McNeil, a 6-4, 280-pounder from Collins, Miss., started all 13 regular-season games for the 2007 Vols and was named SEC Offensive Lineman of the Week after recording 10 knockdown blocks in a 33-21 win at Mississippi State on Oct. 13. He has started 21 consecutive games, dating to his freshman year.
Here's what Cirminiello had to say about the rugged Vol lineman:
“C Josh McNeil, Tennessee – The quarterback of a Volunteer offensive line that’s yielded just four sacks all season, McNeil has begun showing why he was one of the nation’s highest-rated centers coming out of high school two years ago. Aggressive and smart, he has all the tools to contend for the Rimington Award once he eliminates a few bad habits.”
McCoy, a 6-1, 215-pounder from Washington, D.C., started all 13 regular-season games, as well. He finished second on the team with 106 tackles, adding 4 pass breakups and an interception. His best game came against South Carolina, when he registered a career-high 14 stops.
Here's what Cirminiello had to say about the Big Orange linebacker:
“LB Rico McCoy, Tennessee – The Volunteers’ second-leading tackler with 106 stops and 4.5 for loss plays a little faster and a whole lot more intense than most of his opponents. A high motor guy with outstanding lateral quickness from the weakside, he’s also one of Tennessee’s most dependable linebackers in pass coverage.”
Florida quarterback Tim Tebow was named the Sophomore Offensive Player of the Year by Cirminiello. Other SEC players earning first-team recognition were Florida receiver Percy Harvin, Alabama offensive tackle Andre Smith, LSU offensive tackle Ciron Black, Georgia defensive tackle Geno Atkins, Florida linebacker Brandon Spikes, South Carolina safety Emanuel Cook, South Carolina cornerback Captain Munnerlyn and Alabama kicker Leigh Tiffin.
Only two SEC players were accorded second-team recognition – Ole Miss defensive end Greg Hardy and Vanderbilt cornerback D.J. Moore.
Third-team honorees from the SEC were running back Anthony Dixon of Mississippi State, guard John Jerry of Ole Miss, defensive end Eric Norwood of South Carolina, linebacker Freddie Fairchild of Arkansas and cornerback Trevard Lindley of Kentucky.
The honorable mention list included Georgia quarterback Matt Stafford, Auburn running back Ben Tate, South Carolina tight end Jared Cook, LSU tight end Richard Dickson, Kentucky defensive lineman Jeremy Jarmon, Auburn defensive lineman Antonio Coleman, Florida defensive lineman Jermaine Cunningham, Arkansas defensive back Jerell Norton and Georgia defensive back Asher Allen.