Paul Johnson And Jonathan Dwyer Named ACC Coach And Player Of The Year By Rivals.com

Dec. 11, 2008

ATLANTA – Georgia Tech sophomore B-back Jonathan Dwyer and head coach Paul Johnson have been named the Atlantic Coast Conference Player and Coach of the Year, respectively, by Rivals.com on Thursday.

Dwyer, who was voted the ACC Player of the Year by Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association (ACSMA) last week, is attempting to give Georgia Tech the ACC rushing title for the third straight year, following Tashard Choice in 2006 and 2007. He leads the ACC in rushing with 1,328 yards (110.7 yards per game). He has rushed for 100 yards in a game nine times this season to tie a school record, and he has eclipsed 100 yards rushing in four consecutive games. Over the last four games — all against nationally-ranked opponents (Florida State, North Carolina, Miami and Georgia) — Dwyer has rushed for 574 yards and seven touchdowns.

The Marietta (Ga.) native has rushed for 12 touchdowns in 2008 — the fifth-most single-season rushing TD’s in Tech history. This season, Dwyer has produced the longest run from scrimmage in Yellow Jacket history (88 yards vs. Mississippi State) and the fourth-longest run (85 yards vs. North Carolina). He also has runs of 66, 60 and 58 yards.

Johnson was also the ACSMA’s ACC Coach of the Year and CBSSportsline National Coach of the Year. He led Georgia Tech to a 9-3 regular season record, wins over three ranked teams and a final BCS ranking of 14. Sports Illustrated predicted Johnson’s first Yellow Jacket team would win just three games, and Tech was picked to finish fourth in the ACC’s Coastal Division. With a 5-3 record in ACC play, the Jackets tied Virginia Tech for the Coastal Division title.

Johnson, who came to Georgia Tech in December after a highly-successful, six-year tenure at Navy, inherited a roster low in scholarship numbers and overloaded with youth. Only 76 players are on scholarship, including three senior walk-ons who were awarded scholarships prior to the start of the season, below the maximum of 85 scholarships. The roster includes 75 freshmen and sophomores, and 16 of 22 starters are either freshmen or sophomores.

Many questioned whether or not Johnson’s spread option offense would work in the ACC. In the Nov. 29 regular season finale, with no senior starters on offense, Georgia Tech rolled up 409 rushing yards against Georgia, which ranked 15th nationally in rushing defense at the time. For the season, the Yellow Jackets lead the ACC in total offense (377.3) and rank third nationally in rushing offense (282.3).

Joining Dwyer on the Rivals.com All-ACC first team were senior offensive tackle Andrew Gardner, senior defensive tackle Darryl Richard and sophomore safety Morgan Burnett.

Senior defensive end Michael Johnson, senior defensive tackle Vance Walker and freshman safety Cooper Taylor were each second team selections.

Rivals.com also cited Tech’s thrilling 31-28 win over 15th-ranked Florida State on Nov. 1 as one of the best two games of the year. In addition, they picked the Yellow Jackets as the biggest surprise team in the ACC for 2008 and to win the ACC Coastal Division in 2009.

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