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Kuechly top ACC defensive player

Whether or not to enter the NFL draft next year is something Luke Kuechly is still chewing on. Whether or not to enter the NFL draft next year is something Luke Kuechly is still chewing on. (Winslow townson for the globe)
By Mark Blaudschun
Globe Staff / December 1, 2011
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Boston College’s football season is over, but for All-America middle linebacker Luke Kuechly, the award circuit is just beginning.

The 6-foot-3-inch, 240-pound junior was named Atlantic Coast Conference Defensive Player of the Year yesterday.

Kuechly received 30 of 45 votes. North Carolina State cornerback David Amerson, the nation’s leader in interceptions with 11, placed second with 14, and Duke safety Matt Daniels had the other vote.

Kuechly averaged 15.9 tackles per game. His total of 191 was a school and ACC record, and fell two short of the NCAA mark.

In only three seasons, Kuechly has 532 tackles, which is the second-highest total for an FBS player since the NCAA began compiling such statistics in 2000.

Until his streak ended with nine in a 24-17 win over Miami last Friday, Kuechly had recorded double-digit tackles in 33 straight games.

Although he has another year of eligibility, Kuechly is contemplating skipping his senior season at BC for the NFL; he is projected as a high first-round draft pick.

“In my mind, Luke is the best college football player in the country,’’ said BC coach Frank Spaziani. “Any awards he gets, he deserves. He is just a special, special player. It should be the first of many well-deserved awards he gets.’’

Kuechly’s reaction was low-key.

“I remember in my freshman year, [former BC linebacker Mark Herzlich] won it,’’ he said. “I thought it was pretty cool. I think getting this is also a tribute to my teammates, who were all part of this.’’

Mark Blaudschun can be reached at blaudschun@globe.com.

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