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Virginia's Minnifield and Payne Earn All-ACC Honors

Junior cornerback Chase Minnifield and senior running back Keith Payne have been named to the All-ACC football team, as recently announced by the conference. Minnifield was named to the first team, while Payne was named to the second team.

From the Virginia news release:

Minnifield, a junior, finished the regular season No. 2 in the ACC and No. 6 nationally with six interceptions. Twice during the season he was named honorable mention for the Jim Thorpe Defensive Back of the Week honor. He also shared ACC Defensive Back of the Week honors on Nov. 1 with teammate Corey Mosley after snaring two interceptions in UVa's 24-19 upset of Miami. The Lexington, Ky., native finished the season No. 8 on the team with 48 tackles. He also broke up four passes and recorded 0.5 sacks.

This should be comforting to Cavaliers fans, as Minnifield will return for his senior season next year. He is the first defensive back to earn first-team honors since Anthony Poindexter in 1998.

Payne, a senior, concluded his collegiate career leading the ACC in scoring at 8.7 points per game with a league-best 16 total touchdowns. His 14 rushing scores is a mark that is No. 3 all-time in the UVa annals and second-most since the end of World War II. He led all UVa rushers with 749 yards and amassed three 100-yard games, including 114 yards in his 2010 debut against Richmond - his first action since 2008. Payne also equaled the record for most rushing touchdowns in a game during the modern UVa era with four. The Herndon, Va., native set his career standard with 121 yards at Duke and also reached the century mark in rushing against North Carolina with 107 yards.

This honor must be particularly meaningful for both Payne and head coach Mike London, who took a risk in bringing Payne back to the program after a rocky start and a year off. He had been relegated to bench-warming duties under Al Groh, and to top it all off, had serious academic issues to deal with. Payne made the most of his second chance with the team, becoming the first running back to be named to either the first or second team since Alvin Pearman in 2004.