TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Senior defensive end DeMarcus Walker was named the 2016 Atlantic Coast Conference Defensive Player of the Year, the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association announced Wednesday afternoon.
Walker, from Jacksonville, Fla., returned for his senior season with a goal of reaching 15 sacks, a feat he accomplished with two against No. 15 Florida in the regular season finale on Saturday. Walker ended the regular season as Florida State’s leader in tackles (64), sacks (15), tackles for loss (17.5), fumbles forced (3) and fumble recoveries (2). His 15 sacks are tied with Boston College’s Harold Landry for the national lead and are third-most in a season in FSU history, while the 27.5 in his career are also third in school history.
If Walker finishes the season leading FSU in tackles, it will be the first time in 20 seasons that a defensive lineman leads the Seminoles in tackles (Reinard Wilson, 1996).
Walker opened his final season with the Noles earning national player of the week honors after recording 4.5 sacks against No. 11 Ole Miss, all in the second half, as FSU rallied for a 45-34 win in Orlando. He went on to record multiple sacks against Wake Forest, NC State, Syracuse, and Florida. Against the Gators, he recovered two fumbles, the first two fumble recoveries of his career and the first Seminole with two in a game since Xavier Rhodes in 2010, also against Florida.
Walker was the ACC Defensive Lineman of the Week against Ole Miss and NC State and was named First Team All-ACC on Monday.
Walker’s most significant play may have been his blocked extra point in the final minutes at No. 10 Miami, securing Florida State’s 20-19 win over the Hurricanes, the seventh in a row in the series for the Seminoles.
Walker garnered 23 of the 48 votes cast by the ACSMA, beating Pitt’s Ejuan Price (9) and Ben Boulware (5). Walker is the seventh Seminole to win the honor, joining Derrick Brooks (1993), Derrick Alexander (1994), Peter Boulware (1996), Andre Wadsworth (1997), Darnell Dockett (2003), and Bjoern Werner (2012).
2016 ACC Defensive Player of the Year
DeMarcus Walker, FSU – 23
Ejuan Price, Pitt – 9
Ben Boulware, Clemson – 5
Harold Landry, Boston College – 4
Christian Wilkins, Clemson – 3
Woody Baron, Virginia Tech – 2
Devonte Fields, Louisville – 1
Micah Kiser, Virginia – 1