Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets running back Clinton Lynch (22) runs for a touchdown after a catch in the second half at Bobby Dodd Stadium on Saturday, September 17, 2016. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets won 38-7 over the Vanderbilt Commodores. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM

Paul Johnson backs Clinton Lynch as All-ACC candidate

Georgia Tech A-back Clinton Lynch received coach Paul Johnson’s support as an All-ACC candidate.

“He’s certainly been very productive,” Johnson said Wednesday following the team’s practice. “It’d be very hard to argue with his numbers. I think he’s played well all year.”

In Johnson’s first eight seasons,Tech has not had an A-back named All-ACC by either the coaches or media, although Orwin Smith and Robbie Godhigh were named honorable mention in 2012 and 2013, respectively. The challenge that A-backs face in receiving such recognition is that they don’t receive the number of touches to compare with tailbacks in more conventional offenses. They impact games in a different way than a tailback does that is difficult to evaluate.

With 30.3 rushing yards per game (31 rushes for 333 yards), Lynch doesn’t have the typical numbers for one of the six spots for running backs on the All-ACC team. However, Lynch’s influence on a game is best measured in other ways. With 15 receptions for 474 yards, Lynch has 807 yards from scrimmage.

North Carolina running back Elijah Hood, who will likely be in the running for All-ACC, has carried the ball 134 times for 802 yards and caught another 24 passes for 138 yards. With 29 percent of the touches that Hood has had, Lynch has gained 86 percent of Hood’s yards from scrimmage total. Lynch has 15 plays of 20 yards or more compared to nine for Hood and scored seven touchdowns compared to Hood’s eight.

Carolina has pounded defenses with Hood for consistent gains to keep the offense moving. Tech has used Lynch less frequently but for more explosive plays. Lynch and other A-backs also have an integral role in the offense with perimeter blocking, while tailbacks can make some contributions in pass protection. Interestingly, both Lynch and Hood account for 19 percent of their team’s offensive yardage.

Johnson also supported center Freddie Burden, saying that “Freddie’s been very consistent.” Despite a superior season, quarterback Justin Thomas is unlikely to earn All-ACC recognition because of the glut of elite quarterbacks in the conference such as Louisville’s Lamar Jackson, Clemson’s Deshaun Watson and North Carolina’s Mitch Trubisky.

Tech’s strongest All-ACC candidate is probably kicker Harrison Butker, who is second in field-goal accuracy at 85 percent (11-for-13) and second in touchback percentage at 70 percent.

The media All-ACC team will be announced Monday. The coaches All-ACC team will be released Dec. 7.

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