FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Nine University of Arkansas players earned All-Southeastern Conference recognition while sophomore tailback Darren McFadden and head coach Houston Nutt were named SEC Offensive Player of the Year and SEC Head Coach of the Year, respectively, by The Associated Press on Monday.
Arkansas placed five players on the first team and another four players on the second team. Five offensive players were recognized and four defensive players were selected along with tailback Felix Jones also earning all-purpose back honors for this play on special teams.
McFadden was tabbed as the offensive player of the year and a unanimous choice first-team running back after posting a banner season. The Little Rock, Ark., native rushed for 1,558 yards and 14 touchdowns on 265 carries. McFadden also racked up yardage out of the “Wildcat” formation lining up at quarterback. He completed six passes for 72 yards and three touchdowns. He is a Doak Walker Award finalist and is in contention to be a Heisman Trophy finalist.
Nutt was a run-away winner for the coach of the year award. The ninth-year Arkansas head coach led Arkansas to a 10-3 record and an SEC Western Division Championship. The Hogs reeled off 10-consecutive wins after a season-opening loss to Southern California. Arkansas earned wins over three nationally ranked teams including No. 2 Auburn, No. 13 Tennessee and No. 22 Alabama.
Senior Tony Ugoh and sophomore center Jonathan Luigs represented the Hogs’ offensive line on the first team All-SEC squad. Ugoh is having a career year for the Razorbacks racking up more than 61 knockdown blocks this season. Luigs is a finalist for the Rimington Trophy, presented annually to the top center in the nation. Senior Stephen Parker tallied second-team All-SEC honors after starting 12 of 13 games at left guard.
All three players have helped the Hogs lead the SEC and rank fourth in the nation in rushing offense with an average of 228.2 yards per game. Arkansas also leads the nation in the fewest sacks allowed with the Hogs yielding only 0.62 sacks per game (8 in 13 games).
Jones earned second-team All-SEC accolades at both running back and as an all-purpose back. The Tulsa, Okla., product has rushed for 1,018 yards and four touchdowns at tailback. He has also been outstanding as a kickoff returner averaging 27.7 yards per return this season.
Arkansas’ defense was well-represented in the lists released Monday. Senior linebacker Sam Olajubutu and junior defensive end Jamaal Anderson were named to the first team while senior defensive tackle Keith Jackson and junior cornerback Chris Houston earned second-team honors.
Olajubutu leads the Razorbacks in tackles with 112 stops in 2006. He has 10.0 tackles for loss (-33) and 2.5 sacks (-9). Earlier this season, Olajubutu became only the 14th player in school history to earn 300 tackles in his career earlier this season. He has 369 career tackles following the 2006 SEC Championship Game.
Anderson has been the most dominant pass rusher in the SEC this season. He has tallied 60 tackles including a league-leading 11.0 sacks (-76). He has garnered a total of 15.5 tackles for loss (-86) and has racked up a team-high 22 quarterback hurries.
Jackson leads all Razorback defensive linemen with 74 tackles, including 5.5 tackles for loss (-21) and 1.5 sacks (-15). The Little Rock, Ark., product also returned an interception for 69 yards and a touchdown in the Hogs’ win over Southeast Missouri State.
Houston has spent all season containing some of the best wide receivers in the nation. The junior held USC’s Dwayne Jarrett to his lowest receiving output in 34 games and stifled other standouts including Tennessee’s Robert Meachum, Auburn’s Courtney Taylor and Vanderbilt’s Earl Bennett. Houston has 43 tackles and two interceptions this season. He has also broken up 12 passes.