Thursday, December 9, 1999
Corey Moore Wins Lombardi
On Wednesday night, Corey Moore accepted his second major piece of hardware in the last three days, winning the prestigious Lombardi Award. The Lombardi Award goes to the top defensive lineman in college football.
Sponsored by the Rotary Club of Houston, the Lombardi Award winner is chosen by a panel of more than 300 national media members, college football coaches and past winners.
On Monday, in Charlotte, North Carolina, Corey won the Nagurski Award, which goes to the top defensive player in the country, regardless of position. It is awarded by the Charlotte Touchdown Club and the Football Writer's Association of America.
This comes on the heels of Corey being named Big East Defensive Player of the Year for the second year in a row, the Dudley Award winner, and the Football News Defensive Player of the Year.
Corey isn't the only Hokie making waves, though. Michael Vick is right behind him. Vick was named a Heisman finalist, meaning that he is one of the top five vote-getters and will attend the Heisman Trophy presentation ceremony. He was also second in the AP Player of the Year voting, behind Wisconsin's Ron Dayne, and he made the Sporting News All-American First Team.
There are other awards that have been won by the team and coaches, of course, including a clean sweep of the five major Big East awards, but they're too numerous to remember and mention here.
This is getting embarrassing. I think we were all so busy concentrating on the Hokies' season that we didn't really stop to consider what awards the players might win. Certainly, Corey has been mentioned in connection with the Lombardi Award for most of the year, and let's be honest, Corey punched that ticket with his dominating Thursday night performance against Clemson early in the season. Sure, he backed it up by playing great all year long and accumulating a Big East-record 17 sacks, but the fact is, his assault on the awards was launched that night.
(One more time: I'm a huge believer in Thursday night ESPN games as a publicity tool for your program, players, and fans. Tech is one of the few high-caliber football schools that will play a Thursday night game on ESPN, and I hope the Hokies never quit.)
But what has totally caught me and most Hokie fans off guard is the accolades Vick is receiving. As I watched his season unfold, and as I shook my head in wonder at the things he was doing on the field, I never once stopped to think that other people would be so impressed that they would vote Vick #2 for AP Player of the Year. Think about it: that's for every single one of the thousands and thousands of players who play Division 1-A football, and Vick finished second.
What if Ron Dayne had left school a year early and had not come back this year? What if?
And Vick is also one of the Top 5 Heisman vote getters, purely without the benefit of any preseason (or even in-season) hype, with the exception of Corey Moore stating that Vick would win the Heisman. Vick is living proof that you don't need to be promoted by your Sports Information Department or football coach in order to be a Heisman contender.
As a matter of fact, I think that any money that Tech Sports Information Director Dave Smith spends next year on hyping Vick for the Heisman is wasted money. He can sit back and let the media do the job for him.
Impressive performances on national TV, and good word-of-mouth from guys like Kirk Herbstreit, who saw Vick play in person, are all it takes. Vick had a weekly showcase on ESPN, and he made the most of it.
Take a bow, Corey and Mike. You made your mark where it should be made -- on the field.
Let the hype begin: EA Sports is running commercials for their NCAA 2000 video game that feature clip after clip after clip of a simulated Sugar Bowl between Florida State and Virginia Tech. EA Sports boasts in the commercial that they're the only video game with rights to the Sugar Bowl (meaning names, logos, etc.). The one thing in the commercial that is inexplicable is the brief appearance of Nebraska in the clips that are shown. The kicker? "Tech Triumph" is playing in the background of the commercial. It's enough to make you shake your head in disbelief.
Saturday Celebration Rally in Blacksburg: (press release) The Town of Blacksburg is pleased to join the Virginia Tech Alumni Association and the Virginia Tech Department of Athletics in honoring the 1999 Virginia Tech Football Team and Big East Coach of the Year Frank Beamer for their perfect season and shot at the national championship in the Nokia Sugar Bowl. A celebration rally is planned for Saturday, Dec. 11 at 5:00 on Henderson Lawn (on College Avenue in Downtown Blacksburg). The rally will follow the Virginia Tech Mens Basketball game vs. Liberty University (2:00 p.m. tip-off). Speakers will include Mayor Roger Hedgepeth, Dr. Paul Torgersen, Director of Athletics Jim Weaver, Student Government Association President Aaron McClung, and members of the Virginia Tech Football Team. Greg Roberts will serve as Master of Ceremonies. The Virginia Tech Cheerleaders, HighTechs and Highty-Tighties will also perform.
Unabashed Plugs: don't forget that TechLocker.com is open for your Hokie Christmas shopping season. The staff at TechLocker.com has added some great new items in the last two days, including Sugar Bowl T-shirts and sweatshirts, as well as a ton of glassware, watches, pewter, and some snazzy Gold Medallion gift items. Head over to TechLocker.com and take a look!
Also, I urge you to take a look at an interesting book called Cathedrals of College football that tells the stories of 25 of the top college football stadiums in the country, including our beloved Lane Stadium. Why do I mention the book here on HokieCentral? Well (blush), someone we know and love is quoted pretty often in the Virginia Tech chapter. No, not Jim Weaver or Frank Beamer -- me!