Mark Stoops calls win over Louisville ‘gratifying ... good to see it all come together’
Kentucky’s Mark Stoops is the coach of the year in the Southeastern Conference and Cats linebacker Josh Allen was named the league’s defensive player of the year, according to the Associated Press.
Joining Allen on the AP’s SEC first team was running back Benny Snell and guard Bunchy Stallings. UK safety Mike Edwards earned second-team honors.
Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa earned the honor for offensive player of the year and was one of five members of the top-ranked Crimson Tide to earn first-team honors. Vanderbilt’s Ke’Shawn Vaughn was named newcomer of the year.
Stoops took over the Kentucky program in 2013 and has consistently improved the Cats each season, capped by this year’s 9-3 regular-season campaign, the most wins for a Kentucky team since 1984.
He’ll lead UK against Penn State in the Citrus Bowl on Jan. 1.
“It’s going to be a real challenge playing a great team in Penn State,” Stoops said Sunday after the bowl announcement. “We embrace that challenge and are looking forward to the opportunity of getting down there, getting in some sunshine, enjoying the weather and competing in a great game.”
Stoops joins Paul Bryant (1950), Fran Curci (1977) and Jerry Claiborne (1984) as UK coaches earning the AP honor.
A panel of 28 writers and broadcasters who cover the SEC voted on the AP’s All-SEC team.
Also Monday, Allen was named one of four finalists for the Ted Hendricks Award, which honors the nation’s top defensive end. The other finalists for that honor include Jaylon Ferguson (Louisiana Tech), Clelin Ferrell (Clemson) and Sutton Smith (Northern Illinois), with the winner to be announced on Thursday.
The 17th annual award is based upon on-field performance, leadership ability, and contributions to school and community, amongst other criteria. The award honors Hendricks, a three-time All-American at Miami and National Football League Hall of Famer.
Allen, a 6-foot-5, 260-pound linebacker, has 28.5 career sacks and 14 sacks in 2018, and holds UK’s career and single-season records. His 11 career forced fumbles tie former Wildcat and current Chicago Bear linebacker Danny Trevathan for UK’s career mark.
This is the second AP All-SEC first team selection for Benny Snell, who became the Cats’ all-time touchdown leader this season. Snell is second in the SEC in rushing with 1,305 yards on 263 attempts.
Stallings, a 6-3 senior, has been a central part of the Cats’ offensive line that has helped Snell to three consecutive 1,000-yard rushing seasons. UK ranked sixth in rushing this season in the SEC.
Edwards, a 6-0 senior, was second on the team in tackles this season with 77 to go along with two interceptions and a fumble recovery.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
AP All-SEC honors
Offensive Player of the Year — QB Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama
Defensive Player of the Year — LB Josh Allen, Kentucky
Newcomer of the Year —RB Ke’Shawn Vaughn, Vanderbilt (Illinois transfer)
Coach of the Year — Mark Stoops, Kentucky
The Associated Press All-Southeastern Conference football team, with position, name, school, height, weight, class and hometown:
u-WR - A.J. Brown, Mississippi (u), 6-1, 230, Jr., Starkville, Mississippi
WR - Jerry Jeudy, Alabama, 6-1, 192, So., Deerfield Beach, Florida
T - Greg Little, Mississippi, 6-6, 325, Jr., Allen, Texas
T - Jonah Williams, Alabama, 6-5, 301, Jr., Folsom, California
G - Bunchy Stallings, Kentucky, 6-3, 305, Sr., McComb, Mississippi
G - Tre’Vour Wallace-Simms, Missouri, 6-5, 330, Jr., East St. Louis, Illinois
C - Ross Pierschbacher, Alabama, 6-4, 309, Sr., Cedar Falls, Iowa
TE - Jace Sternberger, Texas A&M, 6-4, 250, Jr., Kingfisher, Oklahoma
u-QB - Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama, 6-1, 218, So., Ewa Beach, Hawaii
RB - Benny Snell Jr., Kentucky, 5-11, 223, Jr., Westerville, Ohio
