Johnny Football is Mr. SEC.
Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel was a unanimous choice Monday for Associated Press Southeastern Conference offensive player of the year after a dynamic debut season in College Station.
The charismatic redshirt freshman 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 surprising 10-2 mark in their first SEC season, including an upset of No. 2 Alabama in Tuscaloosa.
Georgia linebacker Jarvis Jones edged out South Carolina's Jadeveon Clowney for the defensive player of the year award. Jones leads the conference with 22.5 tackles behind the line and ranks second to Clowney with 12.5 sacks.
Texas A&M's Kevin Sumlin was named coach of the year, beating out Florida's Will Muschamp.
Manziel 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."
He is also considered a leading candidate for the Heisman Trophy, which will be awarded in New York on Saturday. Manziel has put up bigger numbers than former Auburn quarterback Cam Newton, a landslide pick for the Heisman in 2010.
No freshman has ever won college football's highest individual honor.
"He's a tremendous competitor and a tremendous leader, and that's something that you really don't see in a player as a redshirt freshman," Sumlin said. "His leadership on and off the field throughout the season has made our season a real successful one."
Though Manziel struggled a bit in the Aggies' two losses, to SEC stalwarts Florida and LSU, he became a national sensation with his dazzling runs and catchy nickname. Then, with the season winding down, he sent his profile soaring by leading Texas A&M to a stunning victory over the defending national champion Crimson Tide.
"I'm a small-town kid," said Manziel, who grew up in Kerrville, Texas. "I don't see myself as Johnny Football."
Like Manziel, Jones was a unanimous selection to the first team. The junior passed up a chance to enter the NFL draft and certainly helped his status with another big season between the hedges, even though the Georgia star missed a couple of games with nagging injuries.
"There have been games this year where he has made a phenomenal amount of plays," Alabama coach Nick Saban said. "The guy is probably one of the best defensive players in the country in terms of his playmaking ability. He's a really good rusher. He's physical. He's instinctive."
Jones had two sacks, one stop behind the line and forced a fumble in last Saturday's thrilling SEC championship game. Georgia had a shot to play for the national title, but they lost to Alabama 32-28. The Crimson Tide will face top-ranked Notre Dame for the BCS crown on Jan. 7.
Johnny Football is Mr. SEC.
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Proud of diamond accomplishments of Devils, Panthers
Tift County almost pulled off an incredible feat this year, having two teams in the baseball quarterfinals.. It was a great year for baseball at all area schools, all eight of them in the postseason. Both Kyle Kirk's Tift County Blue Devils and Brad Porter's Tiftarea Academy Panthers came within an eyelash of doing even better: the final four.
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Couch named Region 1-AAAAAA Player of the Year
Tift County High Lady Devil Carlie Couch was named Region 1-AAAAAA’s girls soccer Player of the Year and was one of 11 players from both squads to have been selected to the all-region team. The Lady Devils, who advanced to the state quarterfinals, had six of them.
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Gattis’ grand slam leads Braves past Twins 8-3
Evan Gattis no longer seems amazed by his improbable rookie season.
Yet, there are still times when it’s a bit of an adjustment for the Atlanta Braves catcher.
Like when someone recognizes him in the grocery store.
“It’s a little weird,” the 26-year-old Gattis said. “I’m not used to that yet.”
Two from Tift named 1st team All-Region
The Tift County Blue Devils, who were only just barely eliminated in the state quarterfinals, placed two players on the All-Region team for 1-AAAAAA. The region, which sent three teams to the elite eight in the state tournament, named Lowndes’ Danny Redshaw Coach of the Year.
Battle for state golf title held at Spring Hill
Spring Hill Country Club was temporarily home to 16 different schools Monday. All 16 locked irons in a battle for the Class AAAAAA state boys golf championship. After the dust had settled, top honors had gone to the Norcross Blue Devils, who finished two strokes ahead of the Peachtree Ridge Lions, 294-296.
Spurlin snags state title
The future looks bright for Tift County gymnastics if Brooke Spurlin’s recent showing at the USA Gymnastics Level 6 state meet is any indication.
Tift County High has summer basketball camp
Boys and girls basketball camps will be held at the Tift County High gymnasium for kids in grades Pre K-6, directed by Lady Devils head coach Julie Conner. There are several different camps being offered, including sessions in June and July.
Spring game goes well for Devils
The blue squad was the victors 17-10 over the white team Friday in the annual Tift County Blue Devils spring game. The contest was the first preview of the 2013 team, which opens the regular season on Friday, August 30, with a home game against the Westover Patriots.
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- Proud of diamond accomplishments of Devils, Panthers