Miami Earns Four BIG EAST Football Awards
Nov. 30, 2000
Providence, R.I. – Fresh off its first outright BIG EAST Championship since 1994, Miami has earned accolades in four of five conference individual awards, the league announced. Seniors Santana Moss (Offensive and Special Teams Player of the Year) and Dan Morgan (Defensive Player of the Year) were recognized, while head coach Butch Davis was named BIG EAST
Coach of the Year. It is the second time in league history (1991) the Hurricanes have captured four individual awards. Pittsburgh’s Antonio Bryant and Lee Suggs of Virginia Tech also shared offensive honors, while West Virginia’s Grant Wiley was named BIG EAST Rookie of the Year.
The All-BIG EAST First and Second Teams were also announced. All selections are made by the league’s head coaches, who are not permitted to vote for their own players.
Moss becomes the first player in BIG EAST history to win Offensive and Special Teams Player of the Year. The senior wideout was second in the BIG EAST and is fourth nationally in punt returns with an 18.2-yard average. He set conference season (655) and career (1,196) records for total punt return yards. He had four punt returns for touchdowns this year, tying a NCAA and BIG EAST record. Moss is second in the league in all-purpose yards (145.8 ypg) and third in receiving (68.0).
Bryant leads the nation in receiving with a 130.2-yard average, which is also a BIG EAST record. The sophomore also set a league mark with 1,302 receiving yards for the season. He pulled in 68 receptions and 11 touchdowns, with the scoring catch total the second-best in league history. Bryant is one of three finalists for the Biletnikoff Award, given annually to the nation’s top receiver. He is the second Panther (Billy West, 1994) to garner BIG EAST Offensive Player of the Year.
Suggs is the second straight Virginia Tech player to earn offensive accolades and third in BIG EAST history. The sophomore running back led the BIG EAST with 1,207 rushing yards. He scored 27 touchdowns on the ground and 28 overall, both BIG EAST and Virginia Tech season records. He
topped the conference record for rushing scores by eight. Suggs was 18th nationally in rushing (109.7) and placed fifth in the league in all-purpose yardage (119.5). He had six 100-yard rushing games this year.
Morgan established a BIG EAST career record for tackles, finishing with 532 (309 solo) during his four-year stint with the Hurricanes. The senior linebacker led the conference with 138 stops this year, including 92 solo. He made 12.5 tackles per game and has been among the national leaders all season. Morgan also had 15 tackles for loss and five sacks. A two-time All-BIG EAST First Team honoree, he is the first UM player to record 100 tackles or more in four different seasons.
Wiley established himself as one of the hardest hitters on the WVU defense in his first season. The freshman linebacker was fourth on the team with 90 tackles, recording 8.2 per game. He was ninth among BIG EAST linebackers and was one of 12 league players to record 90 or more stops. He also put his name in the NCAA record book, becoming the ninth linebacker in history to return two interceptions for touchdowns in a season. The scores tied a BIG EAST record for all players held by four others.
Davis guided Miami to its fifth BIG EAST title and a No. 2 national ranking with a 10-1 record. The Hurricanes finished 7-0 in conference play, the second time since round-robin play began in 1993 they have gone unbeaten. UM leads the BIG EAST in 10 different statistical categories. The ‘Canes are also among the national leaders, ranking second in scoring (42.6) and interceptions (23) and sixth in scoring defense (15.5). It is the first BIG EAST Coach of the Year award for Davis.
The All-BIG EAST selections included just one player (Moss) who repeated on the first team from last season. Eight players moved up from second team to first team, with four repeat honorees on the second team. Four players were unanimous picks on the first team – Suggs, Morgan and defensive linemen Damione Lewis (Miami) and Dwight Freeney (Syracuse). The Hurricanes had 15 players on the first and second teams, tying (Virginia Tech, 1999) for the most selections in league history. The BIG EAST became the fourth Division I conference (Big West ’98, WAC ’96, Big Ten ’90) to have three players earn Offensive Player of the Year in the same season.
2000 BIG EAST FOOTBALL AWARDS
BIG EAST OFFENSIVE PLAYERS OF THE YEAR
ANTONIO BRYANT, PITTSBURGH, Sophomore, WR, 6-2, 180, Miami, Fla./Miami
SANTANA MOSS, MIAMI, Senior, WR, 5-10, 180, Miami, Fla./Carol City
LEE SUGGS, VIRGINIA TECH, Sophomore, RB, 6-0, 201, Roanoke, Va./William Fleming
BIG EAST DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
**DAN MORGAN, MIAMI, Senior, LB, 6-3, 245, Coral Springs, Fla./Taravella
BIG EAST SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYER OF THE YEAR
**SANTANA MOSS, MIAMI, Senior, PR, 5-10, 180, Miami, Fla./Carol City
BIG EAST ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
GRANT WILEY, WEST VIRGINIA, Freshman, LB, 6-1, 230, Trappe, Pa./Perkiomen Valley
BIG EAST COACH OF THE YEAR
BUTCH DAVIS, MIAMI – 50-20 (.714) – Sixth season