Tackle Bruce Smith, one of the greatest defensive players in Virginia Tech's history, today was named winner of the Outland Trophy as the nation's No. 1 college interior lineman.
Smith is the first defensive tackle to be chosen for the honor since Brad Shearer of Texas in 1977. The award is voted by the Football Writers Association of America.
Smith, a 6-foot-3, 290-pound senior from Norfolk, had 25 behind-the-line tackles this season for total losses of 186 yards, with 16 quarterback sacks bringing his career total to 46. He had 52 unassisted tackles as Virginia Tech fielded the best rushing defense in college football, allowing 71.5 yards a game. In four seasons, Smith had 71 behind-the-line tackles for losses of 504 yards.
"The Sack Man," as he is nicknamed, has 4.7 speed for the 40-yard dash -- considered acceptable in the pros for running backs.
"I found out yesterday (Wednesday) at 11 (a.m.) from Coach (Bill) Dooley that I had won the award," Smith said. "I was so happy, I didn't stop smiling all day."
Earlier, Smith was selected for the FWAA's all-America team for 1984, only the second consensus pick in Virginia Tech's history. The first was Frank Loria, a defensive back picked 17 years ago.
Other members of the association's all-America team considered for the award were Nebraska center Mark Traynowicz, offensive linemen Lomas Brown of Florida, Bill Fralic of Pittsburgh, Jim Lachey of Ohio State and Carlton Walker of Utah and defensive linemen Tony Casillas of Oklahoma, Tony Degrate of Texas and Ron Holmes of Washington.