December 11, 2003

Fitzgerald: Walter Camp Player Of The Year

PITTSBURGH - Just one day after being named a finalist for the prestigious Heisman Trophy, University of Pittsburgh wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald has been honored with the Walter Camp Award, annually given to the nation's top college football player. He is the first sophomore to win the award.

Fitzgerald becomes Pittsburgh's third recipient of the award, joining 1976 winner Tony Dorsett and 1980 honoree Hugh Green, who became the first defensive player to win the award.

Fitzgerald (Minneapolis, Minn./Academy of the Holy Angels/Valley Forge Military Academy [Pa.]) was named the Big East Offensive Player of the Year earlier this week, becoming the third Pittsburgh player to earn the league's honor and just the second to do so outright. Tailback Billy West won the honor in 1994, while receiver Antonio Bryant was a co-recipient of the award in 2000. Fitzgerald is the third receiver in Big East history to earn the honor, following Bryant and Miami's Santana Moss in 2000.

He has been named to numerous All-America teams, including The Sporting News, American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) and Football Writers Association of America (FWAA).

The prolific wideout has set two NCAA receiving records this season, including consecutive games with a TD catch (18) and TD catches as a freshman and sophomore (34). He has tied the NCAA mark for games catching a TD pass in one season (12-tied with Marshall's Randy Moss, 1997).

He has additionally set seven Big East receiving records this year: single-season receiving yards (1,595), single-season receptions (87), single-season TD catches (22), career TD catches (34), career 1,000-yard receiving seasons (two), career 100-yard receiving games (14) and single-season 100-yard receiving games (10).

Pittsburgh finished the regular-season with an 8-4 overall record and 5-2 Big East mark. The Panthers will play Virginia (7-5) in the Continental Tire Bowl Dec. 27, their fourth consecutive postseason bid. The four consecutive bowl berths mark the Panthers' best postseason stretch since advancing to nine straight from 1975-83.

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