Republished from the Jefferson City News Tribune
Missouri linebacker Kentrell Brothers began the year perturbed at his demotion from second- to third-team in the preseason all-Southeastern Conference voting.
The chip on his shoulder grew in November when he was not named one of 10 semifinalists for the Butkus Award, given to the nation’s top linebacker.
SEC coaches gave Brothers — and his nation-leading 152 tackles — his due Tuesday, voting him a first-team all-SEC selection.
Brothers was also named second-team All-America by USA Today on Tuesday.
Brothers is the first Missouri linebacker to be named first-team all-SEC since the Tigers joined the conference in 2012. He blocked three kicks this season, more than anyone in the country. His 152 tackles, 12 more than any other player, rank fourth in Missouri single-season history.
Brothers recorded 358 total tackles at Missouri, eighth all-time. This season, the Guthrie, Okla., native recorded 10 or more tackles in seven straight games, the first player to do so in Gary Pinkel’s 15 seasons as Missouri head coach.
Brothers’ 122 tackles last year earned him second-team all-SEC honors. Sean Weatherspoon is the most recent Tiger linebacker to win first-team all-conference honors as voted by coaches, in 2009 as a member of the Big 12. Another Missouri linebacker, Andrew Gachkar, was named first-team all-Big 12 in 2010 by the Associated Press.
Brothers’ defensive teammate, Charles Harris, received second-team all-SEC honors at lineman.
Harris, a sophomore, recorded an SEC-best 18.5 tackles for loss in his first season as a starter. He also recorded seven sacks, 10 quarterback pressures, 56 tackles and two forced fumbles.
A Missouri defensive lineman has received an all-conference nod in 10 straight seasons. However, this is Missouri’s first year without a first-team all-SEC defensive lineman since 2012.
Missouri fielded a top-10 defense this season in yards per game and scoring defense.
The SEC will announce its individual award winners today and its all-freshman team Thursday.