Mizzou Football senior defensive end Michael Sam (Hitchcock, Texas) has been named the Southeastern Conference’s Co-Defensive Player of the Year, as voted on by the league’s 14 head coaches. The First Team All-SEC Tiger defender has turned heads in 2013 as he currently leads the conference in both sacks (10.5) and tackles-for-loss (18.0) and resides in the top 10 nationally in those categories. Sam shares the SEC coaches’ honor with Alabama linebacker C.J. Mosley.
Sam is the first Mizzou player in program history to earn a conference defensive player of the year award from league coaches. Overall, he is the second Tiger to ever win conference defensive player of the year honors, matching former standout Jeff Gaylord, who won the Associated Press award in the Big Eight in 1981. Sam claimed the AP honor on Tuesday.
Sam was recognized three times during the season with weekly SEC awards, twice as the league’s defensive line player of the week (Sept. 28, Oct. 5) and once as its defensive player of the week (Oct. 19). All three weekly awards followed impressive 3.0-sack performances from Sam (vs. Arkansas State, at Vanderbilt, vs. No. 22 Florida).
Sam and Mizzou next play in the 2014 AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic, set for Friday, Jan. 3 in Arlington, Texas, at the world-renowned AT&T Stadium. Kickoff for the game, which will pit the Tigers against former conference foe Oklahoma State (10-2, second place in Big 12), is set for 7 p.m. (central time) and will be televised nationally on FOX.