Awards Given at Annual Football Banquet
Dec. 2, 2001
Charlottesville, Va. – First-team All-ACC wide receiver Billy McMullen was named the Outstanding Offensive Player, while second-team All-ACC linebacker Angelo Crowell and senior nose tackle Monsanto Pope were tabbed the Outstanding Defensive Player at the University of Virginia’s Annual Football Banquet on Sunday (Dec. 2).
Several other awards were presented at the banquet. Defensive end Darryl Sanders received the Colonel Frank C. McCue Award as the team’s Outstanding Interior Lineman, tailback Antwoine Womack received the Joe Palumbo Award for self-sacrifice, dedication and enthusiasm, linebacker Earl Sims received the John Polzer Award for ability, sportsmanship and character, linebacker John Duckett received the Speed Elliott Award as UVa’s Most Improved Player, and defensive back Alex Seals received the George Welsh Special Teams Award as the team’s outstanding special teams player. Tailback Alvin Pearman won the Bill Dudley Award as the team’s Most Outstanding First-year Player.
McMullen received the Ben Wilson Award as the team’s Outstanding Offensive Player. The junior from Richmond, Va., led the Atlantic Coast Conference in every receiving category. He set a school record with 83 receptions for 1060 yards and 12 touchdowns. Named a third-team All-American by Football News, he is UVa’s first All-American receiver since Herman Moore in 1990. McMullen holds the school record with 141 career receptions.
Crowell and Pope were honored for their play this fall with the Ned McDonald Award as the team’s Outstanding Defensive Players. Crowell, a junior from Winston-Salem, N.C., set a school record with 143 tackles and finished among the leading tacklers in the ACC this season. He also led the team with 10 tackles for lost yardage and was third with four quarterback sacks. The team’s defensive captain this season, Pope was in on a career-high 98 tackles, tying the school record for most tackles by a defensive lineman. He tied for the team lead with five sacks and finished second with nine tackles behind the line.
Sanders, a senior from Callaway, Md., was presented the Colonel Frank C. McCue Award as the team’s Outstanding Interior Lineman. He made 74 tackles this season and shared the team lead with Pope with five quarterback sacks. He finishes his career with 10 sacks.
Womack, a senior from Hampton, Va., won the Joe Palumbo Award for self-sacrifice, dedication and enthusiasm. He was injured early in the season’s first game, but returned for the final four games to give a spark to the Cavalier offense the last month of the season. He completed his career with a gritty 153-yard rushing performance in the win over Penn State in the season finale. Despite missing most of the season he was the team’s third-leading rusher with 263 yards. He completes his career with 2207 yards rushing, 10th in school history.
Sims, a senior from Miami, Fla., battled back from two injury-plagued seasons to have the finest campaign of his career. He started seven games at inside linebacker this fall and made a career-high 45 tackles. His interception late in the game against Richmond helped seal head coach Al Groh’s first win at UVa.
Duckett claimed the the Speed Elliott Award as UVa’s Most Improved Player. A fifth-year player from Lexington Park, Md., he made a successful transition from fulback to linebacker this season and flourished in Groh’s 3-4 defensive alignment. He led the team in tackling three times this season and finished the year with 115 stops.
Seals played on a variety of special teams and was frequently among the first players down field in kick coverage, making nine tackles on the year.
Pearman, from Charlotte, N.C., proved to be a tremendous all-around threat in his rookie campaign was named the winner of the Bill Dudley Award as the Most Outstanding First-Year Player. He took the season’s opening kickoff back 61 yards to give a glimpse of what he could do. He led the team in rushing with 371 yards and set UVa record for most all-purpose yards by a freshman with 1167 yards. He led the team in punt returns with a 9.1-yard average and finished second on the squad in kickoff returns with a 20.5-yard average. He scored the winning touchdown in UVa’s final two wins of the season-on a hook and ladder play against Georgia Tech and on a 16-yard run vs. Penn State.
Virginia finished the regular season with a 5-7 overall record in Al Groh’s first season as head coach. The season included two wins over ranked teams-#19 Clemson and #20 Georgia Tech.