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Four Named to Coaches Pre-season Team

BY ANDRES FOCIL
Four Named to Coaches Pre-season Team

Michael Smith, D.J. Williams, Malcolm Sheppard and Mitch Petrus of the Arkansas football team were named to the Southeastern Conference’s Coaches Pre-Season All-SEC teams as voted on by the league’s coaches and released by the SEC office Thursday. Smith represented the Razorbacks on the first-team offense, while Williams was a second-team selection and Petrus was named to the third team. Sheppard was chosen for the second-team defense. Smith is considered by many as the top running back in the SEC. He has played in 31 career games with nine starts, all of which came in 2008. Last year, he carried the ball 207 times for 1,072 yards and eight touchdowns. By doing so, he became the ninth player in school history to rush for more than 1,000 yards in a season. He had 509 rushing yards against Top 25 teams, which was the sixth-highest total by any running back in the nation. He also had 32 receptions for 298 yards and two touchdowns. Williams has been called the best catch-passing tight end in the nation. In 2008, he was the first Mackey Award semifinalist in school history. He is the only 2008 award semifinalist returning to college football this year who led his team in receptions (61), receiving yards (723) and receiving touchdowns (3) a season ago. His 61 receptions as a sophomore ranked as the second-highest single-season total in school history and the most by a tight end. According to the UA coaching staff, Sheppard has the best work ethic on the team. Sheppard returns to anchor the Arkansas defensive line after having 65 tackles in 2008. He ranked second in the SEC in tackles for loss (13.5) last year and was third in sacks (6). He also led the Razorbacks with 11 quarterback hurries. After redshirting last season, Petrus returns to the offensive line. He has seen action in 36 career games and has had 12 starts. He was a second-team pre-season selection by the league coaches in 2008. This marks the sixth-straight year of the SEC Coaches Pre-Season All-SEC Team. The team is announced each year in advance of the SEC Football Media Days. This year, the event will be held next week, Wednesday through Friday, at the Wynfrey Hotel in Hoover, Ala.



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