SEC FOOTBALL INDIVIDUAL AWARDS ANNOUNCED
McElroy, Newton, Peterson, Lattimore, Ziemba and Spurrier given league’s top honors
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- Auburn quarterback Cam Newton and LSU defensive back/return specialist Patrick Peterson were voted as the Southeastern Conference’s top offensive player, top defensive player and top special teams player, respectively, in a vote of the league’s coaches, it was announced on Wednesday.
The league’s coaches also selected Greg McElroy of Alabama as the league’s scholar-athlete of the year and South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore as the top freshman performer.
Auburn offensive lineman Lee Ziemba was selected as the recipient of the Jacobs Trophy, given to the league’s top blocker. South Carolina’s Steve Spurrier was voted by his peers as the SEC Coach of the Year.
Newton has accounted for a nation-best 49 touchdowns this season, setting Auburn single-season records for passing touchdowns (28) and rushing touchdowns (20) while also catching one. He is one of just three players to rush for and pass for 20 touchdowns in a single season. Newton leads the nation in passing efficiency (188.16) and leads the SEC in rushing (108.4) and total offense (307.5). He also became the first player in SEC history to total 2,000 yards passing and 1,000 yards rushing in a single season.
Peterson picked off four passes and recorded six pass breakups to go along with 36 total tackles on defense. He ranked second in the SEC in punt returns with a 17.9-yard average per return and second in kickoff returns with a 29.3-yard average. He also broke the school record for kickoff return yards in a single season with 851. Peterson returned two punts for touchdowns - an 87-yard return against North Carolina and a 60-yard return versus West Virginia - and he ranked fourth in the conference with 116.9 all-purpose yards a game.
Heading into the Chick-fil-A Bowl, Lattimore has carried 248 times for 1,198 yards and is third-highest in single-season rushing yards at Carolina. Lattimore's 99.8 yards rushing per game is the highest by a running back in the SEC and second-highest in the league among all offensive players. He is also second in the league in scoring with his 19 touchdowns.
McElroy, who is 23-2 as a starting quarterback for the Crimson Tide, graduated in three years with a degree in business marketing and is finishing his graduate degree in sports administration this fall. He completed his undergraduate work with a 3.82 grade point average and has a 4.0 GPA in graduate school. He was selected as the ESPN Academic All-American of the Year and was a finalist for a Rhodes Scholarship.
Ziemba started all 13 games and has been a key part of Auburn's record-setting offense that leads the SEC in scoring offense (42.7), total offense (497.7), rushing offense (287.2) and first downs (24.3). The Tigers rushed for more than 300 yards against six consecutive SEC opponents for the first time in school history, and have scored at least 50 points a school-record six times this season.
Spurrier guided the Gamecocks to a 9-3 regular season and South Carolina’s first berth in the SEC Championship Game as champions of the Eastern Division. In a season of milestones, USC defeated Florida in Gainesville for the first time and has defeated Clemson in consecutive games for the first time since 1968-70. The Gamecocks (9-4) have only won nine games twice before in 117 seasons of football, going 10-2 in 1984 and 9-3 in 2001. Carolina will face Florida State in the 2010 Chick-fil-A Bowl at 7:30 p.m. ET on December 31, 2010, in the Georgia Dome.
2010 SEC FOOTBALL INDIVIDUAL AWARDS
Scholar-Athlete of the Year
Greg McElroy, QB, Alabama
Offensive Player of the Year
Cam Newton, QB, Auburn
Defensive Player of the Year
Patrick Peterson, DB, LSU
Special Teams Player of the Year
Patrick Peterson, RS, LSU
Freshman of the Year
Marcus Lattimore, RB, South Carolina
Jacobs Blocking Trophy
Lee Ziemba, OL, Auburn
Coach of the Year
Steve Spurrier, South Carolina