University of Missouri

Missouri’s Shane Ray is AP’s SEC defensive player of year

Kentucky Wildcats center Jon Toth (72) and Kentucky Wildcats offensive tackle Jordan Swindle (70) help Kentucky Wildcats quarterback Patrick Towles (14) off of the turf as Missouri Tigers defensive lineman Shane Ray (56) celebrates the first of two second-half sacks in the third quarter during Saturday's Univeristy of Missouri and University of Kentucky SEC football game at Faurot Field on Nov. 1, 2014 in Columbia, Mo. Missouri beat Kentucky 20-10. Ray set a University of Missouri record for sacks in a single season with 12 during the game.
Kentucky Wildcats center Jon Toth (72) and Kentucky Wildcats offensive tackle Jordan Swindle (70) help Kentucky Wildcats quarterback Patrick Towles (14) off of the turf as Missouri Tigers defensive lineman Shane Ray (56) celebrates the first of two second-half sacks in the third quarter during Saturday's Univeristy of Missouri and University of Kentucky SEC football game at Faurot Field on Nov. 1, 2014 in Columbia, Mo. Missouri beat Kentucky 20-10. Ray set a University of Missouri record for sacks in a single season with 12 during the game. The Kansas City Star

Missouri’s Shane Ray was the best defensive player in the Southeastern Conference in 2014, according to The Associated Press.

Ray was chosen SEC defensive player of the year Monday when the news organization released its annual All-SEC football picks.

It is the second straight year a Tigers defensive lineman won the award. Michael Sam was the AP defensive player of the year for 2013.

Ray — a 6-foot-3, 245-pound Kansas City native and Bishop Miege graduate — led the SEC with a Missouri single-season record 14 sacks and also had an SEC-best 21 tackles for loss.

His performance at right end helped spur the Tigers to a 10-3 record and Citrus Bowl berth.

Ray was one of three Missouri players chosen to the AP’s All-SEC first team, joining senior wide receiver Bud Sasser and senior running back Marcus Murphy as an all-purpose player.

Sasser — a 6-2, 220-pound native of Denton, Texas — finished second in the SEC with 5.4 receptions per game and was fourth with 71.9 receiving yards per game, finishing with 70 catches for 935 yards and 10 touchdowns.

He and South Carolina’s Pharoh Cooper tied for a first-team spot behind Alabama’s Amari Cooper, who was chosen as the AP’s SEC offensive player of the year.

Murphy — a 5-9, 195-pound native of DeSoto, Texas — finished with a league-high 1,714 all-purpose yards: 767 yards rushing, 196 receiving, 273 on punt returns and 478 on kickoff returns.

He led the SEC with a 29.9-yard kickoff-return average and scored return touchdowns against South Dakota State and Florida. He was fourth in the SEC with a 11.4-yard punt-return average, including another return score against the Gators.

Two Tigers landed on the second team, junior linebacker Kentrell Brothers and senior safety Braylon Webb. Senior defensive end Markus Golden and sophomore defensive tackle Harold Brantley received honorable mention.

Missouri had seven players honored overall for the second consecutive season.

Mississippi State’s Dan Mullen was the conference coach of the year and Georgia running back Nick Chubb won freshman of the year.

All-SEC first-team offense

▪ Center: Reese Dismukes, Auburn, 6-3, 295, Sr.

▪ Linemen: La’el Collins, LSU, 6-5, 321, Sr.; Ben Beckwith, Mississippi State, 6-3, 306, Sr.; Arie Kouandjio, Alabama, 6-5, 315, Sr.; Laremy Tunsil, Mississippi, 6-5, 305, So.

▪ Tight end: Evan Engram, Mississippi, 6-3, 227, So.

▪ Receivers: u-Amari Cooper, Alabama, 6-1, 210, Jr.; (tie) Pharoh Cooper, South Carolina, 5-11, 201, So.; (tie) Bud Sasser, Missouri, 6-2, 220, Sr.

▪ Running backs: Cameron Artis-Payne, Auburn, 5-11, 210, Sr.; Nick Chubb, Georgia, 5-10, 228, Fr.

▪ Quarterback: Dak Prescott, Mississippi State, 6-2, 230, Jr.

▪ All-purpose: Marcus Murphy, Missouri, 5-9, 190, Sr.

▪ Kicker: Austin MacGinnis, Kentucky, 5-10, 168, Fr.

All-SEC first-team defense

▪ Ends: Shane Ray, Missouri, 6-3, 245, Jr.; Bud Dupree, Kentucky, 6-4, 264, Sr.

▪ Tackles: Robert Nkemdiche, Mississippi, 6-4, 280, So.; Johnathan Allen, Alabama, 6-3, 272, Sr.

