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Jeffcoat: Best in the Big 12

There was always a question as to what Jackson Jeffcoat would do if he was healthy for an entire season.

Jeffcoat is a Hendricks Award finalist and led the Big 12 in sacks with 12.

We found out in 2013. The results were historic in nature for the Texas football program as Jeffcoat was selected as the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year and a unanimous first-team All-Big 12 selection by the Associated Press on Monday.

Jeffcoat joins Brian Orakpo (2008), Aaron Ross (2006), Derrick Johnson (2004) and Casey Hampton (2000) as Longhorns to be named as the Big 12's best defender.

A former 247Sports five-star prospect, Jeffcoat saw action and started in all 12 regular season games for the first time in his Texas career. He finished the season with a Big 12-best 12 sacks, 21 tackles for loss, 18 pressures, three fumble recoveries, one forced fumble, one interception and a blocked kick while leading the Longhorns with 80 tackles.

His selection was made by 20 newspaper writers who cover the Big 12. Jeffcoat, who was a first team All-Big 12 selection in the preseason by the media, was recently named as a finalist for the Ted Hedricks Award, which goes to the nation's top defensive end. Orakpo won the award in 2008.

Jeffcoat was joined on the first team by junior Cedric Reed. The former Top247 member finished his first full season as a starter with nine sacks, 18 tackles for loss, 16 pressures, four forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.

There's a lot of speculation about Reed's future. A source recently told Horns247 that they believe Reed will declare for the NFL draft but the Cleveland, Texas native has been non-committal when asked about his pro future.

An 8-4 finish and a 7-2 conference record was good enough for the Longhorns to place two players on the first team offense. Trey Hopkins, a preseason first team All-Big 12 pick by the league's media, becomes the first Texas offensive lineman to earn a first team nod since Adam Ulatoski in 2008.

Hopkins helped pave the way for a Texas run game that allowed Johnathan Gray to rush for 780 yards before an achilles injury ended his season against West Virginia, and for Malcolm Brown to gain 774 yards. The Texas running game averaged 195.1 yards per game in Big 12 play with Brown averaging 101.6 yards per game over the final seven games of the season and going over 100 yards four times while Gray hit the century mark twice in conference play.

Hopkins was joined on the first team by kicker Anthony Fera. A finalist for the Lou Groza Award, which goes to the top kicker in the country, Fera hit 20-of-22 field goal attempts as a senior.

He tied Phil Dawson's school record with 15 consecutive field goals made. The 20 field goals made is a mark tied for the fourth best single-season total in school history while his 90.9-percent accuracy rate was the second best mark in school history.

Donald Hawkins and Mike Davis earned second team All-Big 12 honors on offense.

Hawkins started all 12 games at left tackle as a senior after starting 11 contests as a junior. He and Hopkins were the anchors up front and Stacy Searles' decision to recruit Hawkins as a junior college All-American out of Northwest Mississippi Community College in the fall of 2011 gave a huge lift to the program.

Davis led the Longhorns with 715 receiving yards and eight touchdowns catches while finishing second to Jaxon Shipley with 49 catches. The former five-star prospect from Dallas Skyline finished the regular season with career marks of 195 catches, 2,741 yards, 18 touchdown receptions and 10 career 100-yard receiving games.

The marks stand as the fourth, fourth, fifth and second best career totals in school history.

Texas will finish the 2013 season on Dec. 30 in the Valero Alamo Bowl against the No. 10-ranked Oregon Ducks (10-2).

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