With Miami’s season officially at an end, now comes the time when those lucky enough to vote can cast their ballots for the best players in the ACC.
Of all of the categories, the most notable and exciting has to be All-ACC Rookie of the Year.
Two candidates have separated themselves from the rest of the field and similar to election day, they will battle head-to-head with the hopes of securing the esteemed title. Okay, I may be exaggerating a bit, but nevertheless, one cannot argue that Miami RB Duke Johnson and Maryland WR Stefon Diggs have made their mark.
Maryland native Stefon Diggs held nearly every elite offer coming out of high school, including an offer from Miami. Diggs shocked, or perhaps it wasn’t a big surprise, when he chose to play for his hometown Terps’ over Ohio State and Florida.
In his freshman year, Diggs caught 54 passes totaling 848 yards and six touchdowns. He averaged 15.7 yards per reception and had a long of 66 yards. Diggsproved to be a dual-threat and ran the ball for 114 yards on 20 carries.
He returned 26 kickoffs for 713 yards and two touchdowns. Not too shabby.
In the other corner stands 5-9, 183-pound Miami native, Duke Johnson.
Like Diggs, Johnson chose to play or his hometown team and held a number of offers from big time schools, including Florida, Texas and West Virginia. Johnson led his Miami Norland high school team to a state championship win where the future ‘Cane balled out hardcore. Needless to say, Miami fans were eager to get him on campus.
During his freshman year, Johnson ran the ball 139 times totaling 947 yards and scored ten touchdowns. Duke would go on to break Clinton Portis’ 13-year old freshman rushing record of 838 yards.
Johnson caught 27 passes for 221 yards and one touchdown.
He proved to be electric when returning the ball and did so 28 times for 892 yards and two touchdowns with a long of 95 yards.
Here is what some of the ACC pundits had to say about the two:
In any event, no matter who wins this prestigious title, both of these young men have shown that aside from being exciting to watch, they are leaders of their respective teams and will do whatever it takes to win. The future looks bright for both Diggs and Johnson and you can believe that both will be spending some time in the NFL.
*Stats courtesy of ESPN