FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Arkansas tailback Darren McFadden racked up an armload full of pre-season awards from The Birmingham News over the weekend. The Heisman Trophy runner-up earned first-team All-Southeastern Conference honors as well as a number of the Best of the SEC Awards voted on by the league’s sports information directors.
McFadden was named as the SEC’s most valuable player, the league’s top Heisman Trophy candidate, the conference’s best athlete and the league’s best runner. The Little Rock native also finished as the runner-up in voting for the SEC’s best leader.
McFadden was joined on the SEC first-team offense by junior center Jonathan Luigs. Luigs was also named as the runner-up for the SEC’s best offensive lineman. Senior Robert Felton and junior tailback Felix Jones each earned spots on the second-team All-SEC offense. Jones was also tabbed as the best kick returner in the league. In addition, senior fullback Peyton Hillis was recognized as the SEC’s top blocking back.
Arkansas also featured two players on the second-team All-SEC defense. Senior linebacker Weston Dacus and senior defensive tackle Marcus Harrison earned spots on the pre-season all-conference listing.
The league’s sports information directors pegged Arkansas to finish in a tie third in the Southeastern Conference’s Western Division. Despite finishing tied with Alabama for third in the SEC Western Division predictions, Arkansas was rated sixth overall in the league ahead of the Crimson Tide.
LSU was picked as the favorite to win the western division as well as the overall league title. Auburn was ranked second in the SEC West followed by Arkansas (T-3rd), Alabama (T-3rd), Ole Miss and Mississippi State.
Florida was the pre-season choice in the eastern division with Tennessee, Georgia, Kentucky, South Carolina and Vanderbilt rounding out the team finish predictions.
Sports Information Directors aren’t allowed to vote for their own schools in the team voting but are allowed to nominate their players for the All-SEC and Best of the SEC Awards.