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Dec. 5, 2001


AP Sports Writer

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) – Billy McMullen, a junior who broke Virginia’s record for receptions in a season with 83 and moved within range of every Cavaliers career receiving record, won the 2001 Dudley Award on Tuesday night.

The award, given annually to the state’s top college football player, is named for former Virginia tailback Bill Dudley. It is sponsored by The Downtown Club, and the winner is chosen in balloting by 15 sports writers and broadcasters.

McMullen, who declined all season to boast of his accomplishments, said receiving the award does that for him.

“It says a lot. It says I’m the best player in Virginia right now. I’ve worked hard to get here, and my teammates have helped me.”

He also reiterated his pledge to return to Virginia for his senior season.

“I just want to be part of something big, a winning team, an ACC championship.”

McMullen, a Richmond native, led the Atlantic Coast Conference in receiving and easily broke Herman Moore’s school record of 54 receptions in a season. He also passed John Ford’s career mark of 128 catches, ending the season with 141.

The 6-foot-4, 205-pound McMullen caught 12 touchdown passes and had 1,060 receiving yards, both the second-highest single-season totals in school history. He came within five catches of the ACC’s mark of 88 receptions in a season.

“He really is the best of young men – as a competitor, as a person, as a teammate and as a producer,” Virginia head coach Al Groh said.

“He’s a star, but he’s the ultimate team player.”

McMullen received 13 first-place votes to beat out Virginia Tech linebacker Ben Taylor, who was second, and William & Mary quarterback David Corley, who was third. Taylor got one first-place vote, as did Bridgewater running back Davon Cruz, who was fourth. James Madison linebacker Derrick Lloyd was fifth.

Taylor, of Bellaire, Ohio, led the No. 15 Hokies with 121 tackes during the regular season. He had 18 tackles behind the line, including 4 sacks.

Corley, of Columbia, S.C., is a three-year starter on pace to assume many of the Tribe’s career passing and total offense marks. He threw for 2,808 yards and 21 touchdowns this season, leading William & Mary into the Division I-AA playoffs.

The Tribe lost 40-27 at Appalachian State in the first round on Saturday.

McMullen is the first Virginia player to receive the Dudley since Anthony Poindexter in 1997, and the sixth since Shawn Moore won the first in 1990.

Virginia Tech has won three times, including the last two with Corey Moore and Lee Suggs, and Emory & Henry and Richmond players have each won once.

McMullen and Suggs will have an oportunity next year to become the first repeat Dudley winner.

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