Hall Named BIG EAST Co-Special Teams Player of the Year
Eight Hokies make all-conference
December 9, 2003

PROVIDENCE, R.I. - Junior defensive back DeAngelo Hall has been named the BIG EAST Conference's Co-Special Teams Player of the Year, as announced Tuesday morning by the league office. Hall, who made the first-team all-conference squad as both a defensive back and a kick returner, was joined on the first team by Tech All-Americans Jake Grove at center and Kevin Jones at running back.

Several Hokies made the second team. Senior Ernest Wilford made the team for the second year in a row. He was joined by defensive players Vegas Robinson (linebacker), ends Cols Colas and Nathaniel Adibi, and safety Michael Crawford.

Fresh off a record-breaking regular season, Pittsburgh's Heisman Trophy candidate - wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald - has been named BIG EAST Offensive Player of the Year. Miami safety Sean Taylor earned Defensive Player of the Year, while Andy Lee of Pittsburgh and Hall of Virginia Tech shared the Special Teams Player of the Year award. West Virginia wideout Chris Henry garnered BIG EAST Rookie of the Year, while the Mountaineers' Rich Rodriguez earned Coach of the Year honors.

The All-BIG EAST First and Second Teams were also announced. All selections are made by the league's head coaches, who are not permitted to vote for their own players.

Fitzgerald is the third Panther player to earn offensive accolades and just the second to do so outright (Billy West, Pittsburgh, 1994). Fitzgerald set nearly every conference receiving record this season, ranking first in the all-time record book in catches (87), yards (1,595) and touchdown receptions (22). The sophomore wide receiver has posted 132.9 yards per game, the top mark in the nation and an average that is first in league annals entering the bowl season. He leads the country with 10 games with 100 receiving yards or more and has caught a touchdown in an NCAA-record 18 consecutive contests. A finalist for the Maxwell and Walter Camp Awards, Fitzgerald is the third wide receiver (Antonio Bryant, UP, Santana Moss, UM; 2000) in history to win the league award.

Taylor leads a Miami defense that is second nationally in pass defense, allowing 147.5 yards per game. The junior safety has a league-best nine interceptions, a total that is tied for second in the country. He has returned three pickoffs for scores, setting a BIG EAST standard for interception returns for touchdowns in a season. He is second in the league with 18 pass break-ups and also has recorded 72 tackles (36 solo) in 2003. Taylor is the sixth BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Year winner from Miami.

Lee wins special teams recognition for the second year in a row after leading the BIG EAST in punting with 44.0 yards per kick, an average that is 14th nationally. The senior had the best average for a conference-leader since 1997 (Jimmy Kibble, VT, 45.1). He punted 75 times for 3,300 yards, with 20 traveling 50 or more yards. Twenty-three of his kicks were inside the 20-yard line, as he averaged 43.1 yards or better in nine of 12 outings. He had a long punt of 62 yards. He is the first player in BIG EAST history to win special teams honors in back-to-back seasons.

Hall is first in the conference and No. 7 in the nation in punt returns with a 14.47-yard average. The Chesapeake, Va., native had 30 returns for 434 yards, including two for touchdowns. He recorded two games with more than 100 return yards, with a long run of 60 yards. Hall, who also played on offense this season, was an All-BIG EAST First Team choice on both special teams and defense.

Henry is the third Mountaineer in BIG EAST history (Grant Wiley, 2000; Amos Zereoue, 1996) to earn rookie honors after finishing second in the conference with 10 touchdown catches and 87.3 yards per game. Henry, who did not play last year, finished the regular season with 38 receptions for 960 yards, averaging 25.3 yards per catch. The first three receptions of his career earlier this season went for touchdowns. He has been very strong in his last seven contests, catching 31 passes for 805 yards and seven scores. Henry also has four outings of 100 receiving yards or more in 2003.

Rodriguez guided West Virginia, picked fourth in the preseason poll, to a share of the BIG EAST Championship. The title was the second for the Mountaineers and first since 1993. After a 1-4 start, he helped maintain the team's focus as WVU concluded the year with a seven-game winning streak. Rodriguez has led West Virginia to a 12-2 conference record over the past two seasons and guided them to their second straight bowl appearance. He is the second WVU coach (Don Nehlen, 1993) to earn league Coach of the Year honors and the fourth overall to be a unanimous selection.

The All-BIG EAST selections boasted six repeat first team choices. Six players moved up from second to first team, with three players repeating on the second team. Six players were unanimous picks on the first squad - Fitzgerald, Taylor, Rod Rutherford and Andy Lee (Pittsburgh), Jonathan Vilma (Miami), Jones (Virginia Tech) and Grant Wiley (West Virginia). Every school in the conference had at least one player on the first squad. Vilma is just the ninth player in conference history to be a first team choice three times in his career.

2003 BIG EAST FOOTBALL AWARDS

BIG EAST OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
LARRY FITZGERALD, PITTSBURGH, WR, Sophomore, 6-3, 225, Minneapolis, Minn.

BIG EAST DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
SEAN TAYLOR, MIAMI, S, Junior, 6-3, 225, Miami, Fla.

BIG EAST SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYERS OF THE YEAR
ANDY LEE, PITTSBURGH, P, Senior, 6-2, 205, Westminster, S.C.
DeANGELO HALL, VIRGINIA TECH, PR, Junior, 5-11, 198, Chesapeake, Va.

