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ESPN tabs Devonte Fields as preseason ACC Defensive Player of the Year

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Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

He might not get the nod when the media releases its official picks later on this week, but Louisville's Devonte Fields is getting some love from the ACC staff over at ESPN, which named the senior as its preseason Defensive Player of the Year pick in the conference.

The pick: Louisville OLB Devonte Fields

After transferring to Louisville last year, Fields' first few games were hardly explosive. Then again, the entire Cardinals' roster struggled through a 2-4 start to the season. But by mid-year, Fields came alive, recording 10.5 sacks and 18 tackles for loss from Oct. 24 on (seven games) -- both tallies tops in the nation during that stretch. There will be no acclimation period this time around, and Fields has the added help of playing on a unit filled with established stars. Louisville may not be the dominant force in the Atlantic, but these awards are often about numbers, and Fields looks like the best bet to put up huge stats on the defensive side of the ball.

Florida State's Derwin James was tabbed as the runner-up, with Keith Kelsey getting a nod in the "other names to watch" section.