Virginia Off-Season Notebook

The Virginia Cavilers have always been one of the Seminole's toughest ACC opponents. This year on October 15th, Florida State will have to travel to Charlottesville. Check out the latest notes on their off-season.

University of Virginia senior tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson is one of 36 candidates for the 2005 Outland Trophy, which has been awarded to the best interior offensive or defensive lineman in college football since 1946. The winner is selected by the FWAA's All-America Committee, which selects the association's 25-man team and picks three Outland Trophy finalists.

The 2005 Outland Trophy announcement will be on Dec. 8 in Orlando, Fla., on the ESPN Home Depot College Football Awards Show. The Outland Trophy presentation banquet, sponsored by the Greater Omaha Sports Committee and First Data Corporation, is set for Jan. 12, 2006, in Omaha, Neb.

Oklahoma offensive tackle Jammal Brown won the 2004 Outland Trophy. Former Outland winner Ron Yary from USC (1967), will make the announcement of the 2005 winner in Orlando. Additional Outland Trophy candidates may be added during the course of the season. Tackles, guards, and centers are eligible for consideration.

A first-team All-ACC honoree, Ferguson is a three-year starter for the Cavaliers. Named the ACC Offensive Lineman of the Week following UVa's win over Clemson, the left tackle has started every game of his career. He helped the Cavaliers lead the ACC in rushing offense, total offense, first downs, and fewest sacks allowed. Ferguson earned the team's Speed Elliott Award as UVa's Most Improved Player.

Linebacker Ahmad Brooks has been named one of 50 preseason candidates for the 2005 Bronko Nagurski Trophy, which is awarded to the best defensive player in college football, has been a staple of the FWAA's awards since 1993. It is sponsored by the Charlotte Touchdown Club, which has held the annual awards banquet since 1995.

The 2005 banquet is set for Dec. 5 at the Westin Hotel in Charlotte, where five finalists will vie for the prize. Texas linebacker Derrick Johnson won the 2004 Bronko Nagurski Trophy.

The FWAA All-America Committee selects the Bronko Nagurski winner from the association's 11-man All-America defensive team in late November. Players may be added from the Bronko Nagurski Watch List during the course of the 2005 season.

For the fifth straight season, the FWAA will select Bronko Nagurski National Defensive Players of the Week, beginning with games the week of Sept. 3 and running through the middle of November. Each national player of the week will be added to the trophy's watch list throughout the season.

A first-team All-American and first-team All-ACC honoree last season as a sophomore, Brooks led the team in tackles and quarterback pressures during his second season as a starter. Named the Defensive Back/Linebacker of the Year by the Touchdown Club of Richmond, Brooks was one of three finalists for the prestigious Butkus Award as the nation's best linebacker. He earned the team's Ned McDonald Award as UVa's outstanding defensive player


In the preseason poll, Virginia placed third in the Coastal Division. The Cavaliers received 356 points in the preseason poll and had one first-place vote in the Coastal Division. Virginia Tech was tabbed as the preseason favorite in the division, followed by Miami, Virginia, Georgia Tech, North Carolina, and Duke. Florida State is the preseason favorite in the Atlantic Division, followed by ACC newcomer Boston College, NC State, Clemson, Maryland, and Wake Forest.

Three Virginia football players were named to the 2005 Preseason All-ACC Team by members of the media, the Conference announced at its annual media kickoff.

Named to the All-ACC Team were senior tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson, senior placekicker Connor Hughes, and junior linebacker Ahmad Brooks.

Ferguson, UVa's first All-ACC tackle in six years, has started every game of his career (39), the longest streak by a UVa left tackle since All-American Jim Dombrowski started a record 45 straight games. He earned first-team All-ACC honors last season. Considered by many as the top offensive lineman in the country, Ferguson is a candidate for the Outland Trophy.

A preseason All-American, Hughes is one of the top returning kickers in the country. He stands second in school history in field goals made (45) and field goal percentage (.818) and fourth in points (233). For the third consecutive season, Hughes is a leading candidate for the Lou Groza Award as the nation's best kicker.

Brooks is one of the fastest players on the Virginia team. A finalist for the 2004 Butkus Award as the nation's best linebacker, he was the team's leading tackler last fall with 90 tackles. The first-team All-ACC honoree also led the Cavaliers with 11 quarterback hurries. The two-year starter became the first Cavalier to lead the team in tackling his first two seasons since Charles McDaniel in 1982-83.

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