Friday, November 30, 2001

The ACC hardware continued to pile up at Maryland yesterday when E.J. Henderson was named conference player of the year and the top defensive player while Bruce Perry was selected as offensive player of the year.

The announcements produced a sweep of the ACC’s major awards for the seventh-ranked Terrapins. Ralph Friedgen was tapped as coach of the year Tuesday.

“It’s Terp dominance in the league,” said Henderson, who became the first Maryland player to become league player of the year since Randy White in 1974. “It’s gone from the Terps being dominated to now we are dominating.”

Henderson, a junior linebacker, led a suffocating defense that propelled Maryland to a 10-1 record and its first ACC championship in 16 seasons. The 6-foot-2, 240-pound Henderson recorded 150 tackles, six sacks, an interception and a fumble returned for a touchdown. The Aberdeen, Md., native received 39 of 69 (57 percent) votes for league player of the year.

He was on 70 percent of the ballots among Atlantic Coast Sportswriters Association members for top defensive player, easily outdistancing North Carolina defensive end Julius Peppers. Henderson, who is deciding whether to go pro after this season, is one of three finalists for the Butkus Award, which will be awarded to the nation’s top linebacker next week.

Perry narrowly was elected top offensive player by a 22-21 vote over Clemson quarterback Woody Dantzler. Maryland quarterback Shaun Hill received 14 votes. Perry, a sophomore tailback, rushed for 1,242 yards, including a 276-yard performance against Wake Forest. The Philadelphia product was second on the team in receptions with 40 for 359 yards.

“It is something that is unexpected but really means a lot,” said Perry, who redshirted last season and won the starting job in the preseason. “As far as us as a team and how hard we work, to have a player receive that honor really means a lot.”

The 5-9, 190-pound Perry is one of three finalists for the Doak Walker Award, which goes to the nation’s top running back.

Friedgen is the odds-on favorite for national coach of the year. The Terps’ trophy-toting trio will be at the ceremonies in Orlando, Fla., next week when national awards are passed out.

“It’s just icing on the cake for the whole year,” said Henderson, who was named to the Football Writers Association of America All-America team yesterday. “To win this bowl game is like ice cream.”

The Terps will put their latest accolades behind them and begin practicing Dec. 8 for a BCS bowl likely the Orange Bowl.

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