By Scott Vogelsberg
February 4, 2005
When Super Bowl XXXIX kicks off this Sunday at 6:30 p.m., 16 former ACC standouts will be in uniform for the two teams tangling for the championship, the New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles. The Patriots have five ex-conference players on their roster, while the Eagles boast 11 former league stars.
ACCSports.com takes a look at the ACC alums who will be vying for the Lombardi Trophy this weekend in Jacksonville, Fla.
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
|Dan Koppen||C||6-2||296||2||Boston College|
College: Koppen was a three-year starter for the Eagles. He was selected as a third-team All-American choice by The NFL Draft Report and was a second-team All-Big East choice as a senior in 2002. He was also a finalist for the Rimington Award, presented to the nation's top center.
NFL: He has emerged as the Patriots starting center after being selected as a fifth-round pick (164th overall) in the 2003 NFL Draft.
|Dexter Reid||SS||5-11||203||R||North Carolina|
College: Reid started 36 of 47 games at UNC, recording 466 career tackles. The physical safety was a two-time All-ACC first-team selection.
NFL: The Patriots tabbed Reid in the fourth round of last year's draft, with the 113th overall pick. He is listed as the team's third-string strong safety, but has seen extensive special-teams action, recording 23 tackles and a fumble recovery.
|P.K. Sam||WR||6-3||210||R||Florida State|
College: After grabbing 50 receptions for 735 yards and five touchdowns as a junior, Sam made the surprising choice to turn pro. He started just 13 games at FSU, caught 76 passes for 1,076 yards and seven scores and also returning punts and kickoffs.
NFL: Sam lasted until the fifth round (164th overall pick) for New England, but did not catch a pass as a rookie before ending up on the suspended list.
College: After grabbing eight passes for 93 yards and a score at Duke in 1999, Watson transferred to Georgia. In his three seasons with the Bulldogs, he made 65 catches for 852 yards and six touchdowns. He applied for the 2003 NFL Draft after his junior year, but reconsidered and returned to Georgia. He was named offensive team captain and was an All-SEC second-team pick in his final year, but played all season with a nagging ankle injury.
NFL: Watson was selected with the No. 32 pick of the first round by New England, but made just two catches for 16 yards before landing on the injured reserve list, ending his season.
College: In just three years, Wilfork tallied 148 tackles and 14 sacks for the Hurricanes. He was a first-team All-Big East selection and a second-team All-American pick by College Football News after notching 64 tackles and six sacks as a senior.
NFL: Viewed as one of the top defensive tackles in the draft, Wilfork left Miami after his junior year and was selected with the No. 21 pick of the first round by the Patriots. He served as a backup defensive tackle this year as a rookie, posting 42 tackles, two sacks and two fumble recoveries.
College: He was a two-time ACC Defensive Player of the Year winner for the Tigers, setting school records for tackles (186) and tackles for losses (35) as a sophomore. Adams left for the NFL after a junior year that saw him rank sixth in the country with 138 tackles.
NFL: Adams was selected in the seventh round by Tennessee in 2001, but was released and signed to Dallas's practice squad. Philadelphia picked him up off waivers from the Cowboys in 2002, and he became a valuable special-teamer for the Eagles. He posted 54 tackles in 2004, including a career-best 13 against Cincinnati.
College: Dawkins was a three-year starter at strong safety for the Tigers, tallying 234 tackles and 11 picks in his career. He totaled six interceptions as a senior, earning first-team All-ACC and second-team All-America distinction.
NFL: After becoming a second-round draft pick of the Eagles in 1996, Dawkins has emerged as one of the league's top safeties. The four-time Pro Bowler has 25 career interceptions, and notched four picks and 95 tackles this year, finished second on the team in both categories.
College: Green collected 145 tackles and 24 sacks in three years as a starter for the Hurricanes. He earned first-team All-Big East honors after registering 10 sacks as a senior.
