By Brandon Kiley, KBIA Sports
For the second-straight year, a Missouri defensive lineman will take home the SEC Defensive Player of the Year award.
Missouri defensive end Shane Ray took advantage of his first year as a starter, leading the SEC with 14 sacks and 21 tackles for loss. Ray follows in former Missouri defensive end Michael Sam’s shoes after Sam won the SEC Defensive Player of the Year award in 2013.
This is the second time a team has won back-to-back defensive player of the year awards, the other instance being LSU in 2010 and 2011.
Ray headlines a list of seven Missouri players selected to the 2014 AP All-SEC team. Running back Marcus Murphy and wide receiver Bud Sasser joined Ray on the first team. Murphy made the team as an all-purpose player after he finished the year leading the SEC with 1,714 all-purpose yards. Murphy is the only player in college football that scored on a rushing touchdown, a receiving touchdown, and returned both a kick and a punt return for a touchdown.
Sasser developed into Missouri’s most reliable receiving threat, putting up career numbers in every receiving category. Sasser finished the season with 70 receptions for 935 yards and 10 touchdowns, ranking second, fourth and third in the SEC in those categories.
A pair of defensive starters, junior Kentrell Brothers and senior Braylon Webb, were selected to the All-SEC second team. Brothers finished the year fifth in the SEC with a career-high 117 tackles. Webb has been a consistent contributor on the Missouri defense for four years. The senior defensive back boasts 41 career starts, the most of any safety in the SEC.
Rounding out the Missouri selections for the AP All-SEC team are a pair of talented defensive linemen in defensive tackle Harold Brantley and defensive end Markus Golden. Brantley, a sophomore, proved himself to be a difficult matchup for offensive linemen due to his immense athleticism. Brantley finished the season with five sacks, seven tackles for loss and two blocked field goals.
Golden, a co-captain, was the emotional leader for the 2014 Missouri defense. The senior defensive end finished the season with eight and a half sacks, 16 tackles for loss and nine pass deflections.
Missouri is tied for third most in the conference with seven players on the All-SEC team. Alabama had 13 players selected, Georgia had 10 and Arkansas tied Missouri with seven.
Missouri and its seven All-SEC players will travel to Orlando to take on Minnesota in the Citrus Bowl on New Year’s Day.