▪ Linebackers: Martrell Spaight, Arkansas, 6-2, 231, Sr.; Reggie Ragland, Alabama, 6-2, 254, Jr.; Amarlo Herrera, Georgia, 6-2, 231, Sr.

▪ Cornerbacks: u-Senquez Golson, Mississippi, 5-9, 176, Sr.; Vernon Hargreaves III, Florida, 5-11, 195, So.

▪ Safeties: u-Landon Collins, Alabama, 6-0, 222, Jr.; Cody Prewitt, Mississippi, 6-2, 217, Sr.

▪ Punter: JK Scott, Alabama, 6-4, 185, Fr.

All-SEC second-team offense

▪ Center: David Andrews, Georgia, 6-2, 294, Sr.

▪ Linemen: Greg Pyke, Georgia, 6-6, 321, So.; A.J. Cann, South Carolina, 6-4, 311, Sr.; Cedric Ogbuehi, Texas A&M, 6-5, 305, Sr.; Austin Shepherd, Alabama, 6-5, 320, Sr.

▪ Tight end: Steven Scheu, Vanderbilt, 6-5, 250, Jr.

▪ Receivers: Josh Reynolds, Texas A&M, 6-4, 190, So.; Sammie Coates, Auburn, 6-2, 201, Jr.

▪ Running backs: Josh Robinson, Mississippi State, 5-9, 215, Jr.; Jonathan Williams, Arkansas, 6-0, 223, Jr.

▪ Quarterback: Blake Sims, Alabama, 6-0, 208, Sr.

▪ All-purpose: Pharoh Cooper, South Carolina, 5-11, 201, So.

▪ Kicker: Josh Lambo, Texas A&M, 6-0, 220, Sr.

All-SEC second-team defense

▪ Ends: Preston Smith, Mississippi State, 6-6, 270, Sr.; Derek Barnett, Tennessee, 6-3, 267, Fr.

▪ Tackles: Myles Garrett, Texas A&M, 6-5, 255, Fr.; Darius Philon, Arkansas, 6-2, 272, So.

▪ Linebackers: Benardrick McKinney, Mississippi State, 6-5, 249, Jr.; (tie) Kwon Alexander, LSU, 6-2, 227, Jr.; (tie) Kentrell Brothers, Missouri, 6-1, 240, Jr.; (tie) Antonio Morrison, Florida, 6-1, 225, Jr.; (tie) Curt Maggitt, Tennessee, 6-3, 251, Jr.; (tie) Ramik Wilson, Georgia, 6-2, 237, Sr.

▪ Cornerbacks: (tie) Cyrus Jones, Alabama, 5-10, 194, Jr.; (tie) Damian Swann, Georgia, 5-11, 180, Sr.; (tie) Jonathan Jones, Auburn, 5-10, 182, Jr.

Safeties: Braylon Webb, Missouri, 6-0, 200, Sr.; (tie) Ronald Martin, LSU, 6-2, 220, Sr.; (tie) Tony Conner, Mississippi, 6-0, 217, So.

▪ Punter: Kyle Christy, Florida, 6-3, 198, Sr.

Honorable mention

▪ Offense: Vadal Alexander, L, LSU, 6-6, 320, Jr.; Daniel Carlson, PK, Auburn, 6-4, 215, Fr.; Andre Debose, All-Purpose, Florida, 6-0, 195, Sr.; Hunter Henry, TE, Arkansas, 6-5, 250, So.; Ryan Kelly, C, Alabama, 6-5, 296, Jr.; Denver Kirkland, L, Arkansas, 6-5, 337, So.; Marshall Morgan, PK, Georgia, 6-3, 200, Jr.; Speedy Noil, All-Purpose, Texas A&M, 5-11, 185, Fr.; Dan Skipper, L, Arkansas, 6-10, 326, So.; John Theus, L, Georgia, 6-6, 313, Jr.

▪ Defense: Harold Brantley, T, Missouri, 6-3, 290, So.; Trey DePriest, LB, Alabama, 6-2, 250, Sr.; Trey Flowers, E, Arkansas, 6-3, 270, Sr.; Leonard Floyd, LB, Georgia, 6-4, 230, So.; Dante Fowler Jr., E, Florida, 6-3, 260, Jr.; Markus Golden, E, Missouri, 6-3, 260, Sr.; A.J. Johnson, LB, Tennessee, 6-2, 245, Sr.; Quincy Mauger, S, Georgia, 6-0, 199, So.; Jarran Reed, T, Alabama, 6-4, 315, Jr.; A’Shawn Robinson, NG, Alabama, 6-4, 320, So.; Gabe Wright, T, Auburn, 6-3, 284, Sr.

u-unanimous selection to first team; t-tied at a position

To reach Tod Palmer, call 816-234-4389 or send email to tpalmer@kcstar.com. Follow him on Twitter: @todpalmer.

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