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Former walk-on Grimm, freshman sensation Williams are Hokies' latest All-Americans
When linebacker Cody Grimm set foot on Virginia Tech's campus in the fall of 2005 as a walk-on football player, he hoped someday to play special teams and get a few snaps as a backup.
Setting the bar low meant he'd never be disappointed, but he overshot those aspirations by a wide margin. Grimm was as a selected third-team All-American by The Associated Press. In addition to Grimm, Tech running back Ryan Williams was named a third-team All-American by The Sporting News.
"I'm just really honored to be looked at that highly by members of the media," said Grimm, a 5-foot-11, 210-pound senior from Oakton, in a statement released by Tech's athletic department. "Coming in here as a walk-on, and finishing things off by being named an All-American, is a big accomplishment and I'm just really happy and honored for the recognition."
In the Football Championship Subdivision, William and Mary defensive end Adrian Tracy was named to both the Walter Camp and American Football Coaches Association All-America teams. Liberty place-kicker Matt Bevins, a Warwick High grad, was named to the Walter Camp team.
Grimm, the son of former All-Pro offensive guard and current Arizona Cardinals assistant coach Russ Grimm, leads Tech (9-3) with 99 tackles. Cody also is tied for the Football Bowl Subdivision lead with seven forced fumbles. He'll finish his career Dec. 31, when Tech plays in the Chick-fil-A Bowl against Tennessee (7-5).
Grimm is the latest All-American for defensive coordinator Bud Foster, who has had at least one player honored (including two named by Sports Illustrated, which isn't recognized as one of the five major All-America squads) in each of his 15 seasons at Tech's defensive coordinator or co-coordinator. Grimm is the second former Tech walk-on to earn All-America honors, joining John Engelberger, a 1999 AP second-team selection.
"I'm very proud and happy for Cody," Foster said. "He has worked extremely hard to get where he is today."
Williams, a 5-10, 206-pound redshirt freshman from Manassas, has gained a Tech and Atlantic Coast Conference freshman-record 1,538 yards and scored 20 TDs. He needs 110 yards in the bowl game to take over Tech's single-season rushing record, set by Kevin Jones in '03.
Williams is the third Tech running back to be chosen All-American. Jones was a consensus All-American in '03, and Lee Suggs was an AP third-team pick in '00.
"The things he did from game one to game 12 have been absolutely amazing," Hokies running-backs coach Billy Hite said in a statement released by Tech. "I think he became a complete football player. He was not only outstanding with the ball in his arm, but he ended up becoming a very good blocker. He also has very good hands and can catch the ball."
Williams had 17 carries of 20 yards or more. He also has a play of 40 yards or more in seven games. He was one of three freshmen to make The Sporting News team, including second-team running back Dion Lewis from Pittsburgh and third-team running back LaMichael James from Oregon.
"It's just a blessing to receive an honor like this with the rest of the elite players in the nation," Williams said in a statement released by Tech. "I just want to thank the whole team for making this whole experience possible for me."
Tracy, a 6-4, 243-pound senior from Sterling, had 78 tackles and led W&M with 22 tackles for loss and 12 sacks.
He was joined on both FCS All-America teams by James Madison's Arthur Moats, a senior defensive lineman from Portsmouth and the CAA's Defensive Player of the Year. Richmond offensive lineman Matt McCracken also made both All-America teams.
Norfolk State defensive back Terrell Whitehead was named to the Walter Camp team, and Richmond defensive back Justin Rogers made the AFCA team.
Bevins, a sophomore, was the nation's leading scorer among kickers. He averaged 9.73 points per game and finished with 107 points. He made 41 of 42 extra points and 22 of 26 field goals.