All-Star Candidates

VIRGINIASPORTSDOTCOM
VIRGINIASPORTSDOTCOM

VIRGINIASPORTSDOTCOM

Nov. 19, 1999

The following University of Virginia football players are deserving of your attention when making your selections for the All-Atlantic Coast Conference team. They have been UVa's leading performers or are listed as leading candidates by the other eight head coaches on the All-ACC checklist. Please note that statistics include Virginia's games through November 13. Virginia has one game remaining-Maryland (Nov. 20).

OFFENSE

Thomas Jones ? Tailback ? Senior
Player of the Year candidate
Offensive Player of the Year candidate

  • The top running back in the nation
  • Leading candidate for a host of postseason honors, including the Heisman Trophy and the Doak Walker Award
  • Is having the best season by a running back in ACC history
  • Has been named ACC Offensive Back of the Week five times, almost twice as often as any other offensive player and is a compelling statistic to consider when voting for Player of the Year honors
  • That is also the most times an ACC player has won this award since at least 1989
  • Leads the nation in rushing, averaging 170.7 ypg AND all-purpose yards (195.1 ypg) despite playing one of the nation's toughest schedules that has featured games against three top-10 teams
  • Also in the top-10 nationally in scoring, total touchdowns and rushing touchdowns
  • Has rushed for a school-record 1707 yards and is 14 yards away from setting the ACC single-season record
  • It took him just nine games to break the previous UVa record (which Tiki Barber required 12 games to achieve)
  • Leads the ACC with eight 100-yard games, including four games of more than 200 yards
  • Is the first player in ACC history to have more than two 200-yard games in a season
  • The ACC career record for 200-yard games was three prior to this season-Jones now has six
  • Leads the ACC with 16 rushing touchdowns and 17 total touchdowns
  • School record 1951 all-purpose yards, 71 yards shy of the single-season ACC record
  • Rushed for 670 yards in four games (167.5 ypg) against ranked teams this season
  • Rushed for 210 yards vs. #17 BYU and scored twice. BYU was allowing just 55.0 yards rushing at the time
  • Ran for 164 yards and averaged 6.3 per carry against a Florida State team that allowed just 86.0 yards on the ground coming in. Did not play the last six minutes of the game
  • Was the first FSU opponent to top 100 yards in 24 games
  • Gained 213 yards rushing, including 165 in the second half, against Georgia Tech to propel a Virginia comeback that saw UVa topple the nation's #7 team 45-38
  • Scored twice to help lead the comeback, including once from 35 yards out on 4th-and-one
  • Scooted for a career-high 221 yards (three off school record) and three TDs in an important ACC road win over N.C. State
  • Became the first player in ACC history to have 200 yards rushing AND 100 yards receiving against Buffalo this season. Tied his career high with 221 yards on the ground and added 110 more through the air, including an 84-yard touchdown on a screen pass
  • 20 pass receptions this season are tops among ACC running backs
  • UVa's all-time leading rusher with 3907 yards
  • Bidding to become just the fourth player in ACC history with 4000 career rushing yards
  • Has started the last 33 games at tailback, the longest streak by a tailback in school history
  • Never missed so much as a practice while at Virginia
  • Perhaps even more amazing is that the graduated from UVa with a degree in psychology in just THREE years
  • Owns at least four ACC and 13 school records with one game left to add to the list
  • Is the only player in ACC history to rush for at least 200 yards in consecutive games twice

Casey Crawford ? Tight End ? Senior

  • First-Team All-ACC performer last season who was plagued by injury early in the season
  • Saw his first action of the season against Virginia Tech
  • Is an excellent blocker, which is best shown by the fact that Thomas Jones has run wild since his return
  • Also provides Virginia with an extra threat in the passing game
  • Has caught eight passes, and averages 18.1 yards per reception
  • Is coming on as the season winds down and the Cavaliers fight for a bowl berth
  • Two receptions for 44 yards vs. N.C. State in big road win. Both receptions went for a first down
  • Caught just two passes for 31 yards in upset win over Georgia Tech, but both went for first downs on drives that resulted in Virginia touchdowns

Noel LaMontagne ? Guard ? Senior

  • One of the top guards in the nation
  • All-ACC selection in 1998 who is having another fine season paving the way for record-setting tailback Thomas Jones
  • Leading vote-getter by the other eight ACC head coaches among league guards for the All-ACC checklist
  • The most versatile member of the offensive line
  • Has started every game this season, including three at left tackle, replacing an injured teammate
  • Normally is a left guard, but can play any guard or tackle spot along the line
  • Team tri-captain
  • Virginia is averaging 199.6 yards rushing per game and 204.5 yards passing per game this season
  • Consistently plays at a high level, which is important to a team that has a first-year starter at QB in Dan Ellis
  • Helps anchor a line that features two sophomores and a first-year starter this season
  • Preseason second-team All-American by Football News and first-team All-ACC by virtually every publication

