Tebow, Berry, James, Green, Oher, Nutt, Johnson and Saban given leagueâ€™s top honors (Via SEC Media Relations)
BIRMINGHAM â€” Florida quarterback Tim Tebow, Tennessee defensive back Eric Berry and Florida return specialist Brandon James were voted as the Southeastern Conferenceâ€™s top offensive player, top defensive player and top special teams player, respectively, in a vote of the leagueâ€™s coaches, it was announced on Wednesday.
The leagueâ€™s coaches also selected Tebow and Georgia wide receiver A.J. Green as the leagueâ€™s scholar-athlete of the year and top freshman performer, respectively.
Ole Miss offensive tackle Michael Oher was selected as the recipient of the Jacobs Trophy, given to the leagueâ€™s top blocker. Ole Missâ€™ Houston Nutt, Vanderbiltâ€™s Bobby Johnson and Alabamaâ€™s Nick Saban were all voted by their peers as the SEC Coaches of the Year and will share the award.
All of this yearâ€™s individual award winners were named first-team All-SEC in voting by the leagueâ€™s coaches that was announced on Tuesday, outside of Green, who was second team. There were no unanimous selections to this yearâ€™s individual awards.
Tebow leads the SEC in completion percentage (64.9), touchdowns (28) and passing efficiency (176.7), while also owning the lowest interception percentage in the league (.7). Tebow’s on the field accomplishments include being the only sophomore ever to win the Heisman Trophy. Also, he is the only player in NCAA history to rush and pass for at least 20 touchdowns in a season and ranks first in Florida’s record book for the most career rushing touchdowns. He has thrown for 5,557 yards and 56 touchdowns in three seasons, while having also gained 1,757 yards on the ground with 42 rushing touchdowns, both school records by a Florida quarterback.
Berry, one of only two unanimous selections to the first team, is tied atop the FBS with seven interceptions and posted school and conference records for interception return yards with 265. The Fairburn, Ga., native also finished third on the team with 72 tackles from his strong safety position. He was named SEC Defensive Player of the Year by the Associated Press on Monday.
James has scored two touchdowns off punt returns this season and is currently tied with Jacquez Green (1995-97) for the school record for career punt returns for a touchdown with four. His 687 kick return yards are the second- highest single season total in UF history and he improved his single-season punt return yards record to 509 after the Alabama game. James ranks fifth all-time in SEC history in total kick return yards, including kickoff and punt returns, with 3,037 total yards. He set an SEC Championship game record with five kickoff returns for 121 yards.
Green leads the SEC with 951 yards receiving for an average of 79.2 yards per game. He has hauled in 55 passes including eight touchdowns and is looking to become the first Bulldog to lead the SEC in receiving since Brice Hunter in 1994. For freshmen, he would be the first to lead the league in receiving yards per game since 1999.
Tebow carries a 3.70 grade point average, earning the honor of 2007 SEC Academic Honor Roll recipient. Tebow was also the second sophomore football player in school history to earn ESPN.com Academic All-America first-team honors in the 2007 season. Thanks to Tebow, Florida became one of only three schools to have a Heisman winner receive Academic All-America honors in the same year.
Paving the way for the Ole Miss offense is Oher. Ole Miss ranks in the top four in the SEC in total offense, scoring, rushing and passing. Oher was named first team All-SEC by the coaches and was one of six unanimous selections on the Associated Press first team.
Nutt, in his first year at the helm of the Ole Miss football program, led the Rebels to an 8-4 record and a trip to the Cotton Bowl. Ole Miss finished second in the SEC West. Saban, in only his second year at Alabama, led the Tide to a perfect 12-0 regular season, the SEC Western Division Championship and a No. 1 national ranking. Johnson led Vanderbilt to six wins and their first bowl berth since the 1982 season.
2008 SEC FOOTBALL INDIVIDUAL AWARDS
Scholar-Athlete of the Year
Tim Tebow, QB, Florida
Offensive Player of the Year
Tim Tebow, QB, Florida
Defensive Player of the Year
Eric Berry, DB, Tennessee
Special Teams Player of the Year
Brandon James, RS, Florida
Freshman of the Year
A.J. Green, WR, Georgia
Jacobs Blocking Trophy
Michael Oher, Ole Miss
Coach of the Year
*Houston Nutt, Ole Miss
*Nick Saban, Alabama
*Bobby Johnson, Vanderbilt
# – Unanimous Selection
* – Ties