Campus Corner

A&M’s Manziel is SEC player of the year, MU’s Richardson on first team

Sheldon Richardson was Missouri’s lone selection to The Associated Press’ all-Southeastern Conference team announced Monday, making the first team at defensive tackle.

Richardson, a 6-foot-4, 295-pound native of St. Louis, had a breakout year for the Tigers, racking up 75 tackles, 10½ tackles for loss and four sacks. He had the second-most tackles for MU this season, something rarely done by an interior lineman, and had the most tackles among all players at his position in the Southeastern Conference.

The other SEC newcomer fared much better. Texas A&M freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel was a unanimous choice for offensive player of the year and the Aggies’ Kevin Sumlin was chosen coach of the year, beating out Florida’s Will Muschamp.

Manziel, known as “Johnny Football,” passed for 3,419 yards and 24 touchdowns, rushed for 1,181 yards and an SEC-leading 19 TDs, and guided the Aggies to a 10-2 regular season, including an upset of No. 2 Alabama in Tuscaloosa. He also was an overwhelming choice as freshman of the year, in addition to being selected on all ballots as the first-team quarterback — not bad in a league that features the nation’s two highest-rated passers: Alabama’s A.J. McCarron and Georgia’s Aaron Murray.

“This season has been incredibly surreal,” Manziel said. “It’s beyond my wildest imagination. It’s a true testament to how this team has grown every week, because without these guys none of my individual success would be anything.”

Georgia linebacker Jarvis Jones edged out South Carolina’s Jadeveon Clowney for the defensive player of the year award. Jones leads the conference with 22 1/2 tackles behind the line and ranks second to Clowney with 12 1/2 sacks.

Five other players were unanimous picks for the first team: Clowney, cornerbacks Johnthan Banks of Mississippi State and Dee Milliner of Alabama, Arkansas receiver Cobi Hamilton, and Alabama center Barrett Jones.

Florida, which had a comeback season under Muschamp and earned a BCS bid to the Sugar Bowl, led all schools with six players on the first team. Tight end Jordan Reed and running back Mike Gillislee made it from the offense, tackle Sharrif Floyd and safety Matt Elam represented the defense, and the Gators landed both specialists off their superb special teams — kicker Caleb Sturgis and punter Kyle Christy.

Alabama, which will be seeking its third national title in four years when it faces the Fighting Irish, had four first-teamers. Barrett Jones and Milliner were joined by offensive lineman Chance Warmack and linebacker C.J. Mosley.

Texas A&M also landed four players on the first team. Two of the linemen who protected Manziel so well, Luke Joeckel and Jake Matthews, were selected by the voters, as was defensive end Damontre Moore.

The rest of the first team included Georgia freshman running back Todd Gurley, receiver Jordan Matthews of Vanderbilt, all-purpose threat Cordarrelle Patterson of Tennessee, offensive lineman Gabe Jackson of Mississippi State, defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson of Missouri and a pair of LSU defensive standouts, linebacker Kevin Minter and safety Eric Reid.

The team was selected by a panel comprised of 14 media members representing each of the expanded conference’s 11 states.