July 23, 2008
GREENSBORO, N.C. – Georgia Tech seniors Andrew Gardner, Michael Johnson and Vance Walker have been named to the Atlantic Coast Conference Preseason All-Conference team announced today in voting by media attending the annual ACC Football Kickoff earlier this week at Reynolds Plantation in Greensboro, Ga.
Gardner was a first-team All-ACC performer at offensive tackle last year and should be considered one of the nation’s top offensive linemen in 2008. He was a key reason why Tech ranked first in the ACC in rushing and ranked near the top of the ACC in fewest sacks allowed in 2007.
Johnson is a remarkable athlete who can change the direction of a game in the blink of the eye. He saw action in all 12 games, coming off the bench in basically every passing situation. His three forced fumbles last season were tied for second in the ACC and tied for 35th nationally. He had 20 tackles, including 10 solos, 6.0 tackles-for-loss and 4.0 sacks. Johnson led the team with four quarterback hurries and two blocked kicks.
Walker is coming off a 2007 campaign where he was a first team All-ACC pick. He also earned Rivals.com First Team All-ACC honors and was a Third-Team AP and Rivals.com All-American. Walker was one of the top defensive linemen in the ACC and emerged in 2007 as an outstanding run stopper and pass-rusher. He led Tech with 8.5 sacks and also had 14 tackles-for-loss, three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.
Clemson senior quarterback Cullen Harper was tabbed the league’s Player of the Year. Harper, who set 22 school records and was named second-team All-ACC quarterback in 2007, received 34 votes in the balloting. His teammate, senior running back James Davis, was second, being named on 16 ballots. No other player received more than four votes.
Clemson, which was tabbed by the same media group as the preseason choice to capture the 2008 ACC title, had four individuals on the pre-season squad, as did Florida State and Wake Forest. Nine of the league’s 12 schools were represented in the 25-player group.
Seven players who earned first-team All-ACC honors in 2007 were on this year’s preseason team – Davis and wide receiver Aaron Kelly of Clemson, tight end Ryan Purvis of Boston College, offensive tackle Andrew Gardner and defensive tackle Vance Walker of Georgia Tech, and cornerbacks Victor Harris of Virginia Tech and Alphonso Smith of Wake Forest.