PITTSBURGH—Pitt senior safety Jason Hendricks, who led the Panthers in both tackles and interceptions last year, has been named to the preseason All-Atlantic Coast Conference team, the league announced today.
The preseason All-ACC team is comprised of 25 players (11 offense, 11 defense and three specialists) and was selected by media members in attendance at this week’s 2013 ACC Football Kickoff in Greensboro.
Hendricks (Brooklyn, N.Y./Hudson Catholic [N.J.]) was a force against the run and pass last year. The second-team All-Big East pick led the Panthers in tackles (90) and interceptions (six). Hendricks’ interception total was the highest by a Pitt player since 2000, while his 0.46 INTs per game led the Big East and ranked sixth nationally.
Hendricks anchored a Pitt secondary that owned lofty 2012 NCAA rankings in pass defense (20th, 194.15 yards/game), pass efficiency defense (21st, 113.12 rating) and interceptions (26th, 15 total). The Panthers ranked 17th nationally in total defense, allowing just 330.54 yards per contest.
In a very tight vote, Pitt senior defensive tackle Aaron Donald narrowly missed receiving a berth on the team. Donald (Pittsburgh, Pa./Penn Hills), a preseason candidate for various national awards, was a first-team All-Big East selection last year, compiling 64 total tackles, 18.5 tackles for loss, 5.5 sacks and a forced fumble. He led the Big East and ranked 12th nationally with 1.54 TFLs per game.
The 2013 season marks the Panthers’ first as a member of the ACC. Pitt will open the year with a highly anticipated showdown against defending ACC and Orange Bowl champion Florida State on Labor Day (Sept. 2) at Heinz Field. The ESPN national telecast will kick off at 8 p.m.