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Thursday, January 19, 2012
ACC's most improved players in 2011

By Heather Dinich

There were many players throughout the ACC who made noticeable strides in 2011, not only from the previous season, but also from the first half of the season to the second. Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd certainly didn’t look like the same guy who completed 8 of 24 passes in the spring game, and NC State quarterback Mike Glennon threw 11 of his 31 touchdowns in the last three games and only four of his 12 picks in the last five games. Some, though, made greater turnarounds than others. Here are the ACC’s most improved players for offense, defense and special teams in 2011:

OFFENSE

Tanner Price
Wake Forest's Tanner Price made enormous strides from his freshman season in 2010.
1. Wake Forest quarterback Tanner Price. As a true freshman in 2010, Price completed 137 of 241 passes for 1,349 yards with eight interceptions and seven touchdowns. As a sophomore in 2011, he completed 253 of 422 passes for 3,017 yards, six interceptions and 20 touchdowns.

2. Miami receiver Tommy Streeter. He went from zero starts and one catch in 2010 to becoming the Canes’ leading receiver in 2011 with 811 yards and eight touchdowns in seven starts.

3. NC State receiver T.J. Graham. He caught 25 passes in 2010, 46 in 2011. He led the team with 757 yards and seven touchdowns. In 2010 he had 316 yards and four touchdowns.

DEFENSE

1. Virginia Tech defensive back Kyle Fuller. He went from getting benched in the 2010 ACC title game to being an all-conference performer who led the Hokies in tackles for loss from a DB position in 2011. He had two interceptions, 65 tackles, 14.5 TFL, and 4.5 sacks.

2. Florida State S Lamarcus Joyner. A reserve cornerback and kickoff return specialist as a true freshman, Joyner moved to safety in the spring and was a big hit. He finished fourth on the team in tackles with 54 (38 solos), led the Seminoles with four interceptions and was second with seven passes defended. He also led the team in kickoff return yards (13-397) with an impressive 30.5 average.

3. Florida State LB Christian Jones. He moved into the starting lineup after a solid freshman season in a reserve role at SLB. He finished third on the team with 56 tackles (33 solo), including six tackles for loss (three sacks). He also led the Seminoles with two forced fumbles and added a fumble recovery for the ACC’s top defense.

SPECIAL TEAMS

1. Clemson K Chandler Catanzaro. Catanzaro went from the goat of the Auburn game in 2010 to hitting 22 of 27 field goals, including 9 of 12 on field goals from 40 yards or more, second most in Clemson history from that distance.