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Dec. 13, 2004

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The University of Virginia football team honored nine of its own during the team’s annual end of the year banquet on Saturday night.

Junior linebacker Darryl Blackstock (Newport News, Va.) and sophomore linebacker Ahmad Brooks (Woodbridge, Va.) shared the Ned McDonald Award as UVa’s outstanding defensive players.

Senior guard Elton Brown (Hampton, Va.) received the Ben Wilson Award as UVa’s outstanding offensive player.

Junior wide receiver Isaiah Ekejiuba (Chestnut Ridge, N.Y.) earned the George Welsh Award as UVa’s outstanding special teams player.

Junior tackle D’Brickashaw Ferguson (Freeport, N.Y.) received the Speed Elliott Award as the the team’s Most Improved Player.

Senior nose tackle Andrew Hoffman (South Riding, Va.) was the recipient of the Colonel Frank C. McCue Award as the Cavaliers’ outstanding interior lineman.

Junior tight end Heath Miller (Swords, Creek, Va.) earned the John Polzer Award for ability, sportsmanship, and character.

Senior tailback Alvin Pearman (Charlotte, N.C.) received the Joe Palumbo Award for self-sacrifice and enthusiasm.

Freshman fullback/tight end Tom Santi (Nashville, Tenn.) received the Bill Dudley Award as UVa’s outstanding first-year player.

A second-team All-ACC honoree, Blackstock is a dynamic pass rusher who turned up his play during the season’s final month. He leads the Cavaliers with 235 career tackles and leads the ACC 0.95 sacks per game. His 11 sacks lead the nation in sacks by a linebacker, pushing his career sacks to 27, second in ACC history. Blackstock was named the ACC Defensive Back of the Week on Nov. 22 following his play in the win at Georgia Tech.

A first-team All-ACC honoree and Honorable Mention All-American as a sophomore, Brooks is one of the fastest players on the Virginia team. A finalist for the Butkus Award as the nation’s best linebacker, he is the team’s leading tackler this fall with 85 tackles. He also leads the Cavaliers with 11 quarterback hurries. The two-year starter is attempting to become the first Cavalier to lead the team in tackling his first two seasons since Charles McDaniel in 1982-83.

A first-team All-American and first-team All-ACC honoree, Brown is a two-time recipient of the Jacobs Blocking Trophy as the ACC’s most outstanding blocker. The four-year starter and team captain keys a balanced Cavalier attack that leads the ACC and ranks 12th nationally in rushing offense, averaging 241.3 yards per game. In addition, Virginia leads the ACC and ranks 25th nationally in total offense, averaging 423.6 yards per contest. Named ACC Offensive Lineman of the Week twice this season, Brown has helped the Cavaliers lead the ACC in fewest sacks allowed (15) this season as well as ranking third in scoring offense (29.9).

A walk-on, Ekejiuba is one of the team’s leading special teams players, playing on the punt, punt return, kickoff and kickoff return units. He’s made eight special teams tackles, third-best on the team. For his efforts, he was award a scholarship prior to the start of the season.

Ferguson, UVa’s first All-ACC tackle in six years, has started every game of his career (38), the longest streak by a UVa left tackle since All-American Jim Dombrowski started a record 45 straight games. He earned ACC Offensive Lineman of the Week honors on Oct. 11 following his play in the win over Clemson.

An Honorable Mention All-ACC selection, Hoffman averages a career-high 4.4 tackles per game this season and ranks second among ACC nose/defensive tackle in tackling. The nose tackle has started every game. Hoffman stands second on the team with 11 tackles for loss and third with five sacks. He recorded the first multi-sack game of his career in the final game of the regular season against Virginia Tech.

A first-team All-American and first-team All-ACC pick, Miller won the 2004 John Mackey Award as the nation’s best tight end. The All-American scored an ACC record 20 touchdowns for a tight end. Miller joins Clemson’s Bennie Cunningham as the only first-team All-America tight ends in ACC history. He leads the team in every receiving category, is ninth in the nation in yards (475) and tied for sixth in touchdowns (5) by a tight end this season. He earned ACC Offensive Lineman of the Week honors on Sept. 20 following his play in the win over Akron.

A first-team All-ACC honoree, Pearman is one of the most versatile players in the nation, playing tailback, wide receiver, and special teams for the Cavaliers this fall. He has compiled 1844 all-purpose yards, the fifth-highest in school history and 10th in ACC history. A finalist for the Dudley Award as the most outstanding player in the state of Virginia, he earned ACC Specialist of the Week honors on Sept. 7 following his play in the win over Temple. Pearman was also named ACC Player of the Week by the following the win at Duke on Oct. 25.

On of 10 true freshmen to see action this season, Santi is the only freshman to start for the offense this fall. He opened the season at tight end, getting several turns each game. Following an injury to Jason Snelling, Santi moved to fullback after the Clemson game where he blocked and caught passes. He moved into the starting line-up against Duke and Miami. Santi has 13 receptions for 155 yards.

Virginia travels to Boise, Idaho, to face Fresno State in the MPC Computers Bowl on Dec. 27.

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