FAYETTEVILLE – The University of Arkansas football team placed four student-athletes on the Coaches’ Preseason All-SEC teams, which were announced Thursday.
All four of the Razorbacks recognized were seniors, led by center Travis Swanson and defensive end Chris Smith on the first team. Offensive tackle David Hurd and kicker Zach Hocker were voted third-team preseason All-SEC performers.
Swanson has been included on numerous preseason All-American and All-SEC teams in apition to watch lists for the Rimington Trophy, Outland Trophy and Rotary Lombardi Award. The Kingwood, Texas, native was a team captain and earned second-team All-SEC honors in 2012 after leading an offensive line that allowed just 1.58 sacks per game to rank third in the conference and blocked as 24 school or SEC records were broken. Swanson has started all 38 games of his collegiate career, which is tied for the fourth-longest active consecutive games started streak in the country. He has blocked for a 3,000-yard passer in each season, including the first season in school history with a 3,000-yard passer and 1,000-yard rusher and the first time in school history the Razorbacks produced a 1,000-yard receiver in consecutive seasons.
Smith has been a near-consensus first-team preseason All-SEC selection heading into the 2013 campaign. He also has been named to watch lists for the Bednarik Award, Bronko Nagurski Trophy, Rotary Lombardi Award and Hendricks Award. The Mount Ulla, N.C., native started all 12 games last season, recording 52 tackles, 13.0 for loss with 9.5 sacks, 12 quarterback hurries, four pass breakups and one fumble. He and Jadeveon Clowney are the only two returners in the SEC with at least 9.0 sacks last season. Smith’s sacks total ranked seventh on Arkansas’ single-season list, and his average of 0.79 sacks per game ranked fourth in the SEC and 25th in the NCAA. His average of 1.08 tackles for loss per game tied for fifth in the conference with teammate Trey Flowers. Smith enters 2013 tied for 12th on UA’s career sacks list with 13.0.
Hurd started all 11 games in which he appeared during the 2012 season. The West Monroe, La., native helped lead the offensive line as 24 school or SEC records were broken last season. Arkansas’ offense also produced a 3,000-yard passer for the third straight year and a 1,000-yard receiver for the second straight season in 2012 as Tyler Wilson led the SEC in passing and Cobi Hamilton topped the conference in receptions per game and receiving yards per game. Arkansas also ranked third in the SEC by allowing just 1.58 sacks per game, including eight games with 1.0 or fewer sacks allowed.
Hocker enters the 2013 season as the SEC’s active career leader in total points scored, points per game and PATs made and holds school career records for points by a kicker, made PATs and PAT attempts. In his first three seasons, the Russellville, Ark., native has scored 287 points by connecting on 143-of-145 PATs and 48-of-64 field goals. In apition to his school records, he ranks in the top five on Arkansas’ career lists for total points scored, field goal percentage, made field goals and field goal attempts. Last season, he led the NCAA with an average kickoff of 64.7 yards, ranked second in the SEC and sixth in the nation with a touchback percentage of 67.27 and ranked third in the conference and tied for 11th in the country with 39 touchbacks.
The Razorbacks open their season Aug. 31 by hosting Louisiana inside Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville.
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