Awards Given at Annual Football Banquet

VIRGINIASPORTSDOTCOM Linebacker Byron Thweatt was named UVa's Outstanding Defensive Player for the 2000 season at the team's annual awards banquet on Sunday.
VIRGINIASPORTSDOTCOM
Linebacker Byron Thweatt was named UVa's Outstanding Defensive Player for the 2000 season at the team's annual awards banquet on Sunday.
VIRGINIASPORTSDOTCOM

Dec. 3, 2000

Charlottesville, Va. - First-team All-ACC tailback Antwoine Womack was named the Outstanding Offensive Player, while second-team All-ACC linebacker Byron Thweatt was tabbed the Outstanding Defensive Player at the University of Virginia's Annual Football Banquet on Sunday (Dec. 3).

Several other awards were presented at the banquet. Defensive tackle Monsanto Pope received the Colonel Frank C. McCue Award as the team's Outstanding Interior Lineman, defensive end Darryl Sanders received the Joe Palumbo Award for self-sacrifice, dedication and enthusiasm, linebacker Yubrenal Isabelle received the John Polzer Award for ability, sportsmanship and character, center Dustin Keith received the Speed Elliott Award as UVa's Most Improved Player, and fullback John Duckett and linebacker William Clark shared the George Welsh Special Teams Award as the team's outstanding special teams players. Offensive lineman Kevin Bailey won the Bill Dudley Award as the team's Most Outstanding First-year Player.

Womack received the Ben Wilson Award as the team's Outstanding Offensive Player. The junior from Hampton, Va., returned after taking a leave of absence from the team last season to lead the ACC in rushing with 1028 yards. He also continued Virginia's procession of outstanding tailbacks over the last 15 years by becoming the third Cavalier in a row to lead the league in rushing. It is also the seventh time since 1985 that a Cavalier has led the ACC in rushing.

Thweatt was honored for his play this season with the Ned McDonald Award as the team's Outstanding Defensive Player. The senior from Chesterfield, Va., was a second-team All-ACC choice for the second year in a row this fall. He finished second on the team in tackles with a career-high 125 stops this season, almost double his output from a year ago when he played injured for most of the season. The school record-holder for most starts by a linebacker with 46, Thweatt is third in school history with 387 career tackles.

Pope overcame an injury-plagued fall last season to become one of the team's defensive stalwarts and received the Colonel Frank C. McCue Award as the team's Outstanding Interior Lineman. A junior from Hopewell, Va., Pope started all 11 games during the regular season and finished with a career-high 33 tackles. He led the team's defensive tackles in tackles and led the team in quarterback hurries.

Sanders, a junior from Callaway, Md., won the Joe Palumbo Award for self-sacrifice, dedication and enthusiasm. He returned to the team after not playing last season due to personal reasons to help bolster the defense and finished with 42 tackles.

Isabelle, a senior co-captain from Bluefield, W.Va., led the team with 128 tackles this season and was named the recipient of the John Polzer Award for ability, sportsmanship and character. His 128 tackles this season are fourth-most in school history. He reached double figures in eight games, the most on the team and finished the season strongly with at least 14 tackles in each of the last four games, making 64 tackles (16 vs. UNC, 17 vs. GaT, 17 vs. NCSU, 14 vs. VPI).

Keith claimed the the Speed Elliott Award as UVa's Most Improved Player. A fifth-year player from Yorktown, Va., Keith played a variety of positions along the offensive and defensive lines throughout his career. He moved to center late during last spring's practice period and proved to be an outstanding addition to the offensive line that helped pave the way for Womack to lead the ACC in rushing.

Duckett and Clark shared the first George Welsh Special Teams Award. Duckett, a junior from Lexington Park, Md., led the team with eight special teams tackles. Clark, a junior from Perth Amboy, N.J., finished with seven special teams among his 45 stops.

Bailey, a redshirt freshman from Lexington, Ky, played a variety of positions along the offensive line this season and was named the winner of the Bill Dudley Award as the Most Outstanding First-Year Player. He played in eight games this fall and missing three games in the middle of the season with an injury. He started against North Carolina at right tackle, but also played guard and left tackle this season.

Virginia finished the regular season with a 6-5 overall record, including a 5-3 mark in the ACC. The Cavaliers have received a bid to play in a postseason bowl in Hawaii during the Christmas holiday season, but their opponent and bowl aren't expected to be announced until later this week.