Fuller was honored by the media as the ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year, beating out Duke safety DeVon Edwards and fellow Hokies cornerback Brandon Facyson.
The true freshman from Baltimore, Tech’s first five-star recruit since Tyrod Taylor in 2007, started 11 games this year and played a variety of roles in an injury-riddled Hokies secondary that still finished fifth nationally in pass defense. He played boundary and field corner, in addition to nickelback.
Fuller finished second in the ACC to Virginia safety Anthony Harris with six interceptions, a total that ranked fifth nationally. He also had 16 passes defended, tops in the league, in addition to 56 tackles.
“It’s just a blessing to win this award,” Fuller said in a statement from the school. “All the work you put in during the summer and all the hard work you put in in the film room, going over stuff with Kyle [Fuller] and coach [Torrian] Gray, coming down a month early just to learn the defense … all that has paid off. Being able to make that big of an impact as a freshman is definitely something special.”
The Hokies have had only one other rookie of the year winner: running back Ryan Williams was both the ACC’s Offensive and Overall Rookie of the Year in 2009.
Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston won both the Offensive and Overall Rookie of the Year awards this year. Duke’s David Cutcliffe was named the ACC Coach of the Year for a second straight season.
Fuller was named on 25 of 65 ballots for the defensive award. Edwards was next with 18. Facyson was third with seven votes.
Here are the voting totals for each award (out of 65 ballots):
Rookie of the Year
- 56 — QB Jameis Winston, Florida State
- 4 — S DeVon Edwards, Duke
- 2 — WR Tyler Boyd, Pitt
- 1 – CB William Likely, Maryland
- 1 — WR Stacy Coley, Miami
- 1 — CB Kendall Fuller, Virginia Tech
Offensive Rookie of the Year
- 62 — Winston
- 2 — Boyd
- 1 — Coley
Defensive Rookie of the Year
- 25 — Fuller
- 18 — Edwards
- 7 — Facyson
- 5 — S Ryan Janvion, Wake Forest
- 4 — Likely
- 4 — S Nate Andrews, Florida State
- 2 — CB Jalen Ramsey, Florida State
Coach of the Year
- 62 — Cutcliffe
- 2 — Steve Addazio, Boston College
- 1 — Jimbo Fisher, Florida State