Athon Sports has released its preseason All-ACC football team for 2020 and while NC State didn't place anyone on the first team after last years 4-8 disappointment, the Wolfpack did have nine players selected overall.
That's tied for the fifth-highest total in the league, behind only perennial power Clemson, Virginia Tech, Pittsburgh and North Carolina.
Earning second-team recognition was offensive tackle Ikem "Ickey" Ekwonu, punter Trenton Gill and punt return specialist Thayer Thomas.
Offensive guard Joe Sculthorpe and placekicker Christopher Dunn were selected to the third team while linebacker Payton Wilson and running back Zonovan Knight were on the fourth team.
Ekwonu was rated as one of the ACC's hightest-graded returning tackles this season by PFF College after a promising freshman season in which the led the 6-foot-4, 308-pound Charlotte native led the team in pancake blocks with 37 while allowing only two sacks in 641 snaps.
Gill led the ACC and was No. 4 in the nation with a school-record average of 47.6 yards per kick in his first season as State's punter while Thomas averaged 11.2 yards per punt return last season, the seventh-highest mark in school history. He had a 76-yard return for a touchdown in State's 34-23 win against Ball State.
Sculthorpe was the fifth-highest graded guard at a Power Five school in 2019, Dunn ranks fifth in school history with 44 career field goals and fourth in field goal percentage at .880 while connecting on his last 11 attempts, and McNeill is poised to become State's next star defensive lineman after a 2019 season in which he was second on the team in sacks (5.5) and tackles for loss (7.5).
Despite starting only one game, Wilson led the Wolfpack with 69 tackles in his first college season, Knight was the team's top rusher 745 yards and five touchdowns.
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