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Eight Yellow Jackets Earn All-ACC Honors

Dec. 1, 2008

ATLANTA – Eight Georgia Tech football standouts earned All-Atlantic Coast Conference honors, including a league-high four who were named first team All-ACC, it was announced Monday by the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association (ACSMA).

On a roster dominated by freshmen and sophomores, three Georgia Tech seniors joined sophomore running back Jonathan Dwyer on the All-ACC first team. Senior defensive tackle Vance Walker and senior offensive tackle Andrew Gardner earned first team honors for the second straight year and senior defensive end Michael Johnson garnered first team All-ACC for the first time.

Dwyer and Wake Forest defensive back Alphonso Smith were unanimous selections.

Three Yellow Jackets were named second team All-ACC: senior defensive tackle Darryl Richard, sophomore safety Morgan Burnett and junior offensive guard Cord Howard.

Sophomore defensive end Derrick Morgan was honorable mention All-ACC, giving all four starters on the defensive line all-conference honors.

Georgia Tech’s four first-team selections were the most of any team. Boston College, Maryland, Florida State and Wake Forest all had three first-team honorees. Tech’s eight total all-conference selections tied for third behind Boston College and Maryland (nine each).

“It is good to see four of our seniors and all four members of the defensive line earn all-conference recognition because they all have been important to our team,” head coach Paul Johnson said. “There are many talented players in the ACC, so I think it speaks well about our team as a whole that Georgia Tech has eight representatives on the team.”

The Yellow Jackets, ranked 15th in the Associated Press poll and 16th in the USA Today poll, are 9-3 and awaiting their postseason bowl destination. Georgia Tech was picked by ACSMA to finish fourth in the ACC’s Coastal Division in the preseason poll. Sports Illustrated projected the Jackets to finish 3-9 this season.

Dwyer leads the ACC in rushing (110.7 yards per game), ranks second in all-purpose yards per game (136.8) and second in touchdowns scored (13). The Marietta (Ga.) sophomore has rushed for more than 100 yards in a game nine times this season, including four straight to end the regular season. Dwyer ran for 144 yards and two touchdowns in Saturday’s 45-42 win at 13th-ranked Georgia.

Gardner was Tech’s veteran leader on an offensive line that has helped the Yellow Jackets rank third nationally in rushing offense. Gardner played in 48 consecutive games before having season-ending surgery in early November. He earned ACC Offensive Lineman of the Week honors twice in 2008.

Walker emerged in 2007 as one of the nation’s top interior lineman and continued with a stellar season in 2008. Walker has 8.0 tackles-for-loss and 3.0 sacks, including a sack in the end zone for a safety that was key in Georgia Tech’s 19-16 victory at ACC Atlantic Division champion Boston College in September.

Johnson ranks third in the ACC in tackles-for-loss (15.0) and fourth in sacks (7.0). The 6-7 Johnson broke-up seven passes, forced two fumbles, recovered a fumble, blocked a Mississippi State field goal attempt and returned an interception for a touchdown against Miami.

Richard joined Walker to give Georgia Tech one of the top defensive tackle duos in the country. Richard, who graduated with honors from Tech in just three years and is pursuing his graduate degree, has 10 tackles-for-loss, 4.0 sacks and a fumble recovery in 2008.

Burnett is tied for the NCAA lead in interceptions with seven, including a 35-yard INT return for a touchdown Saturday against Georgia. The College Park (Ga.) native leads the Yellow Jackets in tackles (79) to go with 5.5 tackles-for-loss, eight pass break-ups and a forced fumble. Burnett was the leading vote-getter among defensive players on the second team.

Howard, who played offensive tackle last season, started all 12 regular season games at guard. With Gardner sidelined with an injury, Howard helped the Yellow Jackets roll up a combined 881 yards rushing against Miami and Georgia to close the regular season.

Morgan did not receive the publicity his senior defensive line teammates received, but led all Tech defensive linemen in tackles (48). The Coatesville (Pa.) native has 9.5 tackles-for-loss, is tied for fourth in the ACC in sacks (7.0) and tied for second nationally with four fumble recoveries.

