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Grimm wins Dudley Award

When senior linebacker Cody Grimm came to Virginia Tech, he was just hoping to suit up for special-teams minutes. He will leave it as something of a folk hero, whose name will be mentioned on barstools in Blacksburg for years to come.

And on Tuesday night, Grimm won the Dudley Award, given to Virginia's top Division-I football player. It was the first time since 2006 that a Hokies player received the honor, which has been presented annually since 1990.

Grimm edged Richmond quarterback Eric Ward for the award. Grimm finished with 35 points, Ward had 29, and James Madison defensive end Arthur Moats was third with 19. Members of the state's news media vote for the award.

A former walk-on, Grimm had 99 total tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss and seven sacks this season while anchoring the Hokies' defense. He earned first-team all-conference honors last week. Grimm will be remembered for his small in stature (5 feet 11), has a massive heart and his tremendous football sense.

Grimm has made a few memorable, heady plays this year. Against Alabama in the season opener on Sept. 5, Grimm caught running back Roy Upchurch 33 yards downfield and stripped the ball from him. Against Miami on Sept. 26, Grimm punched the ball loose from Hurricanes tight end Dedrick Epps as he tried to corral a pass in the end zone; Grimm had his back to the ball but could tell the pass was coming by looking in Epps's eyes.

Grimm has become one of Virginia Tech's leaders and the face of Bud Foster's defense. And with his plucky, persistent play, Grimm could be an NFL prospect. Gil Brandt said Grimm could be a late-round selected in the draft and used as a safety or a special-teams player.

The Dudley Award is named after former University of Virginia standout Bill Dudley and is presented to the player of the year at a state school. Each football-playing school in the commonwealth is allowed to nominate one player. In 2004, a separate award was created for players at Division II and Division III schools. The Richmond Times-Dispatch sponsors the awards.

List of Virginia Tech's Dudley Award winners:
1993, Jim Pyne, OL
1995, Cornell Brown, DE
1999, Corey Moore, DE
2000, Lee Suggs, RB
2002, Lee Suggs, RB
2003, Kevin Jones, RB
2004, Bryan Randall, QB
2005, Darryl Tapp, DE
2006, Vince Hall, LB
2009, Cody Grimm, LB

By Mark Viera  |  December 9, 2009; 10:16 AM ET
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