Tom Murphy is a reporter for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A graduate of Louisiana Tech University, he is a member of the Football Writers Association of America, and voter for the Heisman Trophy and AP Top 25 football poll. Murphy was the 2017 Arkansas Sportswriter of the Year.
Hogs' Stromberg wins blocking award
Arkansas offensive lineman Ricky Stromberg (51) gets ready to run a play against Alabama during an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022, in Fayetteville. (AP Photo/Michael Woods)
FAYETTEVILLE — The awards keep rolling in for Arkansas center Ricky Stromberg.
The senior from Tulsa, Okla., a first-team All-SEC choice by the league's coaches and the Associated Press earlier this week, was announced Wednesday as the winner of the Jacobs Blocking Trophy. The award is voted on by SEC coaches and given annually to the conference's most outstanding blocker.
Stromberg, a 6-4, 313-pounder who started all 12 games and played 898 snaps, has declared for the NFL Draft. He will not play in the Liberty Bowl against Kansas later this month.
Stromberg did not allow a sack or a quarterback hit all season and helped pave the way for the nation’s No. 9 rushing offense at 223.4 yards per game.
Georgia’s seventh-year coach Kirby Smart, who led the Bulldogs to a 13-0 start, the SEC championship and the No. 1 ranking in the College Football Playoff, was voted as coach of the year by his peers.
The Bulldogs pulled down two of the top individual awards. Kicker Jack Podlesny was selected as the special teams player of the year.
Podlesny leads the SEC in field goal percentage at 88.5% after making 23 of 26 tries. Additionally, 73 of his 91 kickoffs were either touchbacks or fair catches.
Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker was chosen as the SEC offensive player of the year after passing for 3,135 yards and 27 touchdowns to go with 430 rushing yards and 7 touchdowns. He led the league in passing efficiency and total offense.
Hooker, who suffered a torn knee ligament late in the season and will be out for the Volunteers’ matchup against Clemson in the Orange Bowl, helped Tennessee lead the nation with 47.3 points and 538.1 yards per game.
Alabama linebacker Will Anderson repeated as the SEC defensive player of the year. The junior leads the SEC and ranks sixth in the country with 10 sacks.
He is seventh in the nation with 17 tackles for loss. Anderson is the first repeat winer of SEC defensive player of the year since the award’s inception in 2003.
Ole Miss tailback Quinshon Judkins was voted as SEC freshman of the year. Judkins broke Ole Miss single-season records with an SEC-best 1,476 rushing yards and 16 touchdowns.
He ranks third in SEC history for rushing yards by a freshman.
Smart is the first man since Alabama’s Nick Saban in 2008-09 to be named SEC coach of the year in consecutive seasons. His Bulldogs take on No. 4 seed Ohio State in the Peach Bowl, a CFP semifinal, on Dec. 31 in Atlanta.
The SEC announced that its All-Freshman team will be released Thursday.
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