Benintendi Named SEC's Top Male Athlete

Arkansas baseball star Andrew Benintendi - now a member of the Boston Red Sox - is named the SEC's Top Male Athlete on Thursday.

ArkansasAndrew Benintendi has racked up many baseball ones, but took home the top one in the SEC overall on Thursday.

Benintendi was named the SEC’s Male Athlete of the Year while Florida softball player Lauren Hager was named the league’s Female Athlete of the Year.

"Andrew and Lauren have competed at the highest level of collegiate athletics, and through their hard work, dedication and commitment to excellence, have been successful in their endeavors,” said SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey. “They are outstanding representatives of their universities and the SEC is proud to honor them for their accomplishments.”

Benintendi becomes the fourth Arkansas athlete to ever win the honor, joining two-time winner Alistair Cragg (cross country/track) who won the award in 2003 and 2004, Amy Yoder Begley (cross country/track) in 2001 and Corliss Williamson (men’s basketball) in 1994.

He joins a long list of SEC legends to win the award, including Peyton Manning, Shaquille O’Neil, Tim Tebow, Todd Helton, David Price and Herschel Walker.

A native of Cincinnati, Benintendi won both the prestigious Dick Howser Trophy as the top Division I baseball player in the country and the Golden Spikes Award as the nation’s top amateur baseball player. He was also named national player of the year by Collegiate Baseball and Baseball America as he led the country with 20 home runs.

The first SEC and National Player of the Year in program history, Benintendi is the first Division I player in seven years and first SEC player in nine years to hit 20 home runs and steal 20 bases in a season.

He led the SEC in batting average (.376), home runs (20), slugging percentage (.717), on-base percentage (.488) and walks (50) and became the third highest MLB draft pick in school history, taken No. 7 overall by the Boston Red Sox.

The other male nominees were: Amari Cooper, Alabama (football); Reese Dismukes, Auburn (football); Marquis Dendy, Florida (track & field); Maicel Uibo, Georgia (track & field); Willie Cauley-Stein, Kentucky (basketball); Vernon Norwood, LSU (track & field); Senquez Golson, Ole Miss (football); Dak Prescott, Mississippi State (football); Shane Ray, Missouri (football); Will Starke, South Carolina (golf); Mikelis Libietis, Tennessee (tennis); Deon Lendore, Texas A&M (track & field); Carson Fulmer, Vanderbilt (baseball).

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