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5 ACC DEFENSIVE PLAYERS TO WATCH

5 ACC DEFENSIVE PLAYERS TO WATCH

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Basham

CARLOS BASHAM JR. | Wake Forest

You know about the Hokies and Cavs, so ACC Network analyst and ex-BC LB Mark Herzlich breaks down some other players.

CARLOS BASHAM JR. | Wake Forest senior defensive end

2019: All-ACC first team; tied for ACC lead in tackles for loss (18); ranked second in ACC in sacks (11) and tied for second in forced fumbles (three); had 57 tackles, 13 QB hurries and three pass breakups.

Herzlich says: "You get more sacks and you get more pressures on the quarterback when the other team is forced to throw and they have to get the first down and can't settle for punting. So if Wake Forest is able to continue to be explosive offensively, then Carlos Basham will have an even better year than he would have otherwise. I already think he's going to be a top [NFL] prospect out of the ACC. He didn't miss sack opportunities by running past the quarterback or getting too far up the field. And when the quarterback would step up in the pocket, he was able to transition well and use his hands to get to the quarterback."

ANDRE CISCO | Syracuse junior free safety

2019: All-ACC second team; recorded league-high five interceptions; had 68 tackles, five pass breakups, one forced fumble and one fumble return; missed three games with an injury.

Herzlich says: "Sometimes safeties will get caught out of position and they'll have to retreat in order to go forward or go downhill, but he's always in really good position. He's able to make the most of every single play because he's able to see what's in front of him and attack downhill. That's why he's able to get so many interceptions and make so many plays."

PARIS FORD | Pittsburgh junior strong safety

2019: All-ACC first team; had 97 tackles, three interceptions, 11 pass breakups and three forced fumbles.

Herzlich says: "He's the best run-support safety in the ACC. If he is anywhere near the box, he's going to get to the ball. What impressed me last year about him was the development of his ability to cover, his ability to play in the box … and then to get deep and cover the post, too. He has incredible speed and length. To me, he's the best safety in the ACC."

CHAZZ SURRATT | North Carolina senior linebacker

2019: All-ACC first team; had 115 tackles, 6 1/2 sacks, 15 tackles for loss, 10 QB hurries, one interception, one forced fumble and one fumble return.

Herzlich says: "He's very athletic and speedy. That plays well into the way the ACC is formatted — lots of spread offenses, lots of passing. He's able to cover tight ends well. He's able to use his knowledge from the quarterback room [as an ex-QB] to put himself in the right position. I'll be interested to see how this year goes for him. Sometimes when you go to a new position, you don't know what you don't know. So you go there and just play football — you're loose and not a lot is expected of you right away. He was able to make the most of that situation. … He could improve exponentially with that [additional] technique coaching or it could get in his head and slow him down."

MARVIN WILSON | Florida State senior defensive tackle

2019: All-ACC first team; had 44 tackles, five sacks, 8 1/2 tackles for loss, four pass breakups, two QB hurries, one forced fumble and one fumble return; missed final four games with an injury.

Herzlich says: "He's got good size, … but he also has a tenacious mentality. You have to have the mentality to go every single down at defensive tackle, and a lot of times that doesn't happen. One of the things I loved about him, watching him last year, was from the moment the ball was snapped until the play was over, he was running the entire time. There was a screen pass out to the side and the wide receiver made a few guys miss on the outside and [Wilson] was tracking [him] down from inside and made the play. … He's great at stopping the run. He's got good, quick moves inside to get to the quarterback."

— Mark Berman

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Mark Berman covers Virginia Tech men’s basketball and many other teams at the university. He also helps cover other colleges, including Radford, VMI, Roanoke, Washington and Lee and Ferrum.

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