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NC State’s Thornton tabbed preseason All-ACC

N.C. State running back Shadrach Thornton looks for running room as UCF linebacker Terrance Plummer closes in during the Wolfpack’s Bitcoin St. Petersburg Bowl win on Dec. 26, 2014.
N.C. State running back Shadrach Thornton looks for running room as UCF linebacker Terrance Plummer closes in during the Wolfpack’s Bitcoin St. Petersburg Bowl win on Dec. 26, 2014. ehyman@newsobserver.com

N.C. State senior running back Shadrach Thornton was picked by the media to the preseason All-ACC team Thursday.

Thornton’s inclusion is the first time in coach Dave Doeren’s three seasons that N.C. State has had a player on the preseason team. Doeren infamously referenced the lack of talent he inherited after a home loss to Boston College last year.

Doeren was happy to see Thornton, who led the Wolfpack with 907 rushing yards last season, recognized.

“He has put in a lot of hard work,” Doeren said Thursday at the Pigskin Preview in Cary. “The important thing is being All-ACC at the end of the season.”

Producing an All-ACC running back has been more difficult for N.C. State. T.A. McLendon was the last, in 2002, and he was also the last Wolfpack running back to break the 1,000-yard mark.

Thornton will again be sharing carries with junior Matt Dayes, and N.C. State has three new freshmen running backs. Thornton did emerge at the end of last season as the go-to running back. He ran for 367 yards in the last three games – wins over Wake Forest, North Carolina and Central Florida. Thornton was joined by Pittsburgh running back James Conner on the first-team offense.

Punter Wil Baumann made the All-ACC team last year but the Wolfpack has not had a position player on the postseason All-ACC team since safety Earl Wolff in 2012. Tight end George Bryan in 2010 is the last position player on offense to make the All-ACC team.

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