Virginia Tech's Ryan Williams Named 2009 ACC Rookie of the Year
Dec. 1, 2009
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Thanks to Ryan Williams, Virginia Tech’s rushing record for rookies didn’t last very long.
The Hokies’ record-setting running back was named Tuesday as the Atlantic Coast Conference’s Rookie of the Year after a season in which he broke Darren Evans’ 1-year-old school and conference mark for rushing yards by a freshman.
"I haven’t wrapped my brain around it yet," Williams said with a laugh.
Williams was the overwhelming choice as the ACC’s Offensive Rookie of the Year, receiving 34 votes from 40 voting members. Boston College linebacker Luke Kuechly, who had 29 votes, was named the top newcomer on defense, and no other player on either side of the ball received more than four votes.
Separate votes were held for the offensive and defensive awards, and those vote counts were combined to determine the overall award winner.
Williams became the first player from Virginia Tech to win the ACC’s award for rookies. The last Hokie to win a conference Rookie of the Year award was Kevin Jones, who was named the Big East’s top newcomer in 2001.
Not bad for someone who entered his freshman season as the third-stringer behind Evans and Josh Oglesby, but worked his way into the starting lineup before the opener against Alabama.
That came after Evans, who had a then-school record 1,265 yards as a freshman last year, was lost for the season after hurting his knee during the preseason.
The Hokies (9-3, 6-2) certainly didn’t miss a beat with Williams. He rushed for 1,538 yards – the fourth-best single-season total in ACC history – to shatter Evans’ mark, and he enters his bowl game 110 yards shy of Jones’ 6-year-old school record for players from all classes.
"I don’t really worry about records," Williams said. "I don't try to chase them. I don't try to break them. My main thing is to just help this team win. If I end up breaking records, then, cool."
Williams also wound up tying the ACC single-season record with 19 rushing touchdowns, matching North Carolina's Don McCauley's big season in 1970. His 20 overall TDs set the league's scoring record for freshmen, breaking the mark of 18 set by North Carolina State's T.A. McLendon in 2002.
And instead of wearing down, he seemed to get stronger as the season progressed. Williams had four touchdowns in each of his last two games, finishing the regular season with a season-high 183-yard performance against rival Virginia.
"I started to see a lot more holes than I probably did earlier in the year," Williams said.
2009 ACC Rookie of the Year Results as voted on the by Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association (ACSMA)
Rookie of the Year
Offensive Rookie of the Year
Defensive Rookie of the Year