Photo Courtesy: UA Athletics
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (Univ. of Ark.) - Four Razorbacks were voted to the SEC All-Freshman Team by the conference's coaches, it was announced Thursday.
Running back Alex Collins, tight end Hunter Henry, offensive guard Denver Kirkland and defensive tackle Darius Philon were included on the team. The three offensive selections are the most from one school, and the four overall representatives are tied for highest in the conference this season and the most from Arkansas since 2010.
Three true freshmen selections on offense are the most from Arkansas since the coaches started voting on the SEC All-Freshman Team in 1999, and the three true freshman selections are the most by the Razorbacks since 2007. The Razorbacks had three offensive players on the team for the first time since 2005 when 2006 and 2007 Doak Walker Award winner Darren McFadden, 2007 Rimington Trophy winner Jonathan Luigs and Casey Dick were all honored.
Collins also was named SEC Freshman of the Year by the Associated Press earlier this week. The Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., native is the first freshman in SEC history to begin his career with three straight 100-yard rushing games and the conference's 10th true freshman to rush for 1,000 yards. He finished the year with 1,026 yards and four touchdowns on 190 carries and added 63 yards on 11 receptions for a team-high 1,089 all-purpose yards. His rushing yards are the most by a freshman in the NCAA this season, and he ranks seventh in the SEC with an average of 85.50 rushing yards per game. Collins leads the SEC and ranks ninth in the NCAA with 355 rushing yards in the fourth quarter, and his 382 rushing yards against ranked opponents are 12th in the nation. His four 100-yard rushing games are second in school history among freshmen, trailing only McFadden's five.
Henry earned his second all-conference recognition of the week after also appearing on the Associated Press All-SEC second team. Henry played in all 12 games and made seven starts. The Little Rock, Ark., native tied for the team lead with four receiving touchdowns and ranked second on the team with 28 receptions for 409 yards. His receiving yards total ranks second among NCAA freshmen tight ends and 20th overall at his position. He is the only tight end in the SEC and one of three freshmen in the conference with a 100-yard receiving game, totaling 109 yards vs. No. 10 Texas A&M. He ranks first among SEC tight ends and fourth overall in the conference by gaining a first down on 78.6 percent of his receptions, and his average of 14.6 yards per catch ranks second among the conference's tight ends.
Kirkland started the final eight games of the season at guard. The Miami native blocked as Collins and Jonathan Williams became the second Razorback duo to each reach at least 900 rushing yards in one season. The offensive line also broke the single-season school record by only allowing 8.0 sacks. Arkansas leads the SEC and is tied for second in the NCAA with an average of 0.67 sacks allowed per game. The Razorbacks' average of one sack allowed for every 37.63 pass attempts is the best in the conference and seventh in the nation. Against No. 14 South Carolina, he graded at 90 percent and registered four knockdown blocks. He recorded 11 knockdown blocks vs. No. 8 Auburn.
Philon's selection marks the sixth time in the last seven years at least one Razorback defensive lineman has been recognized among the conference's best freshmen. Philon earned SEC All-Freshman Team honors after leading all Arkansas defensive linemen and ranking sixth on the team with 46 tackles. A native of Mobile, Ala., Philon also added 9.0 tackles for loss and 3.0 sacks. Philon collected 7.0 tackles for loss in conference games, a total that is tied for 10th in the SEC. Philon also recorded both of his forced fumbles against conference opponents, a total tied for fourth in SEC play only. He also added two quarterback hurries during his redshirt freshman season.