With the regular season over it’s now bowl and award season.
Despite a 6-5 season the Florida Gators did have five players earn individual awards when the Associated Press released their All-SEC teams on Monday afternoon.
Sophomore cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III was named to the First Team Defense for the second consecutive season, while teammates Antonio Morrison, Kyle Christy were placed on the second team. Junior Dante Fowler Jr. and senior Andre Debose (kick returner) were honorable mention selections.
Only a sophomore, Hargreaves finished his second season in Gainesville with 45 tackles (26 solo), two interceptions and a SEC-high 13 pass breakups. Hargreaves tied the Florida record for a freshman with 11 pass breakups a season ago (Janoris Jenkins 2008).
Christy had a bounce back senior season that saw him finish fourth in the SEC with a 44.45 yard-per-punt average. Christy had four punts travel more than 60 yards this year and 20-of-57 travel at least 50 yards. Christy’s career average of 43.8 yards-per-punt place him second all-time at the University of Florida.
Morrison finished with a team-high 98 tackles, placing him fifth in the SEC. Morrison finished with double digit tackles in six-of-11 games this season and was the driving force for the Gators’ second-ranked rushing defense in the league.
Andre Debose was unable to return a kick for a touchdown this season, which would have broken the all-time SEC record but the redshirt senior was spectacular returning punts and kicks this year. Despite most teams kicking away from him, Debose averaged 24.71 yards per kick return and 14.04 yards per punt return.
The biggest head scratcher was just a honorable mention for junior defensive lineman Dante Fowler. Fowler was downright unblockable for the Gators throughout the 2014 season. Fowler finished with just 5.5 sacks on the year but had to deal with double teams and every opponent game planning for him this past season. Fowler led the team with 12 tackles for a loss, while also notching 57 tackles, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery.
Fowler’s biggest impact came from hurrying the quarterback and creating opportunities for his teammates but most voters only look at numbers at the end of the season and don’t watch every game.