Athlon Sports released its preseason All-America and All-ACC teams this week, and Pitt was well represented on both lists. Panthers safety Paris Ford and Panthers defensive tackle Jaylen Twyman both made the All-America squad, and a total of 10 Pitt players were listed on the All-ACC team.
Ford and Twyman doubled up on their preseason honors with spots on the All-ACC first team, and they were joined by Panthers center Jimmy Morrissey. In addition, Twyman earned preseason All-America honors from the Walter Camp Football Foundation on Thursday and is currently the only Pitt player included on multiple preseason All-America lists.
After a breakout 2019 season, Twyman earned second-team All-America and first-team All-ACC honors. He had a team-high 10.5 sacks and 12 tackles for losses. Ford was equally impressive in the Pitt secondary, as he led the team with three interceptions and ranked second on the team in forced fumbles, with three. He was also Pitt’s leader in tackles, with 90. Ford and Morrissey also earned first-team All-ACC honors in 2019, like Twyman.
Earning second-team preseason All-ACC honors were Panthers safety Damar Hamlin and Panthers defensive end Patrick Jones II. Jones earned second-team honors last season after ranking second on the team in sacks and tackles for losses, with 8.5 and 11.5, respectively. However, Hamlin was overlooked for postseason honors and will be looking to make a statement in his final season.
Pitt’s honorees on the third team included Panthers offensive lineman Bryce Hargrove, Panthers cornerback Damarri Mathis and Panthers defensive end Rashad Weaver. Much is expected of Weaver upon his return from injury in 2020. He led the team in sacks and tackles for losses in 2018, with 6.5 and 14, and could complement Twyman and Jones well. Meanwhile, Matgis has quietly become one of the top corners in the ACC and came up with 11 pass breakups and two picks in his first season as a regular starter.
Bringing up the rear on the fourth team were Panthers linebacker Phil Campbell and Panthers wide receiver Taysir Mack. Campbell did a little bit of everything last year on Pitt’s defense, accruing 56 tackles, eight tackles for losses, 5.5 sacks, one pick, one pass breakup, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery. And on offense, Mack will be Pitt’s top returning receiver, as he had 736 yards and three touchdowns, one of which was the game-winner in the Quick Lane Bowl.
In terms of All-ACC honors, the only programs in the conference that were better represented were Clemson, with 14 preseason honorees, and Virginia Tech, with 13 honorees.