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Four Texas players receive individual Big 12 accolades

Longhorns took home Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year, Defensive Lineman of the Year, Offensive Newcomer of the Year, and Defensive Freshman of the Year honors.

Syndication: Austin American-Statesman Ricardo B. Brazziell/American-Statesman / USA TODAY NETWORK

The Big 12 Conference announced its annual football awards on Wednesday and 26 members of the No. 7 Texas Longhorns received recognition, including Defensive Player of the Year T’Vondre Sweat, Offensive Newcomer of the Year AD Mitchell, Defensive Lineman of the Year Byron Murphy, and co-Freshman Defensive Player of the Year Anthony Hill Jr.

Sweat and Murphy were also named first-team All-Big 12, among seven total Longhorns, which led the conference — wide receiver Xavier Worthy, also the return specialist, tight end Ja’Tavion Sanders, offensive tackle Kelvin Banks, linebacker Jaylan Ford, and kicker Bert Auburn.

Mitchell, running back Jonathon Brooks, and defensive back Jahdae Barron received second-team recognition, while a host of players received honorable mention.

A finalist for the Outland Trophy and a semifinalist for the Chuck Bednarik Award and the Walter Camp Player of the Year, Sweat was one of three unanimous selections and a first-time first-team all-conference selection. In a breakout season, Sweat established career highs with 40 tackles, 16 solo tackles, eight tackles for loss, two sacks, and four pass breakups, along with a blocked point-after-attempt against Iowa State returned 82 yards by Austin Jordan for a two-point score for Texas. Sweat is the sixth Texas player to win Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year honors, joining Casey Hampton (2000), Derrick Johnson (2004), Brian Orakpo (2007), Jackson Jeffcoat (2013), and Malik Jefferson (2017).

Murphy has 24 tackles (10 solo) and a career-high eight tackles for loss and five sacks with at least two tackles and a tackle for loss in six of 12 games this season Against Baylor, Murphy notched four tackles, three tackles for loss, and two sacks. In the win over Wyoming, Murphy became the fourth Texas lineman to score an offensive touchdown with a 1-yard touchdown reception. Three other Texas players have earned Big 12 Defensive Lineman of the Year — Orakpo (2008), Poona Ford (2017), and Charles Omenihu (2018).

The first Texas player to win Big 12 Offensive Newcomer of the Year honors, Mitchell set career highs with 45 receptions, 704 receiving yards, and nine touchdowns, best on the team, while ranking second in the Big 12 in touchdown receptions and 11th in receptions and yards. Mitchell twice scored multiple touchdowns and went four consecutive games with a touchdown catch, tied for the sixth-longest streak in school history. On three occasions, Mitchell earned Big 12 offensive newcomer of the week honors — following wins against Alabama (3 receptions, 78 yards, 2 TDs), Kansas (10 receptions, 141 yards, 1 TD), and Kansas State (8 receptions, 149 yards 1 TD).

Hill is now among eight Longhorns to win Big 12 Defensive Freshman of the Year honors in sharing it with Texas Tech linebacker Ben Roberts, joining Cory Redding (1999), Derrick Johnson (2001), Rodrique Wright (2002), Brian Orakpo (2005), Quandre Diggs (2011), Malik Jefferson (2015), and Caden Sterns (2018). The Denton Ryan product has recorded 57 tackles (34 solo), 6.5 tackles for loss, four sacks, four quarterback hurries, and two pass breakups. The four sacks by Hill rank eighth all-time for a Texas freshman and lead all Power 5 true freshmen this season. Against Alabama, Hill collected a pair of sacks, including one on Alabama’s final offensive play of the game. He has recorded at least four tackles in 10 of 12 games this season, with a career-high eight tackles against Oklahoma and TCU.