By Joedy McCreary
Balance was the key word this season in the Atlantic Coast Conference, so it’s fitting that four schools shared the spotlight on the all-conference team.
Georgia Tech, Clemson and Virginia Tech each landed seven players on The Associated Press all-ACC team for 2006. Worst-to-first Wake Forest, which will play Georgia Tech on Saturday in the ACC championship game, had six players make the team announced Monday.
No. 23 Georgia Tech placed four players on the first team, including receiver Calvin Johnson — the lone unanimous selection by the 80 voting members of the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association. Johnson led the league with 74.9 yards receiving per game.
Defensive tackle Joe Anoai, safety Jamal Lewis and punter Durant Brooks also represented the Coastal Division champion Yellow Jackets on the first team, and Georgia Tech had three second-teamers: running back Tashard Choice, defensive end Adamm Oliver and linebacker Philip Wheeler.
Virginia Tech running back Branden Ore, linebacker Vince Hall and cornerback Brandon Flowers also made the first team, while four Hokies made the second team: offensive tackle Duane Brown, linebacker Xavier Adibi, kicker Brandon Pace and specialist Eddie Royal.
Clemson had four first-team selections on offense — running back James Davis, receiver Chansi Stuckey, tackle Barry Richardson and guard Nathan Bennett — and end Gaines Adams led the defense with 157 of a possible 160 points. Running back C.J. Spiller and center Dustin Fry made the second team.
Five Wake Forest players — offensive tackle Steve Vallos, center Steve Justice, linebacker Jon Abbate, safety Josh Gattis and kicker Sam Swank — were first-team honorees, and quarterback Riley Skinner was the Demon Deacons’ only player picked to the second team.
The rest of the first team offense was rounded out by quarterback Matt Ryan and guard Josh Beekman of Boston College, and Miami tight end Greg Olsen.
The first-team defense also consisted of Miami defensive end Calais Campbell, North Carolina State defensive tackle Tank Tyler, Florida State linebacker Buster Davis and Duke cornerback John Talley, and N.C. State’s Darrell Blackman was the first-team selection at specialist.
Comprising the rest of the second-team offense were Maryland’s Darrius Heyward-Bey and Florida State’s Greg Carr at receiver, Boston College tackle Jim Marten, and guards Leroy Harris of N.C. State and Andrew Crummey of Maryland.
Also on the second-team defense were Virginia end Chris Long, tackles Kareem Brown of Miami, Andre Fluellen of Florida State and B.J. Raji of Boston College, Terrapins linebacker Erin Henderson, cornerbacks Marcus Hamilton of Virginia and DeJuan Tribble of Boston College, and Miami safeties Kenny Phillips and Brandon Meriweather. Adam Podlesh of Maryland was the second-team punter.
North Carolina was the only school not represented on the all-conference teams.