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Michael Sam named SEC Co-Defensive Player of the Year by league coaches

The awards keep coming in for Michael Sam and the Missouri Tigers.

Sam, who was named Wednesday as the Southeastern Conference Co-Defensive Player of the Year by the league’s coaches, led the conference in quarterback sacks (10.5) and tackles for loss (18.0), ranking in the top-10 nationally in both categories. Sam, who shares the SEC honor with Alabama linebacker C.J. Mosley, is the first Missouri player in program history to earn a conference defensive player of the year award from league coaches.

Sam was among four players on the Missouri football team earned All-SEC designation by league coaches, as was announced late Tuesday by the SEC office.

Senior defensive end Sam and senior cornerback E.J. Gaines were named to the first team, while senior left tackle Justin Britt and junior tailback/kick returner Marcus Murphy gained second-team mention.

Gaines, a product of Independence, paced the Tigers with four interceptions and ranked third in tackles with 68, despite missing a pair of games midway through the season with a leg injury.

Britt, a graduate of Lebanon High School, was an anchor for an offensive line that paved the way for the Tiger offense.

Murphy was chosen as an all-purpose back after averaging 22.1 yards per kickoff return and 5.6 yards per punt return.

Missouri is off this week, but the Tigers will return to practice next week in preparation for the 2014 AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic, set for Jan. 3 in Arlington, Texas, against Oklahoma State.

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