LSU led the way as five Tigers were named to the Southeastern Conference Coaches All-Freshman Team the league announced Thursday.
Running back Kenny Hilliard, wide receiver Odell Bekham Jr., defensive tackle Anthony “Freak” Johnson, punter Brad Wing and place-kicker James Hairston were honored for their contributions to the SEC champion and top-ranked Tigers’ 13-0 season.
Hilliard, who’s from Patterson, emerged as one of LSU’s primary offensive assets late in the season, tying for the team lead and sixth in the SEC with eight touchdowns. He rushed for 320 yards on 57 carries (a 5.6 average).
He was named SEC Freshman of the Week for his performance against Arkansas two weeks ago when he had season highs of 102 rushing yards and 19 carries and scored a touchdown. A week later, Hilliard scored three touchdowns - two rushing and one receiving - all in the third quarter as the Tigers beat Georgia 42-10 in the SEC Championship Game to secure a spot in the BCS National Championship Game on Jan. 9 in New Orleans.
Beckham, who’s from New Orleans, was the Tigers’ second-leading receiver, grabbing 36 passes for 437 yards and two touchdowns - a 52-yarder against West Virginia and a 51-yarder against Kentucky. He also returned nine punts for an 8.6 average and five kickoffs for a 24.0 average.
Johnson, who’s from New Orleans, was a regular in LSU’s deep defensive line rotation from the beginning of the season. He had 12 tackles, six solo, three for losses of 10 yards and one sack for 5 yards at Mississippi State.
Wing, who’s from Melbourne Australia, and attended Parkview Baptist High School, was a first-team All-SEC selection by the Associated Press and a second-team selection by the coaches.
He averaged 44.1 yards per punt with a long of 73. He placed 46 percent of his punts (23 of 50) inside the opponents’ 20. was a first-team All-SEC selection by the Associated Press after hitting 18 punts of 50-plus yards, having 23 downed inside the 20 and being a primary reason the Tigers led the SEC in net punting and allowed just 6 punt-return yards.
Wing had the longest (67 yards) and third-longest (56) punts in SEC Championship Game history. Wing also was the team’s holder for place-kicks.
Hairston, who’s from Dallas, began the season as a redshirt candidate but took over the kickoff duties in the fourth game of the season when a leg injury suffered in the season opener impaired Drew Alleman’s ability to kick deep. Hairston averaged 65.7 yards on 69 kickoffs and had 16 touchbacks.
Tennessee and Arkansas had the second-most selections with four each.
Razorbacks tight end Garrett Uekman, who died unexpectedly from a heart ailment on Nov. 20, was named honorary captain.
South Carolina placed three on the team, including SEC Freshman of the Year Jadeveon Clowney, a defensive end.
Vanderbilt was the only one of the 12 league teams not to have a representative on the all-freshman team.
Note: Coaches could not vote for their own players
TE - Malcolm Johnson, Mississippi State
OL - A.J. Cann, South Carolina; Marcus Jackson, Tennessee; Cyrus Kouandjio, Alabama; Chaz Green, Florida
C - Reese Dismukes, Auburn
WR - Malcolm Mitchell, Georgia; Odell Beckham Jr., LSU
QB - Maxwell Smith, Kentucky
RB - Isaiah Crowell, Georgia, Kenny Hilliard, LSU
AP - Bruce Ellington, South Carolina
DL - Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina; Trey Flowers, Arkansas; Anthony Johnson, LSU
Kaleb Eulls, Mississippi State
LB - A.J. Johnson, Tennessee; Curt Maggitt, Tennessee; Serderius Bryant, Ole Miss
DB - Brian Randolph, Tennessee; Vinnie Sunseri, Alabama; Pop Saunders, Florida; Tevin Mitchel, Arkansas
PK - James Hairston, LSU
P - Brad Wing, LSU
RS - Marquel Wade, Arkansas
Garrett Uekman, Tight End, Arkansas