miss in my view as the veteran left guard was once again a key strength of a dominant Virginia Tech offensive line. The fact that one of the conference's top two offensive line only had 1 player on the three All-ACC teams and only two more on Honorable Mention doesn't make sense. At minimum, Smith should have earned honors better than Honorable Mention while Doug Nester and Luke Tenuta also deserved All-ACC consideration to earn at least an Honorable Mention spot.
Meanwhile, Amare Barno led the Power 5 in tackles for loss and was productive throughout the season. The numbers never lie and while Barno definitely wasn't perfect and has room to grow, he was the best defensive linemen for Tech this season and deserved better than Honorable Mention.
Yes, there were plenty of talented defensive ends in the ACC but production matters and Barno did just that with 16.5 tackles for loss including 6.5 sacks among his 43 overall tackles plus 3 pass breakups and 2 forced fumbles. Those numbers are better than All-ACC Honorable Mention and unfortunately, a lack of name recognition may have held him back.
However, that lack of name recognition won't be the case heading into 2021 where he could be the next All-American defensive player for the Hokies.