Notre Dame’s one-year venture into the ACC gave the conference a boost in strength and in talent.
The former showed up in two of its teams reaching the College Football Playoff. The latter is displayed on the All-ACC teams, released Tuesday.
Notre Dame had 12 players across the three all-conference teams, tied with Clemson for the most of any ACC member. The Irish also had seven honorable mentions, a status awarded to anyone who earned at least 20 votes. Voting was decided by a panel of 49 media members and the league’s 15 head coaches.
Left tackle Liam Eichenberg, left guard Aaron Banks, right guard Tommy Kraemer, linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah and safety Kyle Hamilton were first-team All-ACC selections.
Eichenberg and Banks started every game and allowed zero sacks. Banks allowed only seven pressures, per Pro Football Focus, the lowest among Notre Dame’s five starters. Hamilton and Owusu-Koramoah tied for the team lead with 56 tackles. Owusu-Koramoah, the Butkus Award winner, also had 11.0 tackles for loss, three forced fumbles, 1.5 sacks, two pass breakups, an interception and two fumble recoveries. He had a 23-yard fumble return touchdown in the Nov. 7 win over Clemson.
Running back Kyren Williams, right tackle Robert Hainsey and defensive tackle Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa earned second-team All-ACC recognition.
Williams was one of four ACC running backs to rush for 1,000 yards. He had 195 carries, 1,061 yards (5.44 yards per rush) and 12 touchdowns. He was also Notre Dame’s third-leading receiver, with 27 catches. Tagovailoa-Amosa had 6.0 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks this year.
Quarterback Ian Book, tight end Michael Mayer, center Jarrett Patterson and cornerback Nick McCloud were selected to the third team.
Book has completed 64 percent of his passes for 2,601 yards and 15 touchdowns. He tossed just two interceptions and had a streak of 266 consecutive throws without one that ended Dec. 5. He also ran for eight touchdowns. Mayer, one of the most productive freshmen tight ends in Notre Dame history, caught 35 passes for 388 yards and two touchdowns. All but eight of his receptions went for first downs.
Patterson was honored despite not playing since Nov. 14 due to a season-ending foot injury. McCloud had a team-high eight pass breakups.
Wide receiver Javon McKinley, tight end Tommy Tremble, defensive end Daelin Hayes, defensive end Ade Ogundeji, nose tackle Kurt Hinish and safety Shaun Crawford were honorable mentions. Williams was also an honorable mention as an all-purpose player.
PFF All-Americans, All-Conference
Pro Football Focus season-long fondness of Notre Dame’s offensive line showed up in its postseason awards. The outlet named Banks a first-team All-American. Hainsey (third-team), Kraemer (third-team) and Eichenberg (honorable mention) were also awarded.
“Notre Dame has the clear-cut best offensive line in the country, and Banks is a key cog in that unit,” PFF’s Anthony Treash wrote. “He was the only Power 5 left guard who earned a pass- and run-block grade above 80.0 this year. Banks came in at No. 6 among all FBS left guards in PFF pass-blocking grade.”
Owusu-Koramoah was a second-team PFF All-American.
Banks, Kraemer, Hainsey and Patterson were on PFF’s first-team All-ACC list, while Eichenberg was a second-teamer.
“Notre Dame nearly swept the first-team offensive line, but unfortunately for the Irish, (Virginia Tech’s) Christian Darrisaw enjoyed a historic year,” Treash wrote. “Nonetheless, Notre Dame’s starting right tackle Hainsey has been nothing short of exceptional like the rest of the group. He has a 90.6 PFF grade for the season which ranks fourth among all FBS right tackles.”
On defense, Owusu-Koramoah and Hamilton were the Irish’s first-team members.
“Owusu-Koramoah isn’t your prototypical linebacker due to the role he plays in the Irish defense that tasks him with living in the slot,” Treash wrote. “His job is a bit more difficult than some other off-ball linebackers in college football, but Owusu-Koramoah has put up an 81.4 coverage grade thanks to his athleticism and instinctive play. When manning the slot, no linebacker has a higher coverage grade than JOK.”
Hayes was a second-team pick, Tagovailoa-Amosa and linebacker Drew White were third-team selections and McCloud was honorable mention.
The Athletic’s Freshmen All-American teams – which includes true freshmen and redshirts – honored four Notre Dame players. Williams and Mayer were first-team selections, while cornerback Clarence Lewis and kick returner Chris Tyree were on the second team.
“After taking a four-game redshirt in 2019, Williams has established himself as one of college football’s best young backs,” The Athletic wrote of Williams. “He has produced 1,343 all-purpose yards (No. 8 in FBS), six 100-yard rushing performances and 13 touchdowns. [He] has also proven to be incredibly effective in pass protection.”
Several Notre Dame players won individual national awards or are finalists for them.
Eichenberg won the Jacobs Blocking Trophy, which is given to the ACC’s best offensive linemen. The offensive line as a whole is a finalist for the Joe Moore Award, along with Alabama and Texas A&M.
Elsewhere, Book is one of 12 finalists for the Manning Award – given to the nation’s best quarterback – and is among the 20 semifinalists up for the Walter Camp Player of the Year. He recently won the Pop Warner National College Football Award, which goes to a player “in his final year of eligibility who has made a difference on the field, in the classroom and in the community, serving as a role model to young athletes.”
Hayes is a semifinalist for the Mayo Clinic Comeback Player of the Year.
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