BIG EAST ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
CHRIS HENRY, WEST VIRGINIA, WR, Sophomore, 6-4, 190, Belle Chasse, La.

BIG EAST COACH OF THE YEAR
RICH RODRIGUEZ, WEST VIRGINIA

2003 ALL-BIG EAST FIRST TEAM
OFFENSE
Pos. Player School Cl. Ht. Wt. Hometown
WR Larry Fitzgerald ** Pittsburgh So. 6-3 225 Minneapolis, Minn.
WR Zamir Cobb Temple Sr. 6-1 185 Washington, D.C.
OT Eric Winston Miami So. 6-7 290 Midland, Texas
OG Augie Hoffmann Boston College Sr. 6-2 307 Parkridge, N.J.
C Jake Grove Virginia Tech Sr. 6-3 300 Forest, Va.
OG Chris Snee Boston College Jr. 6-3 331 Montrose, Pa.
OT Rob Petitti Pittsburgh Sr. 6-6 330 Rumson, N.J.
TE Kellen Winslow Miami Jr. 6-5 243 San Diego, Calif.
QB Rod Rutherford ** Pittsburgh Sr. 6-3 225 Pittsburgh, Pa.
RB Kevin Jones ** Virginia Tech Jr. 6-0 209 Chester, Pa.
RB Quincy Wilson West Virginia Sr. 5-9 210 Weirton, W. Va.
PK Jon Peattie Miami RF 6-3 200 Clearwater, Fla.
KR/PR DeAngelo Hall Virginia Tech Jr. 5-11 198 Chesapeake, Va.
 
DEFENSE
DL Vince Wilfork ** Miami Jr. 6-2 344 Boynton Beach, Fla.
DL Raheem Orr Rutgers Sr. 6-4 260 Elizabeth, N.J.
DL Mathias Kiwanuka Boston College So. 6-8 246 Indianapolis, Ind.
DL Louis Gachelin Syracuse Sr. 6-1 287 Miami, Fla.
LB Jonathan Vilma ** Miami Sr. 6-2 220 Coral Gables, Fla.
LB D.J. Williams Miami Sr. 6-2 249 Pittsburg, Calif.
LB Grant Wiley ** West Virginia Sr. 6-1 230 Trappe, Pa.
CB Antrel Rolle Miami Jr. 6-1 197 Homestead, Fla.
CB DeAngelo Hall Virginia Tech Jr. 5-11 198 Chesapeake, Va.
S Sean Taylor ** Miami Jr. 6-3 225 Miami, Fla.
S Brian King West Virginia Sr. 6-0 180 Damascus, Md.
P Andy Lee ** Pittsburgh Sr. 6-2 205 Westminster, S.C.

2003 ALL-BIG EAST SECOND TEAM
OFFENSE
Pos. Player School Cl. Ht. Wt. Hometown
WR Ernest Wilford Virginia Tech Sr. 6-4 221 Richmond, Va.
WR Chris Henry West Virginia So. 6-4 190 Belle Chasse, La.
OT Adam Terry Syracuse Jr. 6-8 314 Queensbury, N.Y.
OG Vernon Carey Miami Sr. 6-5 363 Miami, Fla.
C Nick Romeo Syracuse Sr. 6-1 300 Tarpon Springs, Fla.
OG Chris Myers Miami Jr. 6-5 283 Miami, Fla.
OT Jeff Berk West Virginia Jr. 6-5 275 Huber Heights, Ohio
TE Kris Wilson Pittsburgh Sr. 6-3 250 Lancaster, Pa.
QB Rasheed Marshall West Virginia Jr. 6-1 190 Pittsburgh, Pa.
RB Derrick Knight Boston College Sr. 5-9 205 Rockland, Mass.
RB Walter Reyes Syracuse Jr. 5-10 205 Struthers, Ohio
PK Collin Barber Syracuse Jr. 6-1 214 Lexington, Ky.
KR/PR Nate Jones Rutgers Sr. 5-10 180 Scotch Plains, N.J.
 
DEFENSE
DL Doug Goodwin Boston College Sr. 6-1 298 Freeport, N.Y.
DL Christian Ferrara Syracuse Sr. 6-4 295 North Caldwell, N.J.
DL Cols Colas Virginia Tech Sr. 6-0 226 Plantation, Fla.
DL Nathaniel Adibi Virginia Tech Sr. 6-3 255 Hampton, Va.
LB Rich Scanlon Syracuse Sr. 6-1 243 Oradell, N.J.
LB Rian Wallace Temple So. 6-4 240 Pottstown, Pa.
LB Vegas Robinson Virginia Tech Sr. 6-0 244 Chesapeake, Va.
CB Will Blackmon Boston College So. 6-0 196 Cranston, R.I.
CB Adam Jones West Virginia So. 5-11 175 College Park, Ga.
S Maurice Sikes Miami Sr. 5-11 197 Miami, Fla./Pace
S Michael Crawford Virginia Tech Sr. 5-11 209 Baltimore, Md.
P Brendan Carney Syracuse RF 6-5 188 Valley Forge, Pa.
** - unanimous selection
Ties in the voting created an additional position for Special Teams Player of the Year.