UK Football

Two of AP’s top postseason SEC football awards belong to Kentucky

Mark Stoops calls win over Louisville ‘gratifying ... good to see it all come together’

Kentucky football coach Mark Stoops talks to the media after his team defeated host Louisville 56-10 on Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018. The Wildcats finished the regular season 9-3 and will play in a yet-to-be-determined bowl game.
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Kentucky football coach Mark Stoops talks to the media after his team defeated host Louisville 56-10 on Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018. The Wildcats finished the regular season 9-3 and will play in a yet-to-be-determined bowl game.

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


u-Unanimous selection


Voting Panel:

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

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