ATLANTA -- Joe Hamilton finished his football career at Georgia Tech as the most-prolific offensive weapon in Atlantic Coast Conference history and on Thursday, he picked up some hardware to mark the occasion -- the ACC Player of the Year.
The senior from Alvin, S.C., set a single-season ACC record with 3,794 total yards while leading the Yellow Jackets to an 8-3 record and a berth in the Toyota Gator Bowl on New Year's Day. Attendants to the season-ending awards banquet at the Marriott Marquis immediately began wondering whether Hamilton would be the featured guest at two more award ceremonies -- the Davey O'Brien Award for the nation's top quarterback and the Heisman Trophy for the nation's top player.
Hamilton, who threw for 3,060 yards and ran for another 730 while having a hand in a 35 touchdowns, was named to the All-ACC team earlier this week for the second consecutive year. His selection as the league's top offensive player made him the first in Georgia Tech history to win the league's highest honor.
During his four-year career, Hamilton finished with a conference-record 10,640 total yards. He also either ran or threw for 83 touchdowns.
"I want to thank the other (10) guys (on offense) who were there with me through thick and thin," Hamilton said. "It's been a pleasure being in the ACC."
Hamilton, who also garnered the ACC Offensive Player of the Year award, was one of three Yellow Jackets honored Thursday night. Wide receiver Kelly Campbell and offensive tackle Jon Carman were selected to the All-ACC first team.
Linebacker Keith Adams of Clemson was voted as the Defensive Player of the Year, while Clemson coach Tommy Bowden was honored as the league's top coach.
"This is a direct reflection of the coaches and players at Clemson," Bowden said in a short, one-sentence acceptance speech.
Other awards included: Virginia center John St. Clair for the Jacobs Blocking Award; North Carolina State wide receiver Koren Robinson as the Rookie of the Year; Virginia guard Noel Lamontagne for the Jim Tatum Award for senior academics; and Florida State quarterback Chris Weinke for the Brian Piccolo Ward for courage.
The first team All-ACC offense featured Hamilton, Campbell, Carman, Virginia running back Thomas Jones, Maryland running back Lamont Jordan, Florida State wide receiver Peter Warrick, Lamontagne, St. Clare and Florida State kicker Sebastian Janikowski.
On defense, Florida State linemen Corey Simon and Jerry Johnson were named All-ACC, as well as lineman Delbert Cowsette of Maryland, lineman Chris Combs of Duke, Adams, linebacker Dustin Lyman of Wake Forest, linebacker Tommy Polley of Florida State, defensive back Robert Carswell of Clemson, defensive back Mario Edwards of Florida State, defensive back Lloyd Harrison of North Carolina State, defensive back Lewis Sanders of Maryland, punter Brian Schmitz of North Carolina and Warrick as a return specialist.
From here, Hamilton will go against Purdue's Drew Brees and Marshall's Chad Pennington for the Davey O'Brien Award, which will be announced Thursday. He's scheduled to attend the Heisman Trophy Award announcement at the Downtown Touchdown Club in New York on Dec. 11. Hamilton and Wisconsin's Ron Dayne are expected to be the top-two vote-getters.
After that, he will be back on the football field Dec. 17, helping the Yellow Jackets prepare for their Gator Bowl assignment against either Boston College or Miami.
Reach Don Coble at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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