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December 9, 2008

Harris named first-team All-ACC; seven others honored

By: Jimmy Robertson

Orion Martin has gone from walk-on to scholarship player to starter in his four-plus years at Tech.

He can add All-ACC player to that list.

Martin, a defensive end from Martinsville, Va., was one of eight Hokies to receive All-ACC recognition in voting conducted by the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association, the media group for the ACC that selects the all-conference teams. The redshirt senior earned second-team honors following a season in which he ranks fifth on the team with 53 tackles. He leads the team with 7.5 sacks and ranks third in the ACC in that category. He is second on the squad with 13 tackles for a loss, a number that ranks tied for seventh in the ACC.

“I was excited,” Martin said of his thoughts when he found out the news. “I was thankful. I’ve come along way and to finally get your name up there with all those other guys – I was happy. All that hard work has paid off.”

Tech cornerback Macho Harris earned first-team All-ACC honors – the only Hokie to be named to the first team. In addition to Martin, three other Hokies received a second-team nod, while three earned honorable mention honors.

Harris, a senior from Highland Springs, Va., made the first team for the second year in a row as a cornerback. He currently ranks tied for third in the ACC in interceptions with six, two of which he returned for touchdowns. He has 44 tackles (31 solo), including 2.5 for loss, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery. His interception total and his 13 passes defensed lead the team. Harris also returns punts and has played offense this year.

Jason Worilds, a defensive end from Cartaret, N.J., was a second-team selection, along with offensive guard Sergio Render and tailback Darren Evans. Despite playing with a bum shoulder, Worilds has 62 tackles (37 solo) and eight sacks. He leads the team with 18.5 tackles for a loss and 21 hurries. Render, a junior from Newnan, Ga., started every game at right guard for Tech this season.

Evans, a redshirt freshman from Indianapolis, finished second in the voting for the ACC’s rookie of the year behind N.C. State quarterback Russell Wilson. Evans broke Kevin Jones’ freshman rushing record at Tech, eclipsing the 1,000-yard mark for the season with his performance in the ACC championship game.

The three who earned honorable mention honors were center Ryan Shuman, left guard Nick Marshman and kicker Dustin Keys. Shuman, a redshirt senior from Fork Union, Va., has started every game and was the highest grader on Tech’s offensive line for the entire season. Marshman, a redshirt senior from Harrisonburg, Va., has started every game at left guard, and Keys, a redshirt senior from Stafford, Va., hit 21 of 26 field-goal attempts, needing just two more to break the Tech single-season record for field goals in a season.

Georgia Tech’s Paul Johnson was named the ACC’s coach of the year, while Yellow Jackets’ tailback Jonathan Dwyer was the league’s offensive player of the year and BC linebacker Mark Herzlich was the ACC defensive player of the year.

Collins goes in NBDL draft

Former Virginia Tech standout Coleman Collins was the sixth player selected in the 2008 NBA Development League Draft on Nov. 7th. The Fort Wayne Mad Ants made Collins their first selection.

Collins played in Germany last season after completing his Hokie career in 2007. He played for the Toronto Raptors’ summer league team in 2008 and was signed earlier this year by the Phoenix Suns before being released during training camp.

Collins currently ranks 32nd in career scoring at Virginia Tech with 1,144 points. He also ranks 10th in career blocked shots for the Hokies with 106.

The NBA Development League is the top minor league in professional basketball and each team is affiliated with NBA teams. The Fort Wayne Mad Ants are affiliated with the Detroit Pistons and Indiana Pacers. They began their 2008-09 season on Nov. 28 at home against the expansion Erie Bayhawks. As of Dec. 3rd, Collins had started every game and was averaging 12 points and 7.7 rebounds per game.

Tech grounds crew takes in another top honor

The Virginia Tech grounds crew won yet another honor recently when the turf on Worsham Field received the 2008 college football Field of the Year Award, as handed out by the Sports Turf Managers Association. A panel of seven judges independently scored each entry based on playability and appearance of the playing surfaces, innovative solutions employed, effective use of budget and the development and implementation of a comprehensive, sound agronomic program.

Jason Bowers, Tech’s sports turf and athletic grounds manager, oversees the crew that keeps Worsham Field in top shape.

“The Field of the Year Award validates the intense dedication of our members,” said Kim Heck, CEO of the Sports Turf Managers Association. “Each year, STMA awards no more than 13 Fields of the Year, so a very small percentage of our members are winners. Jason and his crew are very deserving of this prestigious award.”

This marks the second major award won by Bowers and his crew in the past two years. A year ago, they received the 2007 Field of Excellence Award from Pioneer Athletics, a company that specializes in painting lines and logos on playing fields.