McFadden Named SEC Freshman of the Year

FAYETTEVILLE -- Darren McFadden didn't have his goals set too high in his first year playing for Arkansas.

The main things he wanted was to come in and play as a freshman and to get a chance to prove what he was capable of doing.

Once McFadden, a true freshman from North Little Rock, found his way into the lineup, it didn't take long for him to realize maybe his goals were set a little low.

On Monday, McFadden was rewarded by being named to The Associated Press' All-Southeastern Conference first team and was also named the SEC Freshman of the Year.

"It's just a great honor," McFadden said. "The SEC has all kinds of good running backs. Every team we played had good running backs."

The SEC coaches' team will be announced today.

McFadden became the first Arkansas freshman and just the seventh in SEC history to rush for more than 1,000 yards, finishing with 1,113 and also set school freshman records for 100-yard rushing games (5) and touchdowns (11). He's also currently ranked No. 31 in the country in rushing with 101.18 yards rushing per game.

McFadden beat out South Carolina wide receiver Sidney Rice for the freshman honor.

Rice, who was the only other freshman on the All-SEC first team, caught 58 passes for 952 yards and 12 touchdowns, two shy of the NCAA freshman receiving record.

While McFadden was the only Razorback on the all-SEC first team, three Arkansas players were named to the second team --offensive lineman Kyle Roper, defensive tackle Keith Jackson and linebacker Sam Olajubutu. Olajubutu stands third in the SEC in tackles, racking up 102.

Arkansas freshman Felix Jones was also an honorable mention as an all-purpose offensive player for his performance at running back and returning kicks. Jones leads the nation with a 31.9-yard average on kick returns.

McFadden appeared to be showing little outward effects from last week's arthroscopic surgery on his left knee. The injury was sustained before the season started.

"It's just a little swollen and sore," McFadden said. "During the season, it didn't bother me much, but toward the end of the year it was a little sore. ...

"When I come out next year, I'll be 100 percent."

He said he would return to the doctor next week for a checkup on the knee but Arkansas trainer Dean Weber said last week he expected McFadden to miss four to six weeks before returning to off-season conditioning.

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