Maryland Football Places Nine on All-ACC Team
Dec. 1, 2008
GREENSBORO, N.C. - Following a regular season that saw the University of Maryland football team beat four Top 25 opponents and spend three weeks ranked in both the Associated Press and USA Today polls, nine Terrapin players have been named to the 2008 All-ACC team, the Atlantic Coast Conference Sports Media Association (ACSMA) and the Associated Press announced Monday.
Headlined by a trio of first-team All-ACC honorees in running back Da'Rel Scott, center Edwin Williams and punter Travis Baltz, the Terps tied for their most all-conference players since 2003 (also nine in 2006). The All-ACC squad was selected in voting by 67 members of ACSMA.
Boston College also placed nine players on the All-ACC squad, while Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech had eight apiece.
In addition to the three first-team selections, linebacker Alex Wujciak garnered second team All-ACC honors for Maryland (7-5, 4-4 ACC), which tied for third in the ACC's Atlantic Division. Five Terps - offensive lineman Scott Burley, tight end Dan Gronkowski, wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey, defensive lineman Jeremy Navarre and offensive lineman Jaimie Thomas - each earned honorable-mention status.
All but Heyward-Bey (second team in 2006) earned a spot on the team for the first time.
Despite being only a redshirt sophomore in his first season as a starter, Scott finished the regular season ranked second in the ACC in rushing (87.2 ypg) and sixth in all-purpose yards (102.7 ypg). His 959 rushing yards are the most by a Terp since Chris Downs had 1,154 in 2002, and ranked 10th on the Maryland single-season list. The Conshohocken, Pa., native, who also tied for the team lead with six touchdowns, represents the first Maryland running back to earn first-team honors since Downs in 2002.
A consensus preseason All-ACC nominee, Williams anchored the Terps offensive line, playing nearly every meaningful snap in extending his team-best streak of consecutive starts to 38 games. The senior received ACC Offensive Lineman of the Week honors after grading out as the top lineman in Maryland's win over North Carolina (11/25). Williams recovered a fumble to set up a touchdown in the Terps' victory over Wake Forest, and he helped open running lanes for Scott.
Baltz, a sophomore, led the conference in punting (41.4 ypp) during the regular season, placing 36 percent of his punts (19 of 53) inside the opponents' 20-yard line. Thanks in large part to Baltz, Maryland led the ACC and ranked 16th in the nation (Football Bowl Subdivision) in net punting (37.6 ypp) during the regular season. With Baltz booting punts, the Terps have extended the nation's best streak without a blocked punt to 110 games, dating back to 1999.
Seeing the first action of his career, Wujciak finished the regular season ranked second in the ACC and tied for 13th nationally (FBS) in tackles (10.1 pg). The sophomore middle linebacker tallied double-digit stops in seven of Maryland's last nine games and tied for the conference lead in tackles during ACC contests (11.9 pg). Wujciak's inclusion on the All-ACC team marks the eighth consecutive season the Terps have boasted a linebacker on either the first or second team.
Heyward-Bey served as a catalyst for the Maryland offense all season, finishing eighth in the ACC in receiving yards (51.0 ypg), while also leading the team in receptions (38) and tying for the team lead in touchdowns (six). The junior wideout accounted for three of Maryland's four longest plays of the regular season (80-yard touchdown reception, 76-yard run and 63-yard touchdown reception), and he ranked among the nation's leaders in rushing yards by a wide receiver, setting a career high with 208 yards on the ground on just 14 carries.
Enjoying a career year as a senior, Gronkowski finished the regular season ranked among the conference leaders in receptions by a tight end (3.3 pg). The 6-foot-6 product of Amherst, N.Y., finished the regular season ranked second on the team in touchdown receptions (three), tied for second in receptions (29) and third in receiving yards (287). Gronkowski caught at least one pass in 10 of Maryland's 12 games.
Navarre has provided leadership for the Terps defense throughout the 2008 campaign, finishing the regular season ranked tied for 38th in the ACC in tackles (5.2 pg) - a total that led all conference defensive linemen. The senior played both defensive tackle and defensive end, ranking third on the team in sacks (2.5) and tied for fourth in pass breakups (three). The durable Navarre has played in all 49 games over the last four years with 47 starts.
Burley and Thomas joined Williams in serving as stable forces on the Terps offense line. Burley demonstrated his versatility throughout the regular season, starting six games apiece at both tackle positions, and Thomas started all 12 games at left guard. The senior duo has started a combined 44 games during their respective careers, and was part of the unit that helped Scott finish second in the conference in rushing.
The Terps and their nine All-ACC recipients reached bowl eligibility for the sixth time in head coach Ralph Friedgen's eight seasons, and they await a decision Sunday regarding their bowl destination.
2008 ACSMA/AP All-ACC Football TeamVoted on by 67 members of the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association
NOTE: A first-team vote was worth two points and second team vote one. An asterisk denotes unanimous selection.
DEFENSE: Derrick Morgan, de, Georgia Tech (26); Willie Young, de, N.C. State (25); Vince Oghobaase, dt, Duke (40); Boo Robinson, de, Wake Forest (31); Jeremy Navarre, dt, Maryland (29); Nate Irving, lb, N.C. State (28); Paul Anderson, s, Boston College (35); Anthony Reddick, s, Miami (23).
SPECIAL TEAMS: Dustin Keys, k, Virginia Tech (25); Brandon Tate, spec., North Carolina (33); T.J. Graham, spec., N.C. State (31).