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Clemson Football

Andrew Mukuba Named ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year

December 1, 2021

The Atlantic Coast Conference announced today that Clemson true freshman safety Andrew Mukuba has been named as the 2021 ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year.

Mukuba becomes the third Clemson player to earn ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year since the honor was first awarded in 2007, joining defensive tackles Dexter Lawrence (2016) and Bryan Bresee (2020). With the selections of Bresee in 2020 and Mukuba in 2021, Clemson became the first school in the award's history to have players earn the honor in back-to-back seasons.

– Full release below – 

GREENSBORO, N.C. ( – Miami quarterback Tyler Van Dyke, who stepped up amidst adversity to deliver a standout freshman season for the Hurricanes, has been voted the 2021 Atlantic Coast Conference Football Rookie of the Year.

Clemson freshman safety Andrew Mukuba was chosen the ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year in voting by a select 50-member media panel and the conference’s 14 head coaches.

Van Dyke was voted the ACC Rookie of the Week five of the final six weeks of the regular season after being forced into the starting lineup due to a season-ending injury to starter D’Eriq King. The Glastonbury, Connecticut, native appeared in 10 games overall, completing 62.3 percent of his passes (202 of 324) for 2,931 yards and 25 touchdowns.

Van Dyke’s closing run included six consecutive weeks in which he passed for more than 300 yards and at least three touchdowns. Van Dyke led the Hurricanes to a 38-34 win over eventual Coastal Division champion Pitt – the No. 17 Panthers’ only loss in ACC play – and a 31-30 victory over No. 18 NC State. He was also voted the ACC Offensive Rookie of the Year in addition to his overall honor.

Clemson’s Mukuba appeared in all 12 regular-season games for the Tigers this season, including nine starts, while playing 523 snaps. A native of Zimbabwe who now calls Austin, Texas, home, Mukuba became the first true freshman defensive back to start a season opener for Clemson (according to records dating back to 1973) when he took the field versus then-No. 5 Georgia on Sept. 4.

Mukuba made eight tackles and broke up a pass versus the Bulldogs and went on to finish the regular season with 52 tackles while breaking up nine passes. He earned Freshman All-America honors from the Maxwell Football Club.

The complete breakdown of the 2021 ACC Football Rookie of the Year voting:


Rookie of the Year

Tyler Van Dyke, QB, Miami, 48

Will Shipley, RB, Clemson, 12

Andrew Mukuba, S, Clemson, 2

Duce Chestnut, CB, Syracuse, 2


Offensive Rookie of the Year

Tyler Van Dyke, QB, Miami, 50

Will Shipley, RB, Clemson, 13

Malachi Thomas, RB, Virginia Tech, 1


Defensive Rookie of the Year

Andrew Mukuba, S, Clemson, 28

Duce Chestnut, CB, Syracuse, 19

James Williams, S, Miami, 13

Jasheen Davis, DE, Wake Forest, 4

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Andrew Mukuba Named ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year

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