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Johnson makes haul at awards show

Dec. 12, 2002 at 9:25 PM   |   Comments

ORLANDO, Fla., Dec. 12 (UPI) -- Penn State running back Larry Johnson, one of five finalists in a Heisman Trophy race that could be one of the closest ever, took home notable hardware Thursday night during the annual college football awards show.

Johnson won the Maxwell Award as college football's most outstanding player and the Doak Walker Award as the outstanding junior or senior running back and was named the Walter Camp Football Foundation Player of the Year.

Johnson was the ninth player in NCAA history to rush for over 2,000 yards, totaling 2,015 on 251 carries.

He wiped out Lydell Mitchell's school single-season rushing record of 1,567 yards and averaged 8.03 per carry. He also set school records for catches (39) and receiving yards (341) by a running back to take his place among the star backs in Penn State history.

"If it wasn't for guys like Lenny Moore, Curtis Enis and Ki-Jana Carter that went before me, I wouldn't have been able to do it," Johnson said

Johnson has added 341 yards receiving -- a school record for running backs -- and has 2,575 all-purpose yards, the ninth-best total in NCAA history.

The Heisman Trophy will be announced Saturday night in New York and Johnson will be joined at the ceremony by Brad Banks of Iowa, who Thursday night won the Davey O'Brien Award as best quarterback.

A senior from Florida, Banks has completed 155 of 258 passes for 2,369 yards with 25 touchdowns and four interceptions. He also has ran for 387 yards and five scores to help the third-ranked Hawkeyes gain a berth in the Orange Bowl against Southern California.

"I just came out and worked hard and let everything take care of itself," Banks said.

Running back Willis McGahee and quarterback Ken Dorsey of Miami and quarterback Carson Palmer of Southern California are the other Heisman Trophy finalists.

Dorsey was a finalist for the O'Brien, Maxwell and Camp honors, yet came away empty. But he can claim a far more coveted prize Jan. 3 when the top-ranked Hurricanes oppose Ohio State for the national championship in the Fiesta Bowl.

Banks' teammate, Nate Kaeding, won the Lou Groza Award as the top Division I-A kicker. Kaeding made 20 of 22 field goals, including a 55-yarder.

Charles Rogers of Michigan State, who already has stated his intention to apply for the NFL draft, won the Biletnikoff Award as best receiver.

Rogers broke his own single-season school record with 668 receptions. He caught 13 touchdown passes and had 1,351 receiving yards. He also established an NCAA record for consecutive games with a touchdown catch with 13.

"This is a tremendous honor," said Rogers, one of the few bright spots for the Spartans in a 4-8 season. "The personal goal I set before the season was to become the best player at my position in the country and things worked out."

The Coach of the Year award went to Tyrone Willingham, who orchestrated a remarkable turnaround in his first season at Notre Dame. Just 5-6 a year ago, Notre Dame was 10-2 this season and will play North Carolina State in the Gator Bowl on New Year's Day.

On the other side of the ball, Maryland linebacker E.J. Johnson won the Chuck Bednarik Award as top defensive player.

Henderson helped Maryland to a 10-win season, including eight straight at one point, and topped the century mark in tackles for the third straight season.

The Outland Trophy, given to the best interior lineman, went to Washington State defensive tackle Rien Long. Long anchored a defense that ranked seventh in the nation against the run.

Terence Newman of Kansas State won the Jim Thorpe Award, given to the top defensive back. Newman intercepted five passes this season, even though most quarterbacks went out of their way not to throw to his side.

"I wasn't challenged a lot this season," said Newman, who also was used as a kick returner. "Coach (Bill Snyder) found a way to get me the ball."

Mark Marsical of Colorado won the Ray Guy Award as top punter. He averaged 48.25 yards on 55 kicks.

In other honors presented Thursday, former Texas coach Darrell Royal won the Contribution to College Football Award and Dewayne White of Louisville won the Disney Spirit Award.

© 2002 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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