Dec. 1, 2003
Georgia Tech true freshman quarterback Reggie Ball was named Atlantic Coast Conference Rookie of the Year, becoming the first Tech player to win the award since tailback Jimy Lincoln in 1991 and the fifth overall.
Other Yellow Jackets to win the ACC Rookie of the Year award were quarterback Shawn Jones in 1989, and running backs Jerry Mays in 1985 and Cory Collier in 1983.
Ball was one of six Tech players honored Monday night at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis at the ACC’s annual awards banquet, which also recognizes members of the all-ACC first team. Five Yellow Jackets were named first-team all-ACC, including linebacker Keyaron Fox, who finished as the runner-up to Florida State defensive tackle Darnell Dockett in the balloting for the ACC Defensive Player of the Year Award. NC State quarterback Philip Rivers was the ACC Offensive Player of the Year.
Also named first-team all-ACC for Tech were center Hugh Reilly, running back P.J. Daniels, defensive end Eric Henderson and free safety James Butler. Tech also had one second-team all-ACC selection in wide receiver Jonathan Smith, as well as three players who received honorable mention recognition in linebacker Daryl Smith, tight end John Paul Foschi and defensive tackle Travis Parker.
Ball, from Stone Mountain, Ga., started every game for the Yellow Jackets this fall, winning the job less than four weeks after arriving on campus and then becoming the first true freshman quarterback in Tech history to start a season opener.
The 5-11, 192-pounder established Tech freshman records for passing yards (1,980), pass completions (177) and total offense (2,372). He completed 52 percent of his passes while throwing 10 touchdown passes. He was also the Jackets’ second-leading rusher with 392 yards and three touchdowns.
Ball was named ACC Rookie of the Week five times during the season, including three consecutive weeks from Sept. 27-Oct. 11. Some highlights of his season include three touchdown passes in Tech’s win over North Carolina; 225 yards passing and two touchdowns to lead Tech over Wake Forest; 283 yards passing in a win over NC State with two touchdowns passing and one rushing; a 25-yard touchdown run to give Tech an overtime win over Vanderbilt; and a mistake-free performance in the Jackets’ victory over Auburn.