QB — Woodrow Dantzler, Clemson — The Tigers senior ran for 1,004 yards
in 2001 and passed for 2,360 to become the first player in NCAA
history to rush for over 1,000 yards and pass for over 2,000 in a
RB — Leonard Henry, East Carolina — Finished his college career by
rushing for 1,432 yards, a Conference USA single-season record. Henry
rushed for 16 touchdowns with two scoring catches. He averaged 7.8
yards per rush.
RB — Tarence Williams, Wake Forest — The junior from Wilmington
Laney averaged 101.8 yards rushing per game with 10 touchdowns. Missed
the Virginia game with an ankle injury but totaled 1,018 yards rushing
for the season.
OL — Brian Rimpf, East Carolina — Made first-team All-Conference
USA as a sophomore. Showed his ability to drive block against UNC’s
much-heralded Julius Peppers when Henry ran for 108 yards and Peppers
made just two tackles.
OL — Melvin Paige, South Carolina — Part of a beefy Gamecocks front
that helped an 8-3 team run for 2,053 yards while allowing just 11
sacks. A second team All-Southeastern Conference selection.
OL — Shane Hall, South Carolina — A 6-foot-6, 305-pound junior from
Indian Mills, NJ, Hall made second-team All-SEC in helping the
Gamecocks average 5.4 yards per play.
OL — Michael Collins, Wake Forest — After dropping weight in the
off-season at the request of new coach Jim Grobe, the first team
All-ACC choice helped Wake lead the league in rushing with an average
of 221.6 yards per game.
OL — Kyle Young, Clemson — A road grader for Dantzler, he had a
school-record 140 knockdown blocks this season. Won the ACC’s Tatum
Award that goes to the top student-football player. One of 24
finalists for the Outland Trophy.
TE — Mike Hart, Duke — Had at least one catch in 22 straight games
for the Blue Devils but missed the season finale at Clemson after
injuring an ankle in the second quarter at UNC. First-team All-ACC.
WR — Sam Aiken, North Carolina — Had 46 catches for 789 yards and
eight touchdowns. Recovered ECU’s onside kick attempt at the end of
the Pirates’ 24-21 loss in Chapel Hill.
WR — Bryan Peterson, N.C. State — A high school teammate of Leonard
Henry’s at Clinton, Peterson had 48 catches for 657 yards and two
DL — Julius Peppers, North Carolina — Had nine sacks his senior
season, second in the ACC, and was a unanimous first-team All-ACC
choice. National honors include the Lombardi and Bednarik awards.
Tenth in the Heisman voting.
DL — Ryan Sims, North Carolina — A first-team All-ACC choice, Sims
had the ability to collapse the pocket from the interior with his pass
DL — Corey Smith, N.C. State — Was third in the ACC in sacks with
seven and led the league in fumbles forced with six. Made second-team
DL — Nate Bolling, Wake Forest — A second-team All-ACC choice,
Bolling had 21 tackles for loss, second in the league. The Deacons
senior had 44 solo stops, 29 assists and five sacks.
LB — Pernell Griffin, East Carolina — Had 72 unassisted tackles, 81
assists and eight tackles for loss as he led the team in tackles for
the third straight year. His 460 career tackles are a Conference USA
record. First team All C-USA.
LB — Kalimba Edwards, South Carolina — Anchored a defense that
allowed just 18.4 points per game. Was unanimous first-team All-SEC as
he repeated on that unit. Had 35 solo tackles and 4.5 tackles for
LB — Levar Fisher, N.C. State — The Wolfpack’s career tackling
leader had 79 solo stops and 69 assists for an average of 13.5 tackles
per game, second in the ACC. First team All-ACC.
DB — Terrence Holt, N.C. State — The brother of former State star
Tory Holt averaged 9.5 tackles during his junior season for the
Wolfpack and stood out as a kick blocker on special teams.
DB — Sheldon Brown, South Carolina — A first-team All-SEC choice,
the senior had 29 solo stops, 12 assists and made two interceptions
for a unit that allowed just 326.5 yards per game.
DB — Andre Goodman, South Carolina — Made second-team All-SEC as a
senior when he had 26 solo tackles, four assists and three
DB — Michael Waddell, North Carolina — Credited with 13 pass
break-ups during a junior season in which he made second-team All-ACC.
ALL-CAROLINAS SPECIAL TEAMS
K — Kevin Miller, East Carolina — Gave up competitive golf for
football and made 14 of 17 field goal attempts, hitting from 43 yards
twice as he gave the Pirates much-improved efficiency in the red zone.
Second-team All C-USA.
P — Jarad Preston, East Carolina — Transferred from Eastern Arizona
Junior College and consistently enhanced ECU’s field position with a
RS — Derrick Hamilton, Clemson — Just a freshman, Hamilton led the
ACC in kickoff return average with 31.7 yards, once going all the way.
CAROLINAS PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Leonard Henry, East Carolina
Henry bided his time for much of his career at East Carolina behind
Jamie Wilson but emerged as a senior behind a strong offensive line to
lead Conference USA in rushing at 130.2 yards per game. Henry ran for
a C-USA season record of 1,432 yards, which moved him all the way up
to second place on the ECU career list with 3,089 yards.
“It was difficult at times to play behind Jamie,” Henry said.
“Especially when the team might not be moving the ball and I would be
thinking that I might be able to go in and help the team.”
Henry broke the C-USA record for career touchdowns with 29. His 18
touchdowns, 16 rushing and two receiving, are an ECU season record. So
is his season point total this year of 108.
The Clinton product didn’t speak to the media for much of his last
two seasons on the college level but explained following his last
college game at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium.
“I didn’t talk to the media because as hard as my offensive line
worked for me, I wanted to run just as hard for them. I didn’t want
Henry knew his performance was a function of teamwork — the
defense’s respect for the passing of David Garrard, a solid offensive
line and quality downfield blocking by the receivers.
Henry proved well-spoken when he finally did interact with media.
Asked how it felt to have built the program at ECU, Henry corrected
the media member who posed the question.
“I didn’t build it,” Henry said. “I helped build it.”
CAROLINAS COACH OF THE YEAR
Jim Grobe, Wake Forest
Athletic director Ron Wellman liked the rebuilding job Grobe did at
Ohio under difficult circumstances when he brought him to Wake Forest,
traditionally an outpost of football futility.
Mike Hamrick, ECU’s athletic director, played at Marshall for Grobe
when Grobe was an assistant coach there. Hamrick knew Wake’s future
was in good hands and so did Pirates coach Steve Logan, who had
opposed Grobe twice in Pirates wins over the Bobcats.
Using talent recruited by his predecessor, Jim Caldwell, Grobe and
a staff that came virtually intact from Ohio, Wake was
competitive in all but one game, a 48-24 loss at Florida State. The
Deacons finished 6-5 with the other four losses by a touchdown or
less, a drastic improvement from a 2-9 performance in 2000 in which
the Deacons were routinely blown out.
Wins over East Carolina, Appalachian State, Virginia and North
Carolina gave Deacons fans something to cheer about other than
Wake became the first ACC team to win in Greenville. The Deacons
closed their series with the pesky Division I-AA Mountaineers on an up
note. Wake got its first win at Virginia since 1981; its first win
over the Cavaliers since 1983.
The Deacs came back from a 24-0 halftime deficit in Chapel Hill for
an emotionally-charged 32-31 victory.
“If we’ve found out one thing about our kids, it’s that they don’t
quit,” Grobe said after the triumph at UNC. If we’ve found out one
thing about Jim Grobe, it’s that he can coach.