On Wednesday, the Atlantic Coast Conference announced their Overall, Offensive, and Defensive Player of the Year awards, and to no surprise, two Clemson Tigers swept the awards.
Running back Travis Etienne was named ACC Player of the Year for the second year in a row, becoming the first running back since North Carolina’s Mike Voight (1975-1976) to win the award multiple times. Etienne becomes the seventh player in ACC history to win the award multiple times and the first since Louisville’s Lamar Jackson did so in 2016 and 2017.
Etienne was also named ACC Offensive Player of the Year after a phenomenal regular season campaign in which the junior rushed for 1,386 yards and 16 touchdowns. During last weekend’s showdown with South Carolina, Etienne broke the ACC record for career touchdowns (57) and rushing touchdowns (53) with his two-touchdown performance against the Gamecocks. Etienne’s 16 touchdowns have given him a second consecutive 15-plus touchdown season, becoming the first Clemson player in school history to rush for 15 or more scores in multiple seasons. The running back had 24 touchdowns in 2018.
Etienne’s ACC Player of the Year award is the 11th time that a Clemson player has won the award and the third time in five years (Deshaun Watson in 2015 and Etienne in 2018). Etienne also becomes the second player in Clemson history to win the award multiple times, joining Tiger great Steve Fuller who won the award in 1977 and 1978.
Etienne was also named first-team All-ACC earlier this week.
Alongside Etienne, junior linebacker Isaiah Simmons claimed ACC Defensive Player of the Year honors. Simmons’ 2019 campaign has been impressive, leading the team in snaps (578), tackles (84), tackles-for-loss (14), and sacks (7). Simmons is also a finalist for the Bednarik and Nagurski Awards, two prestigious national defensive awards.
Simmons becomes the second consecutive Clemson player to win the award, following former defensive end Clelin Ferrell’s honor in 2018. Simmons is Clemson’s seventh ACC Defensive Player of the Year selection and fourth since 2010 (Ferrel in 2018, Vic Beasley in 2014, Da’Quan Bowers in 2010). The junior was also named to the first-team All-ACC defense earlier this week.
This is the second straight season Clemson has claimed all three ACC player honors. Last season, Etienne also won ACC Player and Offensive Player of the Year alongside Ferrell’s Defensive Player of the Year honor. Last year’s sweep was the first of any ACC team since Maryland in 2001, but this season’s sweep makes Clemson the first ever ACC program to sweep all three awards in back-to-back seasons.