Duke’s Tomlinson, Virginia’s Brian Voted ACC Athletes of the Year

Pair honored with McKevlin and Garber Awards for performances during the 2014-15 academic year

GREENSBORO, N.C. (theACC.com) – Duke consensus All-America offensive lineman Laken Tomlinson joins Virginia women’s soccer two-time MAC Hermann Trophy winner Morgan Brian as the top male and female ACC athletes for the 2014-15 academic year, as voted upon by the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association (ACSMA).

Tomlinson, who earned the 62nd Anthony J. McKevlin Award as the conference's premier male athlete, helped lead the Blue Devils to a school-record third consecutive bowl berth and became the first Duke football student-athlete since 2000 to receive two first-team All-America honors in the same season.

Brian claimed the 25th Mary Garber Award as the conference's finest female athlete after leading Virginia to the NCAA championship game and becoming just the fourth woman to repeat as the recipient of the MAC Hermann Trophy, awarded annually to collegiate soccer’s national player of the year.

The ACC athlete of the year awards are given in memory of distinguished journalists from the region. McKevlin was a sports editor in Raleigh, North Carolina, and Garber, of the Winston-Salem (North Carolina) Journal, was a pioneer as one of the first female sports journalists in the nation.

Tomlinson, a native of Jamaica who now calls Chicago home, became Duke’s highest NFL Draft pick since 1987 when he was taken in the opening round by the Detroit Lions (No. 28 overall) on April 30. Tomlinson’s selection followed a senior collegiate season in which the 6-foot-3, 330-pound guard anchored an offensive line that led the nation in fewest tackles for loss allowed per game (3.15). 

His efforts also helped the Blue Devils lead the ACC in sacks allowed per passing attempt (36.23), and the 2014 Duke team became the first in school history to average more than 180 yards rushing and more than 210 yards passing per game.

Not only did Tomlinson help Duke to nine wins and a spot in the Hyundai Sun Bowl, he earned first-team All-ACC honors for the second consecutive season and was named to the All-ACC Football Academic Team for the fourth consecutive year. The Blue Devil team captain was the recipient of the Courage Award presented by the Football Writers Association of America in conjunction with the Orange Bowl, an award presented annually to a player, coach or support person in college football who displays courage, on or off the field.

Tomlinson was named to the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team, which recognizes community service in addition to academic and athletic achievement (one of 11 FBS selections). He finished second in the balloting for the Jacobs Blocking Trophy, an honor presented annually to the top blocker in the ACC.

Tomlinson received 10 votes from ACSMA members to lead the McKevlin Award balloting. Basketball All-American Jerian Grant of Notre Dame placed second with eight votes, while Florida State football and track & field standout Jalen Ramsey was third with seven, and NC State wrestling national champion Nick Gwiazdowski held fourth place in the voting with five votes.

Tomlinson becomes the 13th Blue Devil to receive the honor, joining Joel Shankle (1954), Dave Sime (1956), Mike McGee (1960), Art Heyman (1963), Jeff Mullins (1964), Danny Ferry (1988-89), Clarkston Hines (1990), Christian Laettner (1991-92), Elton Brand (1999), Shane Battier (2001), J.J. Redick (2006) and Ned Crotty (2010).

Virginia’s Brian put up stellar numbers while joining elite company as just the fourth repeat recipient of the women’s MAC Hermann Trophy. The St. Simons Island, Georgia native tallied 10 goals and 14 assists during her senior season as she led the Cavaliers to their second consecutive NCAA College Cup, where they advanced to the championship game for the first time in school history. 

Brian accomplished those feats in addition to being the only active collegiate player on the United States Women’s National Team for World Cup Qualifying. Brian was a three-time NSCAA First-Team All-American and four-time first-team All-ACC selection. She was also a three-time ACC All-Academic Team selection. With 41 career goals and 43 career assists, Brian is the first Cavalier to be a member of the 40-40 club and ranks second in school history with 125 career points. 
Currently competing at the FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada, Brian has made 31 appearances for the United States Women's National Team, scoring four goals. She has started nine games for the Americans in 2015, including making her first World Cup start against Sweden on June 12.

Brian was the overall No. 1 selection by the Houston Dash in the 2015 National Women's Soccer League Draft and made her professional debut with the club in April. Brian received the IMP Award as UVa’s top student-athlete for the second consecutive year.

Brian led the 2015 Garber Award balloting with 13 votes. Louisville swimming national champion Kelsi Worrell placed second with seven, followed by Florida State soccer standout Dagny Brynjarsdóttir with five and North Carolina tennis national champion Jamie Loeb with four.

Brian becomes the second Virginia student-athlete to receive the Garber Award, and the first since basketball All-American Dawn Staley earned the honor in back-to-back years in 1991 and 1992.