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Rob Weintraub's ACC Alumni Trophies

New York Giants QB Daniel Jones
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

Beethoven's Ninth Symphony is more commonly known as the Ode to Joy. Weintraub's Ninth Symphony—aka the ninth annual Alumni Awards, my selections for every season's best NFL player from each of the Power 5 college programs—is similarly a joyous occasion that caps this football season. It's a great way to gauge the health of the collegiate teams, an indicator of the volatility of the pro game, and, most of all, a fun argument starter.



2012: Matt Ryan, QB, Atlanta
2013: Luke Kuechly, LB, Carolina
2014: Luke Kuechly, LB, Carolina
2015: Luke Kuechly, LB, Carolina
2016: Matt Ryan, QB, Atlanta
2017: Matt Ryan, QB, Atlanta
2018: Matt Ryan, QB, Atlanta
2019: Matt Ryan, QB, Atlanta
2020: Matt Ryan, QB, Atlanta

A pair of safeties—John Johnson of the Rams and Denver's Justin Simmons—were right in the race for the Golden Eagle Award. But quarterbacks win the close ones by dint of their importance, so chalk up another for Ryan, his sixth, making him Matty Thrice Twice.


2012: C.J. Spiller, RB, Buffalo
2013: Andre Ellington, RB, Arizona
2014: DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Houston
2015: DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Houston
2016: Vic Beasley, LB, Atlanta
2017: DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Houston
2018: Deshaun Watson, QB, Houston
2019: Deshaun Watson, QB, Houston
2020: Deshaun Watson, QB, Houston

The "Houston" may need a question mark in parentheses after it, given Watson's justified anger with the franchise, but there is no doubt about Deshaun's excellence, enough once more to cruise to his third consecutive Orange Paw.

DUKE (10)

2012: Vincent Rey, LB, Cincinnati
2013: Vincent Rey, LB, Cincinnati
2014: Vincent Rey, LB, Cincinnati
2015: Vincent Rey, LB, Cincinnati
2016: Jamison Crowder, WR, Washington
2017: Ross Cockrell, CB, New York Giants
2018: Matt Skura, C, Baltimore
2019: Daniel Jones, QB, New York Giants
2020: Daniel Jones, QB, New York Giants

A pair of interior linemen—Skura and Laken Tomlinson of San Francisco—were the equals of Danny Devil, but Jones fiendishly sneaks out the win due to positional advantage.


2012: Antonio Cromartie, CB, New York Jets
2013: Darnell Dockett, DT, Arizona
2014: Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Carolina
2015: Jameis Winston, QB, Tampa Bay
2016: Devonta Freeman, RB, Atlanta
2017: Jalen Ramsey, CB, Jacksonville
2018: Derwin James, S, Los Angeles Chargers
2019: Jameis Winston, QB, Tampa Bay
2020: Jalen Ramsey, CB, Los Angeles Rams

A fall-off in impact from last season for pro Noles, except in the case of L.A.'s mouthy shutdown corner, who wins his second Flaming Spear in as many uniforms.


2012: Calvin Johnson, WR, Detroit
2013: Calvin Johnson, WR, Detroit
2014: Demaryius Thomas, WR, Denver
2015: Demaryius Thomas, WR, Denver
2016: Shaq Mason, G, New England
2017: Shaq Mason, G, New England
2018: Shaq Mason, G, New England
2019: Darren Waller, TE, Oakland
2020: Darren Waller, TE, Oakland

An easy repeat for Waller, who finished third among tight ends in DYAR, albeit against little competition from fellow alums of the Institute.


2012: Elvis Dumervil, DE, Denver
2013: Elvis Dumervil, DE, Baltimore
2014: Elvis Dumervil, DE, Baltimore
2015: Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Minnesota
2016: William Gay, CB, Pittsburgh
2017: Sheldon Rankins, DT, New Orleans
2018: Lamar Jackson, QB, Baltimore
2019: Lamar Jackson, QB, Baltimore
2020: Lamar Jackson, QB, Baltimore

The pro Cards are a good lot, recently augmented by Jets tackle Mekhi Becton. But so long as Lamar remains upright, they are all competing for second place.

MIAMI (39)

2012: Reggie Wayne, WR, Indianapolis
2013: Jimmy Graham, TE, New Orleans
2014: Vince Wilfork, DT, New England
2015: Greg Olsen, TE, Carolina
2016: Olivier Vernon, DE, New York Giants
2017: Calais Campbell, DE, Jacksonville
2018: Calais Campbell, DE, Jacksonville
2019: Calais Campbell, DE, Jacksonville
2020: Calais Campbell, DE, Baltimore

Campbell didn't quite splash in Crabtown that way many predicted, but with the lack of impact Canes around the league, his fourth straight Ibis was earned nonetheless.