RB - Trayveon Williams, Texas A&M, 5-9, 200, Jr., Houston
PK - Cole Tracy, LSU, 5-11, 188, Sr., Camarillo, California
All-purpose - Deebo Samuel, South Carolina, 6-0, 210, Sr., Inman, South Carolina
DE - Jachai Polite, Florida, 6-2, 242, Jr., Daytona Beach, Florida
DE - Montez Sweat, Mississippi State, 6-6, 245, Sr., Stone Mountain, Georgia
DT - Jeffery Simmons, Mississippi State, 6-4, 300, Jr., Macon, Mississippi
DT - Quinnen Williams, Alabama, 6-4, 295, So., Birmingham, Alabama
u-LB Josh Allen, Kentucky, 6-5, 260, Sr., Montclair, New Jersey
LB - Deshaun Davis, Auburn, 5-11, 233, Sr., Prichard, Alabama
LB - Devin White, LSU, 6-1, 240, Jr., Springhill, Louisiana
CB - Deandre Baker, Georgia, 5-11, 185, Sr., Miami
CB - Greedy Williams, LSU, 6-3, 184, So., Shreveport, Louisiana
S - Johnathan Abram, Mississippi State, 6-0, 215, Sr., Columbia, Mississippi
S - Grant Delpit, LSU, 6-3, 203, So., Houston
P - Braden Mann, Texas A&M, 5-11, 190, Jr., Houston
WR - Kalija Lipscomb, Vanderbilt, 6-1, 201, Jr., New Orleans
WR - Deebo Samuel, South Carolina, 6-0, 210, Sr., Inman, South Carolina
T - Martez Ivey, Florida, 6-5, 306, Sr., Apopka, Florida
T - Andrew Thomas, Georgia, 6-5, 320, So., Lithonia, Georgia
G - Zack Bailey, South Carolina, 6-6, 314, Sr., Summerville, South Carolina
G - Hjalte Froholdt, Arkansas, 6-5, 315, Sr., Svendborg, Denmark
C - Lamont Gaillard, Georgia, 6-2, 308, Sr., Fayetteville, North Carolina
TE - Jared Pinkney, Vanderbilt, Jr., 6-4, 255, Norcross, Georgia
QB - Drew Lock, Missouri, 6-4, 225, Sr., Lee’s Summit, Missouri
RB - D’Andre Swift, Georgia, 5-9, 215, So., Philadelphia
RB - Ke’Shawn Vaughn, Vanderbilt, 5-10, 222, Jr., Nashville, Tennessee
PK - Rodrigo Blankenship, Georgia, 6-1, 191, Jr., Marietta, Georgia
All-purpose - Mecole Hardman, Georgia, 5-11, 183, Jr., Bowman, Georgia
DE - Isaiah Buggs, Alabama, 6-5, 286, Sr., Ruston, Louisiana
DE - Raekwon Davis, Alabama, 6-7, 316, Jr., Meridian, Mississippi
DT - Derrick Brown, Auburn, 6-5, 320, Jr., Sugar Hill, Georgia
DT - Terry Beckner Jr., Missouri, 6-4, 295, Sr., East St. Louis, Illinois
LB - De’Jon Harris, Arkansas, 6-0, 245, Jr., Harvey, Louisiana
LB - Erroll Thompson, Mississippi State, 6-1, 250, So., Florence, Alabama
LB —D’Andre Walker, Georgia, 6-3, 245, Sr., Fairburn, Georgia
CB - Cameron Dantzler, Mississippi State, 6-2, 175, So., Hammond, Louisiana
CB - Joejuan Williams, Vanderbilt, 6-3, 210, Jr., Nashville, Tennessee
S - Mike Edwards, Kentucky, 6-0, 201, Sr., Cincinnati
S - Deionte Thompson, Alabama, 6-2, 196, Jr., Orange, Texas
P - Zach Von Rosenberg, LSU, 6-5, 245, So., Lake Charles, Louisiana
Reggie Anderson, WLTX, Columbia, South Carolina
Ben Baby, Dallas Morning News
Matt Baker, Tampa Bay (Florida) Times
John Bednarowski, Marietta (Georgia) Daily Journal
Robert Cessna, The Eagle, Bryan-College Station, Texas
John Clay, Lexington (Kentucky) Herald-Leader
David Cloninger, The Post and Courier, Charleston, South Carolina
Joel Coleman, Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal
Pat Dooley, The Gainesville (Florida) Sun
Garland Gillen, WVUE, New Orleans
Tom Green, Alabama Media Group
Jon Hale, The Courier-Journal, Louisville, Kentucky
Bob Holt, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
Ben Jones, The Tuscaloosa (Alabama) News
Steve Layman, WTVF, Nashville, Tennessee
Logan Lowery, Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal
Maria Martin, WSFA, Montgomery, Alabama
Dave Matter, St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Tom Murphy, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
Patrick Murray, WBIR, Knoxville, Tennessee
Scott Rabalais, The Advocate, Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Alex Schiffer, Kansas City Star
Adam Sparks, The Tennessean, Nashville, Tennessee
Nick Suss, The Clarion-Ledger, Jackson, Mississippi
Jake Thompson, The Oxford (Mississippi) Eagle
Blake Toppmeyer, Knoxville (Tennessee) News-Sentinel
Josh Vitale, Montgomery (Alabama) Advertiser
Marc Weiszer, Athens (Georgia) Banner-Herald