Evin Demirel – Who Could It Be? Hogs Can Make SEC History


Visit Evin's Author PageIn the early 1990s, Arkansas joined the SEC and the conference began awarding a baseball player of the year award to complement already established football and basketball MVP titles. Since then, the conference has soared to lofty heights, becoming arguably the NCAA’s most powerful organization. Much of that has to do with stretches of dominance by Alabama, LSU and Florida in football; Arkansas, Kentucky, Florida in basketball and the likes of LSU (five national titles 1993-2009) and South Carolina in baseball.

Many of these programs have produced multiple players of the years in various sports, yet no one school has yet been able to hit a POY trifecta by having a male player win the ultimate individual honor in each major team sport in one calendar year. 

That may soon change. 

In 2015, the Razorbacks athletic department has a chance make SEC history by sweeping these honors. The push started earlier this spring with sophomore Bobby Portis winning basketball SEC Player of the Year. Then, on Monday, sophomore Andrew Benintendi was announced as SEC baseball’s player of the year. Benintendi, of course, has helped spearhead the Hogs’ surge from a 1-5 start in SEC play to 16-7 finish and No. 20 national ranking. The outfielder from Cincinnati, Ohio leads the nation in slugging percentage (.771) and ranks third in home runs. “He’s probably the best player in college baseball right now,” Tennessee coach Dave Serrano told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette’s Bob Holt.

No. 5 seed Arkansas played No. 12 seed Tennessee last night in the first round of the SEC Tournament, beating the Vols 2-1. Coincidentally, the Hogs play Florida tonight. Florida is the only other SEC school to also bag POY awards in baseball and basketball in the same year. In 2011, basketball’s award went to Gator forward Chandler Parsons while baseball’s went to Gator catcher Mike Zunino. Unfortunately, Florida football couldn’t close the deal that year as it sputtered to a 7-6 finish. No Gator came close to winning football’s offensive or defensive POY award.  

Indeed, the Joy that was the Will Muschamp Era had only begun.

This season’s football Hogs know well what 7-6 feels like it. That was their mark in 2014, and it would be a massive disappointment if they repeated that record again this fall. Surging off a 3-1 finish last year, featuring historic defensive blitzkriegs of LSU, Ole Miss and Texas, Razorback football hasn’t appeared to have this much momentum since shredding Kansas State in the 2012 Cotton Bowl.

The Hogs have improved by leaps and bounds since head coach Bret Bielema took the helm in late 2012 and they enter 2015 ranked around No. 20 in preseason polls and expecting to compete for the SEC West title. If Arkansas is in the running to win it in late November, expect one of its players to be a top candidate for SEC offensive or defensive player of the year. And for the UA athletic department to be on the cusp of getting a most unique notch on its belt.

So, which Razorback is most likely to win a football SEC Player of the Year award in 2015?

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Only three other programs in all current major college conferences have pulled off the rare POY trifecta. Later, find out more about other Power 5 schools at thesportsseer.com.

will the hogs produce an SEC POY in football this year?

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