2012: Julius Peppers, DE, Chicago
2013: Robert Quinn, DE, St. Louis
2014: Julius Peppers, DE, Green Bay
2015: Giovani Bernard, RB, Cincinnati
2016: Zach Brown, LB, Buffalo
2017: Julius Peppers, DE, Carolina
2018: Mitchell Trubisky, QB, Chicago
2019: Robert Quinn, DE, Dallas
2020: Mitchell Trubisky, QB, Chicago

It was hardly of Triple Crown quality, but in the horse race to capture the Carolina Blue-colored Heel award, Trubisky came from way back in the pack to nip Quinn at the finish line.


2012: Mario Williams, DE, Buffalo
2013: Philip Rivers, QB, San Diego
2014: Mario Williams, DE, Buffalo
2015: Philip Rivers, QB, San Diego
2016: Philip Rivers, QB, San Diego
2017: Philip Rivers, QB, Los Angeles Chargers
2018: Philip Rivers, QB, Los Angeles Chargers
2019: Joe Thuney, G, New England
2020: Philip Rivers, QB, Indianapolis

Nice to see Old Man Rivers go out on top! Sure, he took a tough L in his final game, but winning his sixth Howlin' Wolf is more than enough to compensate.


2012: Golden Tate, WR, Seattle
2013: Michael Floyd, WR, Arizona
2014: Zack Martin, G, Dallas
2015: Harrison Smith, S, Minnesota
2016: Zack Martin, G, Dallas
2017: Harrison Smith, S, Minnesota
2018: Quenton Nelson, G, Indianapolis
2019: Ronnie Stanley, T, Baltimore
2020: Quenton Nelson, G, Indianapolis

Injuries took down Stanley and Martin, making Nelson the easy winner for the award from O-Line U.


2012: LeSean McCoy, RB, Philadelphia
2013: LeSean McCoy, RB, Philadelphia
2014: Darrelle Revis, CB, New England
2015: Aaron Donald, DT, St. Louis
2016: Aaron Donald, DT, Los Angeles Rams
2017: Aaron Donald, DT, Los Angeles Rams
2018: Aaron Donald, DT, Los Angeles Rams
2019: Aaron Donald, DT, Los Angeles Rams
2020: Aaron Donald, DT, Los Angeles Rams

Make it six in a row for the best Pro Panther and top defensive player in the sport.


2012: Chandler Jones, DE, New England
2013: TIE—Chandler Jones, DE, New England and Arthur Jones, DE, Baltimore
2014: Chandler Jones, DE, New England
2015: Chandler Jones, DE, New England
2016: Chandler Jones, DE, Arizona
2017: Chandler Jones, DE, Arizona
2018: Chandler Jones, DE, Arizona
2019: Chandler Jones, DE, Arizona
2020: Justin Pugh, G, Arizona

Jones only managing a handful of games at long last opened the door for someone else to capture the Orange, after eight in a row for OctoChandler. With his only competition coming from punters, Pugh took it easily, at least keeping the trophy in the desert and giving the Cardinals line a pair of Alumni Award winners.


2012: Chris Long, DE, St. Louis
2013: Chris Long, DE, St. Louis
2014: D'Brickashaw Ferguson, T, New York Jets
2015: Brandon Albert, T, Miami
2016: Chris Long, DE, New England
2017: Morgan Moses, T, Washington
2018: Brent Urban, DE, Baltimore
2019: Anthony Harris, S, Minnesota
2020: Morgan Moses, T, Washington

Consistent if underwhelming, Moses parted the sea of weak challengers to the Wahoo Trophy to win for the second time.


2012: Brandon Flowers, CB, Kansas City
2013: Jason Worrilds, LB, Pittsburgh
2014: Kam Chancellor, S, Seattle
2015: Duane Brown, T, Houston
2016: Kam Chancellor, S, Seattle
2017: Tyrod Taylor, QB, Buffalo
2018: Kyle Fuller, CB, Chicago
2019: Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Buffalo
2020: Wyatt Teller, G, Cleveland

Edmunds had another strong season in Buffalo, but Teller's emergence as a road grader helped power the stunning resurgence on the other side of the Erie Canal.


2012: Tyson Clabo, T, Atlanta
2013: Calvin Pace, LB, New York Jets
2014: Calvin Pace, LB, New York Jets
2015: Kevin Johnson, CB, Houston
2016: Kevin Johnson, CB, Houston
2017: Kevin Johnson, CB, Houston
2018: Jessie Bates, S, Cincinnati
2019: Jessie Bates, S, Cincinnati
2020: Jessie Bates, S, Cincinnati

Actually a winner of the Screamin' Deamon worthy of the Award! Bates turned in an All-Pro caliber season at the back end of Cincinnati's atrocious defense, a notable feat that earned him his third straight win with a bullet.


3 comments, Last at 16 Feb 2021, 12:43pm

1 Cleveland

Teller's emergence as a road grader helped power the stunning resurgence on the other side of the Erie Canal.

Lake Erie.  The other side of the Erie Canal from Buffalo would be in Albany.