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Syracuse football players receive postseason ACC honors

Some All-ACC mentions and a few individual awards, too.

NCAA Football: North Carolina State at Syracuse Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

While the Syracuse Orange football team’s overall play wasn’t award-worthy in 2020, there were some individual performances worth noting. The All-ACC teams were announced on Tuesday, and a few SU players received nods:

Second team: Nykeim Johnson (specialist)

Third team: Taj Harris (wide receiver), Ifeatu Melifonwu (cornerback), Nolan Cooney (punter)

Honorable mention: Garrett Williams (cornerback), Mikel Jones (linebacker)

Harris had the fourth-most receptions and seventh-most receiving yards in the league despite dealing with a bad offense and inconsistent quarterback play all year. Melifonwu and Williams were among the best corners in the conference, and were two of the only five players in the ACC to defend 10 or more passes. That wasn’t enough to get either the credit they probably deserved. If we’re talking true “snubs,” Williams not even making the third team would be one.

While not a snub, necessarily, Jones was tied for the conference lead in interceptions yet wasn’t on the first three teams, either. At least it seems that voters are no longer using picks as an end-all, be-all stat.

Johnson’s inclusion may seem like a surprise, but he did average over 14 yards per return (would’ve been first in the league if he’d the minimum number) and third in kick return average at 23.24 per.

Where Syracuse players get some better honors is with regard to individual awards. Cooney was honored with the Brian Piccolo award for the “most courageous” player in the conference. As most know by now, Cooney had his own battle with cancer years ago, and went on to become another excellent SU punter as a walk-on this year.

Kinglsey Jonathan also received the Jim Tatum Award, recognizing the top senior student-athlete in the league. He posted a 3.5 or better GPA every semester at Syracuse, while majoring in information studies.

Congrats to all the SU players that received nods from the league today. It’s nice to see some positives even after a rough year.