VAUGHT: Woodyard deserved all-SEC recognition

The Associated Press All-Southeastern Conference football team gave tight end Jacob Tamme and all-purpose sensation Keenan Burton the recognition they deserved when both made the first team. And why I can argue forever that quarterback Andre Woodson deserved to be first team as well, I can live with him being on the second team behind LSU's JaMarcus Russell.

I can even accept running back Rafael Little only receiving honorable mention because he missed four games. Same with Rich Brooks not getting coach of the year because Arkansas' Houston Nutt did an equally fine job with the Razorbacks. My vote would have gone to Brooks, but I can see where others would choose Nutt.

However, I can't go along with linebacker Wesley Woodyard being left off the second team. Granted, Kentucky's defense was the worst in the league and that probably negated any chance Woodyard had to make the first team. And who can argue with Mississippi's Patrick Willis, one of the best players in the nation, and Arkansas' Sam Olajubutu being on the first team?

But no one will ever convince me that Mississippi State's Quinton Culberson, Florida's Earl Everett and Brandon Siler, and Georgia's Tony Taylor have played any better than Woodyard. Woodyard has 110 tackles -- or 30 more than any other UK player. He has a team-high 8.5 tackles for loss. He forced three fumbles.

Without Woodyard, think how many yards and points the Cats would have allowed. He was the one stable force in the front seven all season -- and he is clearly the team leader on defense.

"I don't know how Wesley did not make it," said UK linebacker coach Chuck Smith. "Willis is one of the best in the country, but Wesley is right there with all those others. He's a great player and had a great season. The good thing about him is that he won't care that he didn't make the team, but if I had a vote, he certainly would get my vote."

And mine if I had one as well.

Fortunately, SEC coaches clearly understand Woodyard's worth more than my colleagues because Woodyard as a first-team selection on the coaches' team. Maybe the media will even get it right next year.

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