Wednesday Dec. 10, 2008
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- Florida quarterback Tim Tebow, Tennessee defensive back Eric Berry and Florida return specialist Brandon James were voted as the Southeastern Conference’s top offensive player, top defensive player and top special teams player, respectively, in a vote of the league’s coaches, it was announced on Wednesday.
The league’s coaches also selected Tebow and Georgia wide receiver A.J. Green as the league’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 league’s top blocker. Ole Miss’ Houston Nutt, Vanderbilt’s Bobby Johnson and Alabama’s Nick Saban were all voted by their peers as the SEC Coaches of the Year and will share the award.
All of this year’s individual award winners were named first-team All-SEC in voting by the league’s coaches that was announced on Tuesday, outside of Green, who was second team. There were no unanimous selections to this year’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.