June 24, 2004
ATLANTA-All-Atlantic Coast Conference standouts James Butler, Eric Henderson, and P.J. Daniels highlight an all-star group of returnees for the Georgia Tech football team, according to preseason publications.
James Butler, a preseason candidate for the Jim Thorpe Award for the nation’s best defensive back, is regarded as the ACC’s best safety according to The Sporting News. The Climax, Ga. native is also a preseason third-team all-American in both Athlon Sports and Streets & Smith’s magazines. Butler, one of Tech’s five first team all-ACC players in 2003, is a preseason first team all-ACC member according to Athlon Sports, The Sporting News, and Streets & Smith’s. Lindy’s College Football Annual and The Sporting News both rank Butler as one of the nation’s top-5 safeties.
Joining Butler of the defensive side of the ball is first team all-ACC defensive end Eric Henderson. The New Orleans, La. native is a candidate for the Outland Trophy and the Lombardi Award for the nation’s best lineman. The Tech standout is also a preseason candidate for the Bednarik and Nagurski Awards for the most outstanding defensive player. The preseason second team all-American, according to Athlon Sports and Streets and Smith’s, is ranked among the top players at his position. Henderson ranks sixth in the nation at defensive end according to Lindy’s and eighth according to The Sporting News. The junior is expected to repeat as a first team all-ACC selection by all major publications.
On the offensive side, running back P.J. Daniels headlines the Yellow Jackets. Daniels, the ACC’s leading rusher in 2003, is a candidate for the Doak Walker Award for the nation’s best running back. The junior from Houston, Texas is a preseason honorable mention all-American and is among the top running backs in the nation ranking 13th according to Lindy’s College Football Annual. The Sporting News ranks Daniels as the ACC’s best running back between the tackles and among the top ten rushers in the nation.
Along with Daniels, sophomore quarterback Reggie Ball and senior wideout Nate Curry are also preseason honorees. Ball, the ACC Rookie of the Year, and Curry are both honorable mention all-America picks by Streets & Smith’s magazine. Ball ranks as one of the top 25 quarterbacks in the nation according to Lindy’s and has Curry the third best receiver in the ACC by The Sporting News.
Other players receiving preseason honors include Kyle Wallace, Jimmy Dixon, Travis Parker and Mansfield Wrotto. Wallace is a preseason second team all-ACC pick and is rated as the second best offensive tackle on the right side according to The Sporting News. Dixon is touted as the second best fullback blocker in the ACC as indicated by The Sporting News. Rounding out the preseason accolades are honorable mention all-Americans Parker and Wrotto.