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Dec. 1, 2006

Charlottesville, Va. – Defensive end Chris Long is one of three finalists for the Dudley Award given annually to the player of the year at state Division I-A and I-AA schools. Joining Long as finalists are Virginia Tech linebacker Vince Hall and James Madison University linebacker Akeem Jordan.

Junior running back Ra’Shad Morgan of the University of Virginia-Wise and junior defensive back Mark Snoddy of Washington and Lee are finalists for the Division II/III/NAIA award that goes to the player of the year in those divisions.

The award, sponsored by the Richmond Times-Dispatch, is named for former UVa star and Hall of Famer “Bullet” Bill Dudley, who starred for the Cavaliers from 1939-41 before going on to a successful NFL career.

Long had a breakout season this fall, proving to be one of the leaders of a very tough Cavalier defense. He finished fourth among ACC defensive linemen in tackling with an average of 4.8 tackles per game. His 57 tackles are a career high. He led the Cavaliers with 12 tackles for loss and 21 quarterback pressures, while also finishing with five sacks. Virginia improved from 60th in the country in total defense last season to 20th this year. The Cavaliers allowed an average of 289.5 yards per game this season, the fewest yards allowed since 1979.

The awards will be presented Wednesday night at a banquet at the Sheraton Richmond West hotel in Richmond. The event starts at 6:30 p.m. with a social hour, followed by dinner at 7:30 and the awards presentation. Tickets are $40 and available by calling (804) 741-1144 or e-mailing

Each football-playing school in the state nominates one player for the awards. A panel of 15 sportswriters and broadcasters throughout the state votes for three players in each division, with points awarded on a 5-3-1 basis. The top three become Dudley finalists, the top two become Division II/III/NAIA finalists. There is no second round of voting.

Virginia Tech has dominated the winners recently, winning six of the last seven awards. Wide receiver Billy McMullen is the most recent Cavalier to win the award; he was the 2001 recipient. Other Cavaliers to be Dudley Award winners include: Shawn Moore (1990), Matt Blundin (1991), Mike Frederick (1994), Tiki Barber (1996) and Anthony Poindexter (1997).

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