ACC Football: Top 5 Candidates to Win Defensive Player of the Year Award

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Oct 26, 2013; Blacksburg, VA, USA; Virginia Tech Hokies defensive end Dadi Nicolas (90) sacks Duke Blue Devils quarterback Anthony Boone (7) at Lane Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports

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Dadi Nicolas

DT, Virginia Tech

Dadi Nicolas is unblockable off the edge for Virginia Tech and finished third in the conference with 8.5 sacks last year. He added 18.5 tackles for loss which was second to last year’s Defensive Player of the Year in Clemson’s Vic Beasley and is my pick to lead the ACC in sacks and tackles for loss this year. Nicolas’ most impressive stat from last year was posting an astonishing 26 quarterback hurries.

His teammate Ken Ekanem actually had more sacks than Nicolas last year with 10.5, but I think Nicolas is the player that drives the front four and teams have to key on him more than they do Ekanem. Not that he’s a slouch, but I’m siding with Nicolas as a better candidate for this award.

Next: Jalen Ramsey