GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) ― Danny O’Brien has become Maryland’s first Atlantic Coast Conference rookie of the year.
The freshman quarterback on Tuesday was named the league’s overall rookie of the year as well as its top offensive newcomer following a vote of the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association. Florida State cornerback Xavier Rhodes was the ACC’s defensive rookie of the year.
O’Brien received 54 of a possible 61 votes for the overall award, while Rhodes and Wake Forest running back Josh Harris each had three votes and Clemson receiver DeAndre Hopkins received one vote. For the offensive award, O’Brien had 58 votes, Harris had two and Hopkins had one.
O’Brien, a 6-foot-3 redshirt freshman, threw 21 touchdown passes — four shy of the league record for freshmen.
He ranks third among freshmen nationally with a pass efficiency rating of 135.2 and averaged 188 yards passing. He started the season as the backup to Jamarr Robinson but took control of the job when Robinson injured his shoulder.
O’Brien is a key reason why the Terrapins finished 8-4, contended for the Atlantic Division title until the final weeks of the regular season and secured a bowl berth one year after finishing 2-10.
Maryland had been the only charter member of the ACC never to produce a rookie of the year since the conference began honoring newcomers in 1975.
Rhodes received 35 votes for the defensive award to finish ahead of Boston College linebacker Kevin Pierre-Louis, who had 21 votes, Duke linebacker Kelby Brown (4) and North Carolina defensive lineman Tim Jackson (1).
Rhodes redshirted last year and made the transition from receiver to defensive back. He leads the nation’s freshmen with 14 passes defended — 11 pass breakups, three interceptions.
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