2008 ACSMA/AP All-ACC Football Team

(Total Points) — Maximum 134 Points / 67 Voters


First Team                            Second Team

Quarterback Russell Wilson, NC State, Fr. (106) Thaddeus Lewis, Duke, Jr. (28)

Running Back Jonathan Dwyer, Georgia Tech, So. (134)# Darren Evans, Virginia Tech, Fr. (58)

Da’Rel Scott, Maryland, So. (76) C.J. Spiller, Clemson, Jr. (50)

Wide Receiver Hakeem Nicks, North Carolina, Jr. (130) Eron Riley, Duke, Sr. (57)

D.J. Boldin, Wake Forest, Sr. (76) Aaron Kelly, Clemson, Sr. (56)

Tight End John Phillips, Virginia, Sr. (88) Ryan Purvis, Boston College, Sr. (45)

Tackle Eugene Monroe, Virginia, Sr. (117) Garrett Reynolds, North Carolina, Sr. (42)

Andrew Gardner, Georgia Tech, Sr. (107) Anthony Castonzo, Boston College, So. (41)

Guard Rodney Hudson, Florida State, So. (99) Sergio Render, Virginia Tech, Jr. (48)

Clif Ramsey, Boston College, Sr. (78) Cord Howard, Georgia Tech, Jr. (45)

Center Edwin Williams, Maryland, Sr. (62) Thomas Austin, Clemson, Jr. (48)

#Unanimous Selection

Honorable Mention (20 points or more)

QB – Riley Skinner, Wake Forest, Jr. (26)

RB – Antone Smith, Florida State, Sr. (33); Cedric Peerman, Virginia, Sr. (30)

WR – Darius Heyward-Bey, Maryland, Jr. (34); Kevin Ogletree, Virginia, Jr. (32)

TE – Dan Gronkowski, Maryland, Sr. (41)

OT – Scott Burley, Maryland, Sr. (34)

OG – Thomas Claiborne, Boston College, So. (38); Calvin Darity, North Carolina, Sr. (34); Jaimie Thomas, Maryland, Sr. (33); Nick Marshman, Virginia Tech, Sr. (24)

C – Ryan McMahon, Florida State, Sr. (35); Matt Tennant, Boston College, Jr. (33); Ryan Shuman, Virginia Tech, Sr. (23)


First Team Second Team

Defensive End Everette Brown, Florida State, Jr. (131) Orion Martin, Virginia Tech, Sr. (61)

Michael Johnson, Georgia Tech, Sr. (99) Jason Worilds, Virginia Tech, So. (39)

Defensive Tackle B.J. Raji, Boston College, Sr. (103) Ron Brace, Boston College, Sr. (52)

Vance Walker, Georgia Tech, Sr. (62) Darryl Richard, Georgia Tech, Sr. (50)

Linebacker Mark Herzlich, Boston College, Jr. (118) Clint Sintim, Virginia, Sr. (79)

Michael Tauiliili, Duke, Sr. (110) Alex Wujciak, Maryland, So. (43)

Aaron Curry, Wake Forest, Sr. (106) Mark Paschal, North Carolina, Sr. (40)

Cornerback Alphonso Smith, Wake Forest, Sr. (134)# Ras-I Dowling, Virginia, So. (49)

Victor Harris, Virginia Tech, Sr. (125) Tony Carter, Florida State, Sr. (34) tie

Kendric Burney, North Carolina, So. (34)

Safety Trimane Goddard, North Carolina, Sr. (105) Morgan Burnett, Georgia Tech, So. (85)

Michael Hamlin, Clemson, Gr. (89) Myron Rolle, Florida State, Jr. (55)

#Unanimous Selection

Honorable Mention (20 points or more)

DE – Derrick Morgan, Georgia Tech, So. (26); Willie Young, NC State, Jr. (25)

DT – Vince Oghobaase, Duke, Jr. (40); Boo Robinson, Wake Forest, Jr. (31); Jeremy Navarre, Maryland, Sr. (29)

LB – Nate Irving, NC State, So. (28)

S — Paul Anderson, Boston College, Sr. (35); Anthony Reddick, Miami, Sr. (23)


First Team Second Team

Placekicker Graham Gano, Florida State, Sr. (127) Matt Bosher, Miami, So. (34)

Punter Travis Baltz, Maryland, So. (105) Matt Bosher, Miami, So. (60)

Specialist C.J. Spiller, Clemson, Gr. (66) Michael Ray Garvin, Florida State, Sr. (41)

Honorable Mention (20 points or more)

PK – Dustin Keys, Virginia Tech, Sr. (25)

SP – Brandon Tate, North Carolina, Sr. (33); T.J. Graham, NC State, Fr. (31)


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