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NC State Football

Eight NC State Players Earn All-ACC Honors

November 30, 2021

RALEIGH, N.C. - Eight members of the NC State football squad have been named All-ACC performers for 2021, including six who earned first-team honors. Those six first-team nods ties as the highest tally for the Wolfpack since 1992, as Dave Doeren's 2018 team also had six first-teamers.

A testament to NC State's focus on playing complimentary football, the Pack was represented on the first team by offensive, defensive and special teams players.

OT Ikem Ekwonu was the team's lone first-team choice on offense. The winner of the ACC's Jacobs blocking, Ekwonu is a finalist for the 2021 Outland Trophy after allowing just two sacks in 819 snaps this season. A two-time ACC Offensive Lineman of the Week, he led the team with 67 knockdown blocks.

Three players represented the Wolfpack's stalwart 2021 defense that ranked in the top three in the league in every defensive category. Leading the way is linebacker Drake Thomas – who earned the second-highest vote total on the first-team defense. Thomas led his team and ranked fourth in the ACC with an even 100 tackles. He also tied for fifth in the league in INTs and was a two-time ACC LB of the Week this season.

Joining Thomas on defense is hard-hitting safety Tanner Ingle, who ranked second on the team with 82 tackles and an interception. Tackle Cory Durden, who began the season playing mostly end but started at nose seven of the last eight games, was also a first-team choice in his first year with the Pack after transferring in June.

On special teams, punter Trenton Gill – who leads the league in punting average for the second time in his career, won first-team honors. He also led the league in punts placed inside the 20 this season with 31 – nine more than any other ACC punter.

Zonovan Knight was honored as the league's first-team specialist player after a season that saw him average 34 yards per kick return – the top mark in the Power 5. He became just the second player in school history to post two 100-yard KOR returns for his career this season.

Wide receiver Emeka Emezie won second team honors after a season that saw him set a Wolfpack career record for receptions. He tallied six touchdown receptions for the season, including two in the regular season finale with UNC.

Center Grant Gibson was a third-team choice at center, tallying 40 pancake blocks in 829 snaps this season.

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