Voted last fall's Atlantic Coast Conference player of the year, Word, 22, was a third-round draft pick by the New Orleans Saints football team. The Saints said yesterday they suspended contract negotiations July 7 when they were told of Word's involvement in the drug investigation.

A graduate of a high school in Halifax County in southern Virginia, Word missed the final game in 1985 after being suspended for academic reasons. Still, Word set Virginia's single-season rushing record with 1,224 yards in 1985 and during that season rushed for 100 yards in eight of 10 games, scored six touchdowns, rushed for a career high 188 yards against Georgia Tech and was named honorable mention all-America.

In his junior season, Word averaged 5.7 yards per carry and rushed for 603 yards and six touchdowns. He qualified for the NCAA Meet and the Olympic trials in the 110-meter high hurdles in 1984.

Word is fifth on Virginia's all-time rushing list with 2,257 yards. Howard Petty

Petty, 22, came to Virginia from Severn School in Annapolis and he has one year of college eligibility left. A tailback, he played in all 11 football games last season, rushed for 552 yards and scored six touchdowns.

Petty shared playing time with Word and was the team's leading rusher in 1983 (880 yards) and 1984 (841 yards). He scored seven touchdowns in 1983 and eight in 1984. In the 1984 Peach Bowl, Petty rushed for 114 yards and was named the most outstanding offensive player.

Petty has 2,198 career rushing yards and is eighth in career scoring and sixth in career rushing. He carried the ball 145 times last season to Word's 207. Petty's 182 yards rushing against Wake Forest in 1982 set a school record for a first-year running back. Kenneth Stadlin

Stadlin, 21, played high school football in Hampton, Va., and made the Virginia team as "a walk-on" (without an athletic scholarship) place kicker. As a senior, he set single-season school records with 16 field goals, 10 consecutive field goals and 76 points. He is second on the school's all-time scoring list with 204 points, having made 65 of 66 extra point attempts his first two seasons.

Stadlin kicked a school record 56-yard field goal in 1984, the same season he had 12 field goals, another school record. His 22-yard field goal with 7:17 gave Virginia its final points in a 27-24 victory over Purdue in the 1984 Peach Bowl. In 1983, Stadlin set a school kicking record with 14 points against North Carolina State.