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Maryland's Jackson is big hit as ACC top defensive player

December 01, 2005|by Staff and university reports

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Big hits need big accompishments.

That's the way the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association looked at it Wednesday when it named Maryland linebacker D'Qwell Jackson the ACC defensive player of the year.

Jackson turned big hits into his trademark in becoming the ACC's leading tackler and second leading tackler in the nation to easily become the second Maryland player ever to receive the honor.

"It feels good to work hard and have somebody reward you for it," said Jackson. "With all of the great linebackers and great defensive players in this league, it is a great feeling ... a big accomplishment."

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Jackson had 31 votes to outdistance Matthias Kiwanuka of Boston College (17 votes) and Darryl Tapp of Virginia Tech (14). Jackson finished third - by two votes - for league Player of the Year honors, which went to Wake Forest's Chris Barclay.

The senior finished the season with 124 tackles (an average of 13.8 per game) to lead the ACC for the second straight year. He finished the regular season ranked second in the NCAA.

For his career, Jackson posted 447 tackles, fourth-most in Maryland history. He is a finalist for the Bednarik Award, which will be announced Dec. 8 at ESPN College Football Awards Show.

"D'Qwell had an outstanding year for us," said Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen. "He is very worthy of this award and we are proud that he has been able to continue the recent tradition of great linebackers here at the University of Maryland."

Jackson is the second player in Maryland history to receive the award and it is the third time a Terrapin has earned the honor in the last five years, all since Friedgen and recently retired defensive coordinator Gary Blackney arrived. E.J. Henderson was the award's recipient in 2001 and 2002.

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