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Clemson Football

Former Clemson Tiger Richard Yeargin wins ACC’s 2019 Brian Piccolo Award

December 2, 2019

GREENSBORO, N.C. ( – Boston College graduate defensive end Richard Yeargin has been named the recipient of the Atlantic Coast Conference’s 2019 Brian Piccolo Award, as announced by the league on Monday.

The Piccolo Award has been given annually since 1970 in memory of the late Brian Piccolo to the "most courageous" football player in the ACC. As a standout running back at Wake Forest, Piccolo was the ACC Athlete of the Year in 1965 and played for the Chicago Bears before his career was cut short when he was diagnosed with cancer. His courageous fight against the disease was an inspiration to the Bears and the entire football community.

Yeargin will be recognized this weekend during activities surrounding the 2019 ACC Football Championship Game between Clemson and Virginia, which is set for Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at Charlotte’s Bank of America Stadium.

In June of 2017, Yeargin, who began his college career at Clemson and had just completed his second season, was involved in a car accident near Greenville, South Carolina. His injuries included fractures of the C5 through C7 vertebrae at the base of his neck and a concussion.

Yeargin graduated in December of 2017, enrolled in a master’s program and was set to return to action for the Tigers in 2018, but symptoms related to the accident persisted and he decided to retire from football. Yeargin underwent surgery and became a student coach for the Tigers’ national championship run, but he continued to rehab under the watch of the Clemson strength and conditioning staff.

He got engaged, became a father and landed a job offer as he neared completion of work on his master’s degree. Then, during a routine check-up last April, he was surprisingly cleared to return to the playing field.

Yeargin, a 6-foot-4, 280-pound native of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, entered the transfer portal and landed at Boston College. Yeargin not only found his way back to the playing field this fall, he appeared in every game as a regular in the Eagles’ defensive line rotation while making six starts.

Nominated for the 2019 Capital One Orange Bowl-FWAA Courage Award after making his first start for Boston College and recording a tackle for loss in a win over NC State on Oct. 19, Yeargin finished the regular season with 12 total tackles, including six for lost yardage, and a quarterback hurry.

“This is a tremendous honor for Richard to be named the Piccolo Award recipient as the ACC’s most courageous player,” said Steve Addazio, Yeargin’s head coach at BC this past season. “He has been a tremendous addition to our football team both on and off the field, and has shown tremendous courage and passion in returning to the field. We could not be happier for him.”

Yeargin becomes the second student-athlete from Boston College to earn the ACC’s Brian Piccolo Award and the first since linebacker Mark Herzlich in 2010.


ACC Brian Piccolo Award Winners:

1970   Paul Miller, QB, North Carolina

1971      Jim Webster, LB, North Carolina

1972      Mark Johnson, QB, Duke

1973      Al Neville, QB, Maryland

1974      David Visaggio, DG, Maryland

1975      Scott Gardner, QB, Virginia

1976      Jeff Green, DE, Duke

1977      Ralph Stringer, DB, NC State

1978      Rex Varn, DB, Clemson

1979      not available

1980      Jack Cain, DB, Clemson

1981      Aaron Stewart, DB, Duke

1982      Kenny Duckett, WR, Wake Forest

1983      John Piedmonte, OLB,Wake Forest

1984      J.D. Maarleveld, T, Maryland

1985      Danny Burmeister, DB, N. Carolina

1986      Ray Williams, WR, Clemson

1987      no recipient

1988      Jerry Mays, TB, Georgia Tech

1989      Michael Anderson, RB, Maryland

1990      Marc Mays, WR, Duke

1991      Scott Adell, T, NC State

1992      Dan Footman, DE, Florida State

              Randy Cuthbert, TB, Duke

1993      Scott Youmans, DL, Duke

1994      Chris Harrison, T, Virginia

1995      Warren Forney, DT, Clemson

1996      John Lewis, RB, Wake Forest

1997      Sam Cowart, LB, Florida State

1998      Anthony Poindexter, DB, Virginia

              Corey Simon, DT, Florida State

1999      Chris Weinke, QB, Florida State

2000      Ed Wilder, FB, Georgia Tech

2001      Matt Crawford, T, Maryland

2002      Anquan Boldin, WR, Florida State

2003      Kevin Bailey, OL, Virginia

2004      Frank Gore, RB, Miami

2005      Ryan Best, S, Virginia

2006      Glenn Sharpe, Miami

2007      Matt Robinson, DE, Wake Forest

2008      Robert Quinn, DE, North Carolina

2009      Toney Baker, RB, NC State

2010      Mark Herzlich, LB, Boston College

              Nate Irving, LB, NC State

2011      Giovani Bernard, RB, North Carolina

2012      Shayon Green, DE, Miami

               Chris Thompson, RB, Florida State

2013      Robert Godhigh, RB, Georgia Tech

2014      Duke Johnson, RB, Miami

2015      Hunter Knighton, OL, Miami

2016      James Conner, RB, Pitt

2017      Trevon Young, DE, Louisville

2018      Greg Dortch, WR/KR, Wake Forest

2019      Richard Yeargin, DE, Boston College

Former Clemson Tiger Richard Yeargin wins ACC’s 2019 Brian Piccolo Award

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