Miami's McKinnie heads CNNSI.com All-AmericansPosted: Monday December 03, 2001 6:37 PM
Updated: Wednesday December 05, 2001 4:17 PM
By Stewart Mandel, CNNSI.com
Some things in college football never change. Like Tailgating. Fight songs. Cheerleaders.
And quarterbacks winning all the major awards.
As the barrage of postseason honors begins, there is certainly no shortage of deserving quarterbacks to consider. But after much deliberation, the panel for CNNSI.com's 2001 All-America Team decided the most superior talent in the country this season was not a QB. Or a running back. Or a receiver.
CNNSI.com's player of the year award goes to Miami offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie.
Anyone who has watched the Hurricanes play can attest to McKinnie's importance to an offense that has scored a school-record 475 points this season and averaged over 200 yards per game both rushing (204.6) and passing (250.2). QB Ken Dorsey and RB Clinton Portis' jobs are made easier when they've got a 6-foot-9, 330-pound giant in front of them who has yet to allow a sack in two seasons with the 'Canes.
"I cannot imagine that there's anyone in the country better than him," said Miami offensive line coach Art Kehoe. "He's unparalleled in his natural gifts, but what really makes him special is how he's worked on his technique since being here."
McKinnie's signature game came Nov. 17 against Syracuse when he held Orangeman DE Dwight Freeney -- who entered the contest with 16.5 sacks -- without a sack or even a tackle. And it was probably no coincidence that, after missing most of the second half of last week's Virginia Tech game with a sprained knee, Miami's offense struggled. Twelve of its 23 rushing attempts went for 1 yard or less, and Dorsey was just 6-of-17 for 67 yards.
McKinnie had arthroscopic surgery Monday but is expected to recover in time for the Rose Bowl.
McKinnie narrowly edged Florida QB Rex Grossman for top honors. Grossman is CNNSI.com's All-American quarterback.
CNNSI.com coach of the year went to Maryland's Ralph Friedgen, who in his first season as a head coach led the Terps to a 10-1 record and first outright ACC championship since 1985.
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