NFL: A fourth-round draft pick by Philadelphia in 2003, Green suffered a preseason ankle injury that put him on injured reserve for his entire rookie year. He played sparingly in seven games this season, notching his first career sack late in the year against St. Louis.
|Dorsey Levens||RB||6-1||230||11||Georgia Tech|
College: After starting his college career at Notre Dame, Levens transferred to Georgia Tech.
NFL: Levens spent his first eight seasons with Green Bay, putting together two 1,000-yard seasons with the Packers. He played for Philadelphia in 2002 and the New York Giants in 2003, then returned to the Eagles this year. He made the Pro Bowl in 1997 after rushing for 1,435 yards for the NFC-champion Packers that season. Levens rushed for 410 yards and four touchdowns this year, averaging 4.4 yards per attempt.
College: McDougle started his college career at Pittsburgh State in Kansas before transferring to Hinds Community College. He then joined the Hurricanes and notched 110 tackles and 13 sacks at Miami. He collected 55 tackles and seven sacks as a senior.
NFL: He was tabbed in the first round by the Eagles in 2003, with Philadelphia trading up 15 spots to grab him at No. 15. He missed the first eight games of that season with ankle, knee and hip injuries, then missed five games with injuries this year. He registered 13 tackles and two sacks during the regular season.
College: He was the first player in school history to lead the Cavaliers in receiving four straight years. McMullen wound up as Virginia's all-time leader in receptions (210) and yards (2,978), and finished third in school annals with 24 touchdown grabs. As a junior, he racked up 1,060 receiving yards and 12 scores.
NFL: McMullen was a third-round draft choice of the Eagles in 2003, but played in just five games and caught one pass as a rookie. He grabbed three receptions for 24 yards, with a long of 15, this year.
College: Perry ended up fourth all-time at Maryland with 2,424 rushing yards, despite being severely limited due to injuries in his final two seasons. He was the ACC Offensive Player of the Year in 2001 after rushing for 1,294 yards and catching 40 passes for the Terrapins.
NFL: He was selected by the Eagles in the seventh round, but spent the season on injured reserve.
|Corey Simon||DT||6-2||293||5||Florida State|
College: Simon was an All-American choice as a senior with the Seminoles after recording 84 tackles, four sacks and a school-record 21 tackles for losses. He wound up with 193 tackles and 11 sacks in his career at Florida State.
NFL: He was the sixth overall pick of the 2000 NFL Draft by Philadelphia and paid immediate dividends, setting a team rookie record with 9.5 sacks. After posting 7.5 sacks in 2003, Simon earned his first trip to the Pro Bowl. Simons added 32 tackles and 5.5 sacks this year, and he already has 32 career sacks, tied for second-most ever by an Eagles defensive tackle.
College: Strojny was a three-year starter for the Blue Devils, starting 43 of his 46 games at left tackle. He was an ACC Academic Honor Roll selection during his time in Durham.
NFL: He spent training camp with the New York Giants after being selected in the seventh round, but was released. The Eagles subsequently signed him to their practice squad.
|Tra Thomas||OT||6-7||349||7||Florida State|
College: As a senior, he was selected second-team All-America and first-team All-ACC, and also won the Jacobs Trophy, presented to the ACC's top offensive lineman. He came to the Seminoles as a defensive lineman, but quickly made the transition to the other side of the line.
NFL: A three-time Pro Bowl selection, Thomas earned All-Pro selection by The Sporting News, USA Today and Associated Press in 2002. He's been Philly's starting left tackle in all seven of his NFL seasons.
College: Walker appeared in nine games as a freshman at N.C. State in 1995 before transferring to Tennessee. He went on to rack up 122 tackles and 14 sacks for the Volunteers. He earned third-team All-America recognition as a senior after notching 46 tackles and seven sacks. Walker also was an All-America in track at Tennessee for his work in the shot put and discus events.
NFL: He is completing his third season as an Eagles starter after the franchise picked him up off waivers from Arizona in 2000. Walker finished in a tie for fourth among NFL defensive tackles with six sacks in 2003. He added 29 tackles and 4.5 sacks this year. He signed a seven-year contract extension in 2002 that will keep him in Philadelphia until 2008.
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