McCoy, Orakpo named AP Big 12 Players of the Year
Dec. 3, 2008
AUSTIN, Texas -- Junior QB Colt McCoy and senior DE Brian Orakpo were selected as the Big 12 Offensive and Defensive Players of the Year, respectively, by the Associated Press.
"That's an unbelievable honor and a great reward for all of my teammates who deserve all of the credit," McCoy said. "I've said all along, any recognition I receive or success I have is a tribute to them. They make everything easy for me and I'm so blessed to have so many great guys and players around me. That said, in a league like this, with so many great offensive players, being picked the best is something special. It's something I'll definitely look back at after the season and cherish and appreciate, but we've still got a game to play and need to finish this season right."
McCoy, who is also a finalist for the Maxwell Award (college player of the year), Walter Camp Football Foundation Player of the Year Award, O'Brien Award (nation's top quarterback) and Manning Award (nation's top quarterback), was named WCFF National Player of the Week on Oct. 19 and was a three-time O'Brien National Quarterback of the Week this season. After 12 games, McCoy has gone 291-of-375 (77.6%) for 3,445 yards and 32 TDs, with seven INTs, for a passer rating of 179.2. He set a new UT single-season passing record against Texas A&M, passing Major Applewhite's 3,357 yards in 1999. His 77.6 completion percentage is the best in the country and his 179.2 passer rating ranks third nationally. McCoy has thrown a TD pass in 16 consecutive games, which ranks second on UT's all-time list behind Applewhite's 19.
"I've said it all season long, but I can't imagine a player that means more to his team than Colt does to ours," said head coach Mack Brown. "He's leading us in rushing, breaking all of our passing records and has grown into one of the great leaders this school has had. He is a special player who is worthy of every and any honor he receives.
"The Big 12 is stacked with great quarterbacks and offensive players, so to be named the Offensive Player of the Year in this conference says a whole lot. It's a tribute to Colt, all of our players and coaches that despite losing our leading receivers and rusher from a year ago, he has been named the conference's best offensive player in one of the greatest offensive years a conference has ever had."
In addition, McCoy leads the team in rushing with 576 yards and 10 TDs on 128 carries (4.5 ypc). Overall, McCoy has posted 4,021 yards of total offense (3,445p/576r) and is averaging 8.0 yards per play and 335.1 total yards per game, which ranks sixth nationally. He is only the second player in UT history to surpass 4,000 yards in a single season and trails only Vince Young (4,086 yards) in 2005 for the UT record.
"I can't tell you how excited I am to be named the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year," Orakpo said. "It's a great honor that I can share with my teammates and coaches. Coming back from the knee injury I had last year was really tough. Not being able to be there at full speed for my teammates for most of the season really made me feel like I was letting them down. After that, I was determined to get in the best shape of my life, get healthy and prove that I was worthy of being a great player and leader for this football team. Every day in the weight room and on the practice field I kept pushing with that in mind and it really paid off. I feel good that I overcame that adversity and that we've had such a great season thus far. But, we still have a lot ahead of us. We've put this recent challenge of not making the Big 12 Championship game behind us and are focused on proving to everyone what a great team we are in whatever bowl game we play in."
This season, Orakpo has made 40 tackles (29 solo) and leads the team with 10.5 sacks, which is tied for sixth nationally, 18 TFL, which is tied for the 11th-most nationally, four forced fumbles, which is tied for the third-most nationally, and 27 pressures, despite being limited in two and a half games with a knee injury. He has twice been named the Lott Trophy National Defensive Player of the Week. In four games against Top 25 opponents this season, he has notched 16 tackles, three sacks, seven TFL, nine pressures and a forced fumble.
"Rak has had an unbelievable year and been the heart of a defense that leads the Big 12 in total and scoring defense," Brown said. "I can't think of anyone more worthy of being the conference's defensive player of the year. He has such an unbelievable combination of strength and speed that makes him unblockable. As an offense, you have to account for him on every play or he'll just take over the game. Even when teams have tried to double team him or get him out of his game, he's such a smart, determined and gifted player that he's found a way to still have a big impact. It really hurt us when he went down for the second half of the game at Texas Tech and missed the Baylor game and most of the Kansas game. But, people saw what a disruptive force he is when he was back at full strength against A&M."
For his career, Orakpo has tallied 130 tackles (91 solo), 21 sacks, 37 TFL, 59 pressures, six PBD, six forced fumbles and a fumble recovery in 46 games (20 starts).
"I've never been around a guy who works any harder than Rak," Brown said. "He never takes a play off in practice or a game, is always in the weight room working to get bigger, stronger and faster, studies his film and prepares as well as anyone. He's also a guy who works just as hard in the classroom and will graduate this semester. Not to mention, he's one of our great team leaders who is a spiritual leader on the field and a positive and vocal one who is a great role model off of it."
Orakpo headlined the all-conference first-team defense as the only unanimous selection, and Texas placed eight players on the second team. The offense included WR Quan Cosby, OG Cedric Dockery, QB Colt McCoy, WR Jordan Shipley and OT Adam Ulatoski, while the defense included LB Sergio Kindle, DT Roy Miller and LB Roddrick Muckelroy. Earning honorable mention were Cosby and Shipley as all-purpose players, LB Rashad Bobino, C Chris Hall, CB Ryan Palmer and S Earl Thomas.