Texas senior cornerback Huff accepts Thorpe Award

Updated: February 8, 2006, 12:11 PM ET
Associated Press

OKLAHOMA CITY -- With the risk of bites from mosquitoes and red ants, Ida Terry was a little hesitant to go out in the heat and watch her grandson, Michael Huff, play football.

A promise from young Michael helped sway her. "If you go, I'll get you five touchdowns," he said.

The grandson delivered, adding a celebratory dance after each one and proclaiming, "I did it, I did it" after touchdown No. 5.

Terry came along again Tuesday as Huff celebrated another accomplishment. The Texas senior was recognized as the winner of the Thorpe Award, the annual honor for college football's top defensive back.

Huff, who played cornerback and safety for the national champions, broke up 14 passes, intercepted one and recorded 109 tackles for the Longhorns this season. None was bigger than when he filled a gap against Southern California in the Rose Bowl and stopped LenDale White inches short of a first down on a fourth-and-2 late in the fourth quarter.

Huff's tackle enabled Texas' offense to take over with 2:09 left and give Vince Young a chance to lead a 10-play, 56-yard drive for the win. Young's 8-yard TD run with 19 seconds lifted the Longhorns to a 41-38 win.

"If we wouldn't have made that play, then we wouldn't have won the Rose Bowl and we wouldn't have won the national championship," Huff said. "It would have to be one of probably the best plays of my career."

With Heisman Trophy winner Reggie Bush on the sideline, Huff said Texas and coach Mack Brown knew what was coming.

"They had been running that play all game. Coach called an all-out blitz. I was supposed to be on the fullback, but I kind of knew what they were doing, so I just kind of ran in there on my own," said Huff, the first Texas player to win the Thorpe Award in its 21 years.

"As soon as we got up and saw where everything was, we knew we had stopped him," he added. "That gave Vince the ball back, and we knew he was going to go down and score."

Huff led Texas with 12 tackles in the game, and also pounced on Bush's ill-advised lateral that led to a field goal by the Longhorns in the second quarter.

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press