Virginia Tech tailback Ryan Williams was named ACC Rookie of the Year on Tuesday, narrowly beating out Boston College linebacker Luke Kuechly for the honor. Williams was also named ACC Offensive Rookie of the Year, while Kuechly took home the defensive award.
Williams outscored Kuechly 34-29 to win the voting. For Offensive Rookie of the Year, he beat out Clemson quarterback Kyle Parker, who had four votes, and Duke wide receiver Conner Vernon, who had two votes.
Williams finished the regular season with 1,538 yards rushing, the ACC freshman record. It is also the fourth-highest total in ACC history. He needs 110 yards in the bowl game to break the single season Virginia Tech record held by Kevin Jones.
His 1,538 yards are also the eighth highest by a freshman in NCAA history. His 20 overall touchdowns is also an ACC freshman record, and his 19 rushing touchdowns ties the ACC record for any player, regardless of class. Don McCauley had 19 rushing touchdowns in 1970, and Georgia Tech’s Robert Lavette equaled that mark in 1982.
Kuechly was also a good candidate for the award. He averaged 11.83 tackles per game, which ranks second in the country. He is only a true freshman, and he has a great future with the Eagles.
However, the special season by Williams was too tough to ignore. He ranks fifth nationally in rushing yards per game, trailing only Ryan Matthews (Fresno State), Toby Gerhart (Stanford), Donald Buckram (UTEP) and Dion Lewis (Pitt).
Virginia Tech’s rushing attack will be even more formidable in 2010, with the return of Darren Evans. Evans ran for 1,265 yards in 2008. That was the ACC freshman record, until Williams broke the mark in 2009.
VT-Tennessee Matchup Rumored
Rumors are circulating about a possible matchup between Virginia Tech and Tennessee in the Chick-fil-A Bowl in Atlanta. The Outback Bowl unexpectedly selected Auburn out of the SEC, which could drop the Volunteers back to the Chick-fil-A Bowl.
Virginia Tech is still in contention for an at-large spot in the BCS. Until the BCS officially releases them from consideration, the Chick-fil-A Bowl can’t extend an invitation to the Hokies for a spot in the December 31st game.
However, it is expected that the Fiesta Bowl will select undefeated Boise State over the Hokies, matching up the Broncos against either Penn State or Iowa out of the Big Ten. If that happens, sources indicate that Tech is the first choice of the Chick-fil-A Bowl.
However, Chick-fil-A Bowl president Gary Stokan told Norm Wood of the Newport News Daily Press that no decision has been made.
“You’ve got Clemson and Georgia Tech playing in the ACC championship game, and you’ve got Virginia Tech held by the BCS, so we can’t make any official invitations until that (ACC championship) game is played and the BCS makes their decisions,” Stokan said. “I think everybody is in a holding pattern.”
There is also a chance that Tennessee could head to the Cotton Bowl, but multiple internet reports indicate that their likely destination is the Chick-fil-A Bowl against Virginia Tech. However, the Atlanta-based bowl has not extended an official invitation to either team.
Don’t look for an official announcement on Virginia Tech’s bowl destination until Sunday, after Saturday’s conference championship games have been played.