Wednesday, December 10, 2008

2008 SEC Team MVPs Part 1: The East

(*Note: This article is part 1 of a 2 part series which will highlight the individual team MVPs for each of the schools in the Southeastern Conference.)

FloridaTim Tebow, Quarterback

Tim Tebow led his Florida Gator squad to their second SEC Championship by playing hard week in and week out. While his numbers may not have been the record breaking numbers he put up during his Heisman season in 2007, he still accounted for 40 touchdowns. Tebow completed nearly 65% of his passes for 28 touchdown passes while only throwing 2 interceptions and also added 564 yards and 12 scores on the ground. While some may argue that Percy Harvin is the best all-around player on the team, Tebow was the reason the Gators were able to knock off Alabama with Harvin out of the line-up.

Tebow’s 2008 Highlights

When Tebow finally decides to leave the Gators, he will be remembered as player who left his heart out on the field. He reminds us of a certain defensive end who played at Georgia from 2001-2004:

Pollack Video

GeorgiaKnowshon Moreno, Tailback

While Matthew Stafford, Mohamed Massaquoi and AJ Green all had great seasons for the Dawgs, no one was more important to the Bulldog offense than #24. When Georgia lost to Florida and Alabama, Knowshon was surprisingly absent from the field. He had a number of amazing runs, including a 68-yard touchdown run in UGA's victory over LSU and his first career touchdown reception that finally put the Dawgs in the end zone against Auburn. For the season, Moreno averaged nearly 6 yards per carry totaling 1338 yards and 16 touchdowns on the ground. He also had 27 receptions for 329 yards and a touchdown. In his 2 years in Athens, Knowshon has racked up over 2,600 yards and 30 touchdowns.

Knowshon also made one of the most memorable plays of the 2008 college football season:

The entire Bulldog Nation wishes Knowshon the best if he decides to leave early for the pros.

Kentucky Trevard Lindley, Cornerback

No team (except for maybe Georgia) was decimated by injury more than the Kentucky Wildcats. Losing their senior leader, Dicky Lyons Jr., and failing to find a quarterback until late in the season left Kentucky to rely heavily on its defense to keep them in games. One player who stepped up on the defensive side of the ball was junior cornerback Trevard Lindley. Lindley had a league leading 11 pass deflections and 4 interceptions. He returned 1 of those interceptions for a touchdown in their narrow loss to South Carolina. His 34 career pass break ups is a school record and he was named as a member of the All-SEC first team.

South CarolinaEric Norwood, Linebacker

South Carolina was led by a number of veteran leaders who helped make Steve Spurrier’s defense one of the stiffest in the entire SEC. Captain Munnerlyn and Jasper Brinkley both made large contributions, but no one’s effort was more important than those of Eric Norwood. The All-SEC linebacker tallied 66 total tackles (42 solo) and a league leading 9 sacks. Norwood was constantly after the quarterback, sometimes lining up at defensive end and totaled 9 QB hurries on the year. Only a junior, Norwood will be looked upon to lead the Gamecock defense in 2009.

TennesseeEric Berry, Safety

A disappointing 5-7 season in Knoxville and the firing of Philip Fulmer overshadowed the amazing year turned in by Creekside High School alum Eric Berry. The sophomore safety turned in an amazing season that earned him SEC Defensive Player of the Year honors. Berry led D-1 with 7 interceptions, amassing 265 yards in returns and 2 touchdowns. He also became a feared hitter across the middle of the field and added 72 tackles (44 solo and 9 for loss), 3 sacks, and 6 deflections to his resume. Berry is a bright point that potential new defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin can build around in 2009.

We all remember these two amazing plays Berry turned in this fall in Athens.

VanderbiltDJ Moore, Cornerback/Wide Receiver

DJ Moore was Mr. Everything as the Vanderbilt Commodores became bowl eligible for the first time in 26 years. Never were his talents more on display than in the bowl eligibility clinching victory over Kentucky in November. Moore had 2 interceptions and 2 touchdown catches as Vanderbilt beat the Wildcats in Lexington, 31-24. At his natural position of corner, Moore had 54 total tackles (including a sack) with 6 interceptions and 6 pass deflections. His contributions on offense included 73 yards rushing on 9 carries and 7 receptions for 143 and two scores. Moore also acted as a kickoff and punt returner for the ‘Dores, contributing 651 total yards.


Earl said...

Eric Berry = Badass

Wish we had him and GT's Morgan Burnett in the defensive backfield. Finished 2nd in recruiting for both. With those two back there, Reshad Jones might be motivated to live up to his billing.

Ally said...

Tebow compared to Pollack? Seriously?

That just made me throw up a little.

Streit said...

I know. It made me feel sick as well to write it, but the fact is it is kinda of true. Both were strong leaders with strong Christian beliefs (both of them refused to be a part of the Playboy All-American team) and are absoluted despised by other teams fans.

Believe me, I dislike the guy just as much or more than anyone. But his value to the Gators' offense is unlike anything I've seen in the SEC since Pollack.