BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel, South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, Florida kicker Caleb Sturgis and South Carolina return specialist Ace Sanders were voted as the Southeastern Conference’s top offensive player, freshman, defensive player and top special teams players, respectively, in a vote of the league’s coaches, it was announced on Wednesday.
The league’s coaches also selected Barrett Jones of Alabama as the league’s scholar-athlete of the year and Texas A&M’s Luke Joeckel winner of the Jacobs Blocking Trophy.
Florida’s Will Muschamp and Texas A&M’s Kevin Sumlin were voted by their peers as SEC Co-Coaches of the Year.
For the season, Manziel passed for 3,419 yards and rushed for 1,181 yards, becoming just the fifth NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision player and first freshman to throw for 3,000 yards and rush for 1,000 yards in the same season. He had three games with 300 passing yards and 100 rushing yards in 2012, which had never been done by a FBS player in a career, let alone a single season.
Manziel becomes the first freshman in the SEC to garner Player of the Year accolades since Herschel Walker in 1980. He also becomes the first in league history to win both SEC Player and Freshman of the Year in the same season, as the league began naming a Freshman of the Year in 1986.
Clowney is a record-setter in several respects this season, as he set new South Carolina standards for sacks in a season (13.0), tackles for loss in a season (21.5) and sacks in a single game (4.5 vs. Clemson). All of this came as a follow-up to his extremely successful freshman season, when Clowney totaled eight sacks and 12 tackles for loss.
Sanders set the Carolina single-season record for punt return yards with 363. He was the top punt returner in the SEC, averaging 14.5 yards per return, with seven returns of 27 yards or more. Sturgis leads Florida in scoring with 101 points and became the third player in school history to score 300 points in their career. He is tied for third in the nation in field goals and tied for the lead in the SEC in kicking scoring while tying for second in overall scoring (23 FG, 32 PAT). In addition, Sturgis leads the SEC with 20 made field goals and an 85.2 field goal percentage. He repeats as a first-team All-SEC selection as he also earned the distinction in 2011.
Jones is the only three-time Academic All-American in the history of Alabama football and on pace for a fourth selection this season. The 2011 and 2012 SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year, he carries a 4.0 GPA, has already received his degree in accounting and will complete his masters in accountancy next week. He was named the winner of the 2012 William V. Campbell Trophy on Tuesday evening, which recognizes an individual as the absolute best scholar-athlete in the nation as part of the 55th National Football Foundation Awards Dinner.
Joeckel, who is a finalist for the Outland Trophy, has been the cornerstone of the one of the best offensive fronts in college football. With Joeckel leading the way, the Aggies lead the SEC in rushing, passing, scoring and total offense.
In Muschamp’s second year in Gainesville, the Gators compiled an 11-1 regular-season record and a 7-1 mark in SEC play this season to finish third in the final BCS poll. Florida defeated four teams this season ranked in Top 10 at the time of the game, or in the final polls. Sumlin, in his fifth year as a collegiate head coach, led the Aggies to a 10-2 record and a berth in the 2013 AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic. It was Texas A&M's first 10-win season since 1998 and the 12th in program history. The Aggies compiled a 6-2 conference record in their first year in the rugged Southeastern Conference. Sumlin's 10 wins were the most by a first-year Texas A&M head coach, bettering the eight wins compiled by R.C. Slocum in 1989 and D.X. Bible in 1917.
2012 SEC AWARDS (* - Ties )
OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina
CO-SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYER OF THE YEAR
*Caleb Sturgis, Florida
*Ace Sanders, South Carolina
FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR
Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M
SCHOLAR-ATHLETE OF THE YEAR
Barrett Jones, Alabama
JACOBS BLOCKING TROPHY
Luke Joeckel, Texas A&M
CO-COACHES OF THE YEAR
*Kevin Sumlin, Texas A&M
*Will Muschamp, Florida