Originally created 11/25/03

Rivers finally first-team all-ACC



RALEIGH, N.C. -- Philip Rivers has finally been named first-team all-ACC.

The North Carolina State quarterback, who has thrown for more than 13,000 yards in his career, was beaten out by Matt Schaub, Woody Dantzler and Heisman Trophy winner Chris Weinke the past three seasons.

But there was no denying Rivers in 2003. He was the only unanimous selection to The Associated Press team as voted on by 63 members of the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association.

The 6-foot-5 senior quarterback has completed 311 of 438 passes for an ACC-record 4,016 yards and 29 touchdowns. His 71 percent completion rate is also a conference single-season record heading into the Wolfpack's bowl game.

"I think he's the best football player in the country," Florida State coach Bobby Bowden said. "I don't know of a guy who means more to his football team than he does. He just does it week after week after week after week."

Rivers' main target, Jerricho Cotchery, was the only repeater on the offensive team. Cotchery has 73 catches for 1,198 yards and nine touchdowns.

Maryland place-kicker Nick Novak and return specialist Steve Suter also were named to the first-team for a second straight season.

Joining Cotchery at wide receiver was Florida State's Craphonso Thorpe, whose 19.5 average per reception is tops in the ACC.

A pair of 1,000-yard rushers were named at running back - Duke's Chris Douglas and Georgia Tech's P.J. Daniels.

Douglas had six 100-yard games, while Daniels led the Yellow Jackets in rushing every game.

Virginia's Heath Miller was the runaway winner at tight end with the third-most points on offense behind Rivers and Cotchery.

The first-team offensive line consisted of Alex Barron of Florida State, Sean Locklear of N.C. State, C.J. Brooks of Maryland, Tyson Clabo of Wake Forest and center Hugh Reilly of Georgia Tech.

Florida State's Darnell Dockett was the top vote-getter on defense with 114 points. He was joined by teammates Michael Boulware at linebacker and defensive back Stanford Samuels.

In addition to Dockett, Georgia Tech's Eric Henderson, Maryland's Randy Starks and Duke's Matt Zielinski were named to the defensive line. Henderson leads the ACC with 10 sacks.

Keyaron Fox of Georgia Tech headed the linebacking corps with Leroy Hill of Clemson. Fox leads the ACC with 138 tackles, while Hill tops the league in tackles for loss with 24 1/2 .

ACC interception leader James Butler of Georgia Tech was named at defensive back along with Eric King of Wake Forest and Andre Maddox of N.C. State.

Wake Forest's Ryan Plackemeier, who is averaging 45.8 yards a kick, was named the all-ACC punter.