The media released its All-ACC preseason football team and Pitt was one of five programs with more than one representative. Seniors defensive end Ejuan Price and offensive lineman Dorian Johnson both made the cut.
Both should have a chance to stick and have garnered some other preseason recognition this offseason as well. It goes without saying that they were both deserving and as we've talked about before, should both have a great chance to play in the NFL after this season. Their inclusion on the team wasn't a surprise and Johnson led all guards in voting.
The bigger news to a lot of fans was who didn't make the team. There was no Adam Bisnowaty or Jordan Whitehead, who both finished third at their positions. But the biggest snub perhaps came to 2014 ACC Player of the Year James Conner.
Now, Conner not making the team wasn't much of a snub to me considering he is returning from an MCL injury and cancer. He was the top offensive player in the conference two years ago but voters have no idea how he'll respond. Even Pat Narduzzi recently said that while Conner was in nearly optimal playing condition, he doesn't know what he'll get out of him. Defenses will be ready for him. We don't know how he'll absorb hits or react to getting back on the field after last year's MCL injury.
Plus, the two guys ahead of him, Dalvin Cook (1,691 yards and 19 touchdowns) and Elijah Hood (1,463 yards and 17 touchdowns) had absolutely huge seasons last year. Realistically, they probably should have gotten the nod over Conner.
It's not that Conner wasn't on the All-ACC team that surprised me. Rather, I was a little taken aback that he didn't get a single vote.
This also wasn't simply a case of Cook and Hood eating up all of the other votes. If it were that, it would also be understandable. But ten other backs (including Pitt's Qadree Ollison) received at least one vote. That Conner didn't get any over the likes of others - some of which didn't have even a single 1,000-yard season to their name - is astonishing.
Something tells me he might have a chip on his shoulder entering the year.
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