Dec. 3, 2008
ATLANTA – Georgia Tech sophomore Jonathan Dwyer, the featured back in the Yellow Jackets’ high-octane rushing attack, joined a group of elite players Wednesday when he was named the Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Year by the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association (ACSMA).
Dwyer is the third Georgia Tech player to earn the honor, and the second in the last three years. Wide receiver Calvin Johnson (2006) and quarterback Joe Hamilton (1999) are the other Yellow Jackets to be named ACC Player of the Year. In between Dwyer and Calvin Johnson, Boston College’s Matt Ryan won the award in 2007.
“I am really proud of Jonathan,” said Georgia Tech first-year head coach Paul Johnson, who on Tuesday was named the ACC Coach of the Year. “He has a lot of talent and is a very gifted young man. We did not have a lot of depth behind him, and he did not miss a game and rarely sat out of practice.
“His work ethic, durability and toughness were very impressive to me. I think Jon is going to continue to get better. I think he deserves this very prestigious honor.”
Dwyer, who is attempting to give Georgia Tech the ACC rushing title for the third straight year, following Tashard Choice in 2006 and 2007, 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 474 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.
In just 25 career games, Dwyer has rushed for 1,764 yards, which ranks 12th in Tech history. He has 21 career rushing touchdowns (22 total TDs), which ranks tied for seventh in Tech history. Only four active players in the ACC — all juniors and seniors — have more career rushing TDs.
“There are so many talented players in this conference, I feel very honored and fortunate to receive this award,” Dwyer said. “My teammates definitely deserve a part of the award. We have so many talented guys on our offense that it really made things easier for me. I also have to thank our offensive line, which overcame so many injuries.”
Dwyer, one of only two unanimous selections for the All-ACC team announced earlier this week, received 30 of 67 votes for ACC Player of the Year, finishing well ahead of Florida State’s Everette Brown (nine votes) and NC State’s Russell Wilson (eight votes).
Dwyer, Johnson and other ACC individual award winners will be honored at a luncheon in Tampa on Friday.
Earlier Wednesday, Georgia Tech accepted an invitation to play in the Chick-fil-A Bowl New Year’s in the Georgia Dome.