December 1, 2009
Williams tabbed ACC's Rookie of the Year
Tailback edges BC's Kuechly

GREENSBORO - Virginia Tech running back Ryan Williams, author of one of the most prolific seasons by a freshman running back in NCAA history, has been named ACC Rookie of the Year for 2009 in voting by the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association. He also was named the Offensive Rookie of the Year.

Boston College linebacker Luke Kuechly, the nation’s second-leading tackler, earned acclaim as the league’s Defensive Rookie of the Year.

Williams, a redshirt freshman from Manassas, Va., received 34 of the 40 ballots cast. He began the preseason as an understudy to Darren Evans, who set the ACC’s freshman rushing record and received votes for Rookie of the Year last season. But when Evans sustained a season-canceling knee injury in August, Williams was thrust into important action. He responded with one of the best rushing seasons regardless of class distinction in ACC history.

“This something that is totally unexpected, but feels great,” Williams said. “I have to give a lot of credit to the offensive line and the wide receivers and the fullbacks because they helped pave the way for a lot of the stats I got this year.”

Williams’ current total of 1,538 yards is the fourth highest in the ACC’s 57-year football history. His average of 128.16 per game stands fifth. If he maintains that average in the Hokies’ bowl game, he’ll finish with 1,666; that total would trail only the 1,790-yard season by Virginia senior Thomas Jones in 1999 and North Carolina senior Don McCauley’s 1,720-yard campaign of 1970.

His current total is the eighth highest by a freshman in NCAA history. He has a chance to pass Tony Dorsett of Pittsburgh and Herschel Walker of Georgia on that list. Williams has set the record for total touchdowns by an ACC freshman (20) and has tied the league standard for rushing scores by any player (19). McCauley ran for 19 TDs in 1970 and Georgia Tech sophomore Robert Lavette equaled that figure 12 years later. McCauley holds the overall standard with 21 scores in that same 1970 season.

Kuechly is a 6-foot-3, 220-pound true freshman from Cincinnati is who averaging 11.83 total tackles per game. That’s the highest average by any rookie since the NCAA began compiling individual tackle statistics in 2003.

In all, Kuechly has made 10 or more tackles in eight straight games. His average of 11.83 hits a game leads the ACC and trails only Carmen Messina of New Mexico, whose defense faces 3.5 more plays per game than the Eagles’ unit sees.

Rookie of the Year
Ryan Williams, rb, Virginia Tech (34)
Luke Kuechly, lb, Boston College (29)
Greg Reid, cb, Florida State (4)
Kyle Parker, qb, Clemson (4)
Steve Greer, lb, Virginia (3)
Conner Vernon, wr, Duke (2)
Kenny Okoro, cb, Wake Forest (2)
Kevin Reddick, lb, North Carolina (1)
Jacobbi McDaniel, dt, Florida State (1)

Offensive Rookie of the Year
Ryan Williams, rb, Virginia Tech (34)
Kyle Parker, qb, Clemson (4)
Conner Vernon, wr, Duke (2)

Defensive Rookie of the Year
Luke Kuechly, lb, Boston College (29)
Greg Reid, cb, Florida State (4)
Steve Greer, lb, Virginia (3)
Kenny Okoro, cb, Wake Forest (2)
Kevin Reddick, lb, North Carolina (1)
Jacobbi McDaniel, dt, Florida State (1)

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