Dortch caps season with All-America honors

Wake Forest all-purpose threat was named to both Football Writers Association and AP teams

Wake Forest punt returner Greg Dortch runs back a punt for a touchdown against Towson in the first half of a NCAA college football game in Winston-Salem, N.C., Saturday, Sept. 8, 2018. (AP Photo/Nell Redmond)

WINSTON-SALEM — Wake Forest football player Greg Dortch was named to the Football Writers Association of America All-America first team at punt returner and earned second team All-America honors from The Associated Press as an all-purpose player this week.

The 5-9, 170-pound redshirt sophomore from Richmond, Va., is the first Demon Deacon to earn first team All-America honors from the Football Writers since cornerback Alphonso Smith in 2008. Dortch is the first Wake Forest player since linebacker Aaron Curry in 2008 to earn second team AP All-America honors.

Dortch lives up to his AP accolade as an all-purpose player as he leads the ACC in all-purpose yards with 145.8. On the season, he has 1,750 all-purpose yards, including 1,078 receiving yards. Dortch also leads the ACC in punt return average at 11.0 yards per return and ranks second in the ACC with 7.4 receptions per game. He is third in receiving yards per game at 89.8 and eighth in scoring.

Nationally, Dortch was the only player in the country with two punt returns for a touchdown in a game in 2018. He had returns of 60 and 70 yards for touchdowns in a win over Towson on Sept. 8. Dortch is seventh in the country in receptions per game, 11th in all-purpose yards, 13th in punt return average and 16th in combined kick return yards.

In addition to the football writers and AP honors, Dortch was named a first team All-American return specialist by Sports Illustrated.

Two weeks ago, Dortch was awarded the ACC’s Brian Piccolo Award, given annually since 1970 to the “most courageous” football player in the ACC, in memory of the late Brian Piccolo. 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.

Dortch bounced back from a season-ending injury last year. In a win against Louisville on Oct. 28, 2017, Dortch caught 10 passes for 167 yards and four touchdowns despite suffering a rupture of his small intestine that required emergency surgery. Dortch missed the final five games of last season, but he bounced back this year to earn first team All-ACC as an all-purpose player and now an All-American.