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December 11, 2012

News & Notes

By: Jimmy Robertson

Three Hokies earn All-ACC recognition

James Gayle, Jack Tyler and Antone Exum all earned All-ACC honors after the regular season in voting conducted by the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association, a group of media members who cover ACC sports.

All three Tech players received a spot on the All-ACC second team. Gayle earned second-team honors for the second straight year, while Exum made the team for the first time after being an honorable mention selection a year ago. This is Tyler’s first conference honor.

Gayle, a redshirt junior from Hampton, Va., has started 11 games, recording 40 tackles, including 10 for loss and five sacks. He is second on the team in both tackles for a loss and sacks, and he is 10th in the ACC in tackles for a loss and 13th in sacks.

Tyler, a redshirt junior from Oakton, Va., is the team’s leader in tackles with 112. Included in that total are 11 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks. His 112 tackles rank fourth in the ACC, while his 11 tackles for a loss lead the team and rank eighth in the conference.

Exum, a redshirt junior from Glen Allen, Va., leads the ACC in pass breakups with 15 and is tied for third with four interceptions. He also has 47 tackles, including 1.5 for loss, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery.

Four other Hokies earned honorable mention honors – cornerback Kyle Fuller, defensive tackles Antoine Hopkins and Derrick Hopkins and linebacker Bruce Taylor.

Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd received the league’s offensive player of the year honor, while FSU Bjorn Werner won the league’s defensive player of the year honor. Duke head coach David Cutcliffe was named the ACC’s coach of the year after guiding the Blue Devils to a 6-6 mark. Miami tailback Duke Johnson was the league’s offensive rookie of the year and FSU cornerback Ronald Darby was the league’s defensive rookie of the year.

Prioleau named an ACC Legend

Former Virginia Tech rover Pierson Prioleau was chosen to serve as the Tech representative at the ACC’s Night of Legends held Nov. 30 at the Charlotte Convention Center in Charlotte, N.C.

Prioleau was one of the leaders of the great Hokie defenses of the mid-to-late 1990s. He lettered four times for coach Frank Beamer, helping Tech to a 26-12 four-year record that included four consecutive bowl games. A three-year starter, he totaled 237 career tackles and had two kick returns for touchdowns.

Prioleau, who today lives in Radford, Va., earned first-team All-Big East in 1997 and third-team All-America honors (The Sporting News) that year. As a senior, he led a defense that finished first in the Big East in scoring defense, allowing just 12.9 points per game.

A fourth-round selection of the San Francisco 49ers in the 1999 NFL Draft, Prioleau played 12 seasons in the National Football League for San Francisco, Buffalo, Washington, Jacksonville and New Orleans. He was a member of the Saints championship team in Super Bowl XLIV.

Baarendse earns third-team All-ACC honors

Tech volleyball player Cara Baarendse earned a spot on the All-ACC third team according to a vote of the league’s head coaches. Baarendse, a senior from Mason, Ohio, earned a spot on the team for the third straight year, and she was on the ACC’s all-freshman team following her freshman season.

Baarendse recorded 244 kills this season, averaging 2.18 kills per set while tallying a .350 attack percentage. She posted 25 aces, 169 digs and 83 blocks. She recorded double-digit kills 10 times this season. In addition, Baarendse eclipsed the 1,000-kill milestone and finished with 1,236 for her career.

Thomas named ACC coach of the year

Virginia Tech cross country coach Ben Thomas was named the ACC’s men’s cross country coach of the year after a season in which he guided the Hokies to their first ACC men’s title. Keyed by Will Mulherin’s individual championship, Tech placed three runners in the top seven and five in the top 22 to edge in-state rival Virginia by six points (55 to 61) for the team championship.

Thomas has been Tech’s cross country coach since 2001. This is his first coach of the year honor since arriving in Blacksburg.