John St. Clair ? Center ? Senior

  • Perhaps the top center in the nation
  • Very unheralded player, which isn't surprising because he plays center
  • Nonetheless, is highly regarded by NFL scouts
  • Leading vote-getter by the other eight ACC head coaches among league centers for the All-ACC checklist
  • Is UVa's top offensive lineman this season according to head coach George Welsh
  • Virginia is averaging 199.6 yards rushing per game and 204.5 yards passing per game this season
  • Has helped clear the way for Thomas Jones during his record-setting campaign
  • Helps anchor a line that features two sophomores and a first-year starter this season
  • Preseason first-team All-ACC by virtually every publication

DEFENSE

Maurice Anderson ? Defensive Tackle ? Senior

  • Unheralded player who is having a fabulous season
  • Has spent his career playing in the shadow of Antonio Dingle, Patrick Kerney and Todd White, but has turned in the best season of his career in 1999 despite a series of nagging injuries that would sideline other players
  • Began the year in fine fashion by leading team in tackles for the first time in his career with a career-high 10 stops vs. North Carolina
  • Turned in his second double-digit outing of the year against Duke with 10 tackles
  • Has made at least seven tackles in five games this season
  • Is the first UVa DT to have as many as two double-digit performances since Todd White had two in 1995
  • Is also the first UVa defensive tackle to lead the team in tackles in a game since White in 1994 and is the first UVa DT to lead twice in a season since at least 1989
  • Currently fourth on the team with 61 tackles (39 solo, 22 assists), far surpassing his previous career high of 31
  • Has six tackles for loss, third on the team
  • Is also third on teamwith four quarterback sacks
  • Three passes broken up lead UVa linemen
  • Exhibited surprising athleticism for such a big man by blocking two extra point kicks this season
  • His 61 tackles are the most by a UVa defensive tackle since White had 77 in 1995 Ljubomir Stamenich S defensive end S sophomore
  • Is quickly (and quietly) establishing himself as an outstanding pass rusher and run stopper
  • 43 tackles (29 solo, 14 assists) this season trail only Anderson among team's linemen
  • Second on squad with eight tackles for loss (-49 yards) and five sacks (-36 yards)
  • 12 quarterback hurries lead the team by five
  • Has caused three fumbles and recovered one
  • Had seven tackles in each of the first two games of the season (North Carolina, Clemson)
  • Had a big game vs. Brigham Young, making five tackles, including two sacks, and adding four quarterback hurries
  • Tied the school record by recovering two fumbles as Virginia scored 30 points in the third quarter of a 47-26 win over N.C. State in a big conference road win
  • Career-high eight tackles in upset win over then #7 Georgia Tech earlier this month

Shannon Taylor ? Outside Linebacker ? Senior

  • Excells at getting to the quarterback, but is very adept in pass coverage as well
  • Second on the team with 69 tackles (6.9/g), while leading the team with 12 tackles for loss and six quarterback sacks
  • Seven quarterback hurries are second on team and tops among linebackers
  • Has led the team in tackles on three occasions
  • Has had at least one tackle for loss on occasions and a sack in six games
  • 10 tackles vs. Clemson and 10 the next week vs. Wake Forest
  • Turned in eight tackles vs. Brigham Young, including two behind the line
  • That marked the third game in a row Taylor had two tackles for loss
  • Had a career-high three tackles for loss vs. top-ranked Florida State among his nine tackles
  • Only five tackles in upset win over Georgia Tech, but had crucial sack of Joe Hamilton at key point in the game

Byron Thweatt ? Outside Linebacker ? Junior

  • Third-year starter who has played this season despite being at less than top speed the whole time
  • Acts as an extra coach on the field for Virginia's inexperienced linebacking corps
  • Fifth on the team with 59 tackles (39 solo, 20 assists)
  • Has four tackles for 16 yards in losses, including one sack
  • One fumble caused and one recovered on the season
  • Intercepted one pass and broke up two others this season
  • Season-high nine stops vs. Clemson and Georgia Tech

ROOKIE OF THE YEAR CANDIDATE

Jerton Evans ? Safety ? True Freshman

  • Having an outstanding campaign and has been an impact player on the UVa defense despite being a true freshman
  • Has gotten better throughout the course of the season
  • One of two freshmen who form Virginia's safety tandem
  • Made the first start of his career in the third game of the season against Wake Forest and has remained there since (has played in every game)
  • Leads team with four interceptions, the most by a UVa true freshman in 13 years
  • Tied for sixth in the ACC in interceptions (tops among ACC rookies)
  • Bidding to become the first true freshman to lead the team in interceptions since 1991
  • 44 tackles (24 solo, 20 assists) are second among team's defensive backs (and sixth overall)
  • Intercepted first pass of his career vs. Clemson in the second game of his career
  • Intercepted BYU quarterback Kevin Feterik twice as Cavaliers upset the Cougars 45-40 in Provo, Utah
  • Made a very high, leaping grab for his first interception to set up a Thomas Jones touchdown run in the first quarter
  • Intercepted his second pass in the end zone with 1:37 left in the game to preserve Virginia's victory
  • ACC Rookie of the Week for his play in the win over nationally-ranked BYU
  • Also intercepted a pass against Florida State as he stepped in front of Peter Warrick to make the pickoff
  • Career-high 10 tackles vs. Duke
  • Broke up two passes and had four stops in big road win over N.C. State
  • Was in on seven stops in upset win over Georgia Tech
  • Eight tackles vs. Buffalo led team
  • Has also broken up two passes this season