GREENSBORO, N.C. – Clemson consensus All-America quarterback Deshaun Watson joins NCAA champion Molly Seidel as the ACC’s top male and female athletes for the 2015-16 academic year, as voted upon by the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association (ACSMA).
Watson, who earned the 63rd Anthony J. McKevlin Award as the conference’s premier male athlete, led Clemson to a 14-1 record, the Dr Pepper ACC Football Championship, and an appearance in the College Football Playoff National Championship game. He became the first quarterback in FBS history to throw for at least 4,000 yards and rush for at least 1,000 in the same season.
Seidel claimed the 26th Mary Garber Award as the conference’s finest female athlete after capping off a decorated career with a historic senior season in cross country and indoor track & field. The first four-time NCAA champion in the 129-year history of Notre Dame athletics, Seidel captured the NCAA title in cross country, indoor 3,000 meter, and indoor 5,000 meter.
The ACC Athlete of the Year awards are given in memory of distinguished journalists from the region. McKevlin was a sports editor in Raleigh, North Carolina, and Garber, of the Winston-Salem (North Carolina) Journal, was a pioneer as one of the first female sports journalists in the nation.
Watson received 28 votes from ACSMA members to lead the McKevlin Award balloting. Virginia’s Malcolm Brogdon, who was the first player in ACC Men’s Basketball history to be named ACC Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year, placed second with 13 votes, followed by Duke lacrosse standout Myles Jones and Wake Forest baseball player Will Craig with three votes each.
“This is a great honor, especially when you consider in 63 years Deshaun is just the second athlete across all sports to receive this award,” said Clemson Head Football Coach Dabo Swinney. “He had a special season, and is very deserving. I am just as proud of him of the way he handles himself and represents our school and our conference.”
A three-time ACC champion during the 2015-16 year, Seidel garnered All-America accolades in cross country and twice in track & field. She was also named to the CoSIDA Academic All-America First Team, and was named the ACC Scholar-Athlete of the Year for both cross country and indoor track & field.
“Commenting that Molly has been outstanding for us this year would be an understatement,” Notre Dame head coach Alan Turner said. “She has been prodigious. She has elevated not only herself to lofty heights, but has raised the expectations of our program. Not only is Molly tops on the track she is tops in the classroom, being named a first team Academic All-American as well. Being named ACC Female athlete of the year speaks volumes not only for her, but for our program and our university. The Notre Dame Family is extremely proud of her.”
Seidel led the balloting for the Garber Award with 16 votes, just ahead of Louisville’s Kelsi Worrell, who won two individual titles at the 2016 NCAA Women’s Swimming & Diving Championship with 13 votes. North Carolina’s Marie McCool, who led the Tar Heels to the NCAA Women’s Lacrosse Championship, placed third with seven votes.