- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 27, 2002

Maryland linebacker E.J. Henderson will repeat as the ACC's Defensive Player of the Year, Terrapins coach Ralph Friedgen said yesterday after Henderson became one of eight Terps to be named first-team All-ACC.

Henderson was the highest vote-getter among all players and was joined on the defense by cornerback Domonique Foxworth. Three seniors, tailback Chris Downs, center Todd Wike and tackle Matt Crawford, made the first-team offense.

The Terps also had a first-team sweep among specialists with punter Brooks Barnard, kicker Nick Novak and return man Steve Suter, a sophomore who set an ACC mark and matched an NCAA Division I-A record with four punt returns for touchdowns in a season.

Wike made the first team last year as a guard before changing positions, while Crawford battled injuries through his career. Downs was mainly a special teams player before getting his opportunity this season and rushing for 1,035 yards and 14 touchdowns.

"Todd Wike is a better guard than he is a center," Friedgen said. "This is the reason you have a good football team because you have guys making sacrifices for the good of the team. When they can get some recognition, I'm very proud of that.

"The fact that we can have eight people make All-ACC first-team, double of anybody in the conference including Florida State, to me that should give us some respect."

Maryland also placed three players on the second team: guard Lamar Bryant, defensive tackle Randy Starks and safety Madieu Williams. Quarterback Scott McBrien, tight end Jeff Dugan and guard C.J. Brooks received honorable mentions.

The biggest surprise selection was Virginia quarterback Matt Schaub over N.C. State's Philip Rivers, a one-time Heisman candidate who dropped to the second team. The ACC Player the Year and Offensive Player of the Year will be released later this week. The top defensive player was not announced either, but Friedgen let it slip in his news conference that Henderson won the award.

Henderson also is a candidate for the Butkus Award as the nation's top linebacker and the Nagurski Award, which goes to the nation's top defensive player.

The biggest long shot before the season was Downs, a fifth-year senior who began the season as the fourth-string tailback and didn't get a carry in the first game of the season. He filled in for Bruce Perry last season's ACC Offensive Player of the Year who was injured and needs 49 yards Saturday against Wake Forest to lead the league in rushing this season.

"Last year at this time, the only honor I was getting was scout team player of the week or something like that," Downs said. "It's a real honor and accomplishment for me."

Henderson, Wike and Barnard repeated as first-team selections. Maryland's eight first-team selections were one more than last season, when it won the league title and went to the Orange Bowl.


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