Power Five1. Alabama
2. Ole Miss
3. Mississippi State
After winning another SEC title, Alabama sits atop the final SEC rankings in 2014. Alabama fell to Ole Miss on the road and it is now 12-1 heading to play in the inaugural NCAA College Football Playoff. The Crimson Tide has been playing its best football late in the season and it is now playing for the fourth national title under Nick Saban. Saban has now coached five SEC championship teams and four national championship teams.
Coach of the Year: Dan Mullen, Mississippi State
It didn’t finish as good as it started for Mississippi State, but Dan Mullin is still the Scout SEC Coach of the Year. He led the Bulldogs out to a 9-0 record, a spot at No. 1 in the country, and after falling to Alabama and Ole Miss late in the season, Mississippi State finished 10-2. Starting off the season, Mississippi State wasn’t even ranked in the top 25. Mullin and his staff deserve a lot of credit in 2014 and the Bulldogs are one of the best teams in the country.
Offensive Player of the Year: Amari Cooper, Alabama
What a year for Amari Cooper. Lane Kiffin took over as Alabama offensive coordinator and he got Cooper, the top wide receiver in the college football the ball. Cooper finished the season with 115 receptions, a new SEC single season record, and he had 1, 656 yards and he scored 14 touchdowns. Scout ranked Cooper No. 86 overall in 2012 and although that is a very high ranking, it was a little low. He is likely heading for the NFL Draft in 2015 to be a top 10 pick.
Defensive Player of the Year: Sanchez Golson, Ole Miss
The Rebels finished the 2014 season with the No. 1 scoring defense. It only allowed 18 touchdowns in 12 games. The defense was strong on all three levels. It picked off 19 passes on the season and Golson had nine of those. He was a ball-hawk on the back-end of the Ole Miss defense. He showed great ball skills, very good instincts, and the ability to make a play on the ball. Outside of his nine interceptions, Golson added 41 total tackles.
Freshman Offensive Player of the Year: Nick Chubb, GeorgiaWhat a year for Chubb. He finished with 1,281 yards on 186 carries, and he scored a dozen rushing touchdowns. He averaged 6.9 yards per carry and he rushed for at least 113 yards in each game he started. Chubb had only 224 yards and 31 carries after the first five games while Todd Gurley was leading the way for Georgia. With Gurley’s off the field issue, Chubb took over, and ended up finishing second in the SEC in rushing.
Freshman Defensive Player of the Year: Derrick Barnett, Tennessee
Myles Garrett was right there, but Barnett finished very strong his freshman season and edged out the Aggie. Barnett, a Scout 300 defensive end a year ago was strong against the run (68 total tackles), but even stronger as a pass rusher. His 10 sacks put him third in the SEC and he seemed to live in the backfield the second half of the season. Barnett is one the Vols can move around in the future with his size and speed.