Hokies' Taylor takes home top honor|QB ACC’s player of the year

Published 9:14 am Thursday, December 2, 2010

By By HANK KURZ Jr., AP Sports Writer
BLACKSBURG, Va. — Virginia Tech quarterback Tyrod Taylor, who has led the No. 12 Hokies to 10 consecutive victories and his third berth in the Atlantic Coast Conference championship game following an 0-2 start, is the ACC’s player of the year for 2010.
Taylor, a senior, was the choice of 27 of the 57 members of the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association that voted. Russell Wilson of N.C. State was second with 19 votes.
Clemson defensive end Da’Quan Bowers won defensive player of the year.
Taylor, also the offensive player of the year and the league’s first-team All-ACC quarterback, has played for four years, hopes a bigger prize awaits the Hokies on Saturday.
‘‘It’s an honor to be recognized as the ACC’s Player of the Year and to see all of my hard work pay off,’’ he said. ‘‘I’m more proud, though, of how this team responded from an 0-2 start, but now we have finish things off Saturday in Charlotte against a tough Florida State team.’’
The Hokies will play No. 20 Florida State for the championship on Saturday night in Charlotte, N.C., with the winner earning the conference’s berth in the Orange Bowl.
Taylor said he will approach this game like any other — with high expectations.
‘‘I challenge myself every week to be the best player on the field,’’ he said. ‘‘That’s my mindset going into the week and when I step onto the field, I want to let it be known that I was the best player on the field in that game.’’
Taylor was the MVP of the 2008 championship game against Boston College. He is the first Hokies player to win the player of the year honor since quarterback Bryan Randall in 2004.
Taylor leads the ACC in passing efficiency, having completed better than 60 percent of his attempts while throwing for 20 touchdowns and just four interceptions. He also is the Hokies’ second-leading rusher with 613 yards, and has two runs of more than 70 yards.
Bowers, who led the nation with 15 1/2 sacks, received 36 of 55 votes to finish ahead of Boston College linebacker Luke Kuechly, the nation’s leading tackler, who had 14 votes.
Terps QB O’Brien named ACC rookie of year
GREENSBORO — Danny O’Brien has become Maryland’s first Atlantic Coast Conference rookie of the year.
The freshman quarterback on Tuesday was named the league’s overall rookie of the year as well as its top offensive newcomer following a vote of the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association. Florida State cornerback Xavier Rhodes was the ACC’s defensive rookie of the year.
O’Brien received 54 of a possible 61 votes for the overall award, while Rhodes and Wake Forest running back Josh Harris each had three votes and Clemson receiver DeAndre Hopkins received one vote. For the offensive award, O’Brien had 58 votes, Harris had two and Hopkins had one.
O’Brien, a 6-foot-3 redshirt freshman, threw 21 touchdown passes — four shy of the league record for freshmen.
He ranks third among freshmen nationally with a pass efficiency rating of 135.2 and averaged 188 yards passing. He started the season as the backup to Jamarr Robinson but took control of the job when Robinson injured his shoulder.
O’Brien is a key reason why the Terrapins finished 8-4, contended for the Atlantic Division title until the final weeks of the regular season and secured a bowl berth one year after finishing 2-10.
Maryland had been the only charter member of the ACC never to produce a rookie of the year since the conference began honoring newcomers in 1975.
Rhodes received 35 votes for the defensive award to finish ahead of Boston College linebacker Kevin Pierre-Louis, who had 21 votes, Duke linebacker Kelby Brown (4) and North Carolina defensive lineman Tim Jackson (1).
Rhodes redshirted last year and made the transition from receiver to defensive back. He leads the nation’s freshmen with 14 passes defended — 11 pass breakups, three interceptions.