BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Southeastern Conference champion Alabama claimed four of the SEC’s seven individual football awards as voted on by the league’s head coaches, it was announced Wednesday.
Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa was named SEC Offensive Player of the Year, while Kentucky’s Josh Allen was named Defensive Player of the Year. Texas A&M’s Braden Mann was voted Special Teams Player of the Year, Alabama’s Jaylen Waddle was voted SEC Freshman of the Year and the Crimson Tide’s Hale Hentges was selected as Scholar-Athlete of the Year. Alabama’s Jonah Williams was named winner of the Jacobs Blocking Trophy, while Kentucky coach Mark Stoops was named SEC Coach of the Year.
Tagovailoa has thrown for 3,353 yards this season and set a school record with 37 touchdown passes. He has thrown for 300 or more yards in five of Alabama’s games, and he also set a school record with a combined 42 passing and rushing touchdowns. Tagovailoa is tied for second on Alabama’s all-time career touchdown pass list with 48. He is one of three finalists for the Heisman Trophy.
Allen set the Kentucky record with 28.5 career sacks, including a school-record 14 in 2018. He is the SEC’s leader in sacks, tackles for loss (18.5) and forced fumbles (5). Allen is tied for first on Kentucky’s all-time career forced fumbles list with 11. He was named winner of the Bronko Nagurski Trophy awarded to the nation’s top defensive player.
Mann is the first Aggie to be named SEC Special Teams Player of the Year. He is the current FBS leader with a 51.15 punting average. He has set a pair of NCAA records in 2018 with a 60.8 gross punt average on five punts against Alabama and 14 60-yard punts for the season. Mann is a finalist for the Ray Guy Award presented to the nation’s top punter.
Waddle leads all SEC freshmen with 61.8 receiving yards per game and seven touchdown receptions. He is fourth in the SEC in yards per catch (19.6) and second in punt return average (15.1). Waddle has returned one punt for a touchdown this season.
Hentges graduated Magna Cum Laude in three years and is now pursuing a master’s in marketing. He earned a 3.74 GPA as an undergraduate and holds a 4.0 GPA in his master’s program. A CoSIDA Academic All-District honoree, Hentges has played in all 13 games this season and has a pair of touchdown receptions.
Williams has started all 13 games this season for Alabama and has helped pave the way for an offense that leads the SEC with 527.6 yards per game. The Crimson Tide leads the FBS with 11 games of 500+ total yards.
Stoops led Kentucky to a 9-3 regular season record, including a 5-3 mark in SEC play, both of which are the best for the Wildcats since 1977. Kentucky earned a bid to the Citrus Bowl for the first time in school history, and the Wildcats will play in a New Year’s Day bowl for the first time since 1998.
Coaches were not permitted to vote for their own players.
The SEC All-Freshman Team will be announced Thursday.
2018 SEC Football Awards
Offensive Player Of The Year
Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama
Defensive Player of the Year
Josh Allen, Kentucky
Special Teams Player of the Year
Braden Mann, Texas A&M
Freshman of the Year
Jaylen Waddle, Alabama
Scholar-Athlete of the Year
Hale Hentges, Alabama
Jacobs Blocking Trophy
Jonah Williams, Alabama
Coach of the Year
Mark Stoops, Kentucky