University of South Carolina tight end Hayden Hurst was named to the Associated Press All-SEC First Team, while linebacker Skai Moore and defensive lineman Dante Sawyer earned Second-Team selections, the organization announced Monday.
A native of Jacksonville, Florida, Hurst led all SEC tight ends with 41 receptions and 518 receiving yards during the 2017 regular season. The junior scored a pair of touchdowns through the air, finding the end zone in Carolina’s victories over Missouri and Arkansas, and he also scored his first career rushing touchdown in the win over Mizzou. Hurst enters the postseason as Carolina’s career leader among tight ends with 97 receptions for 1,240 yards.
Moore leads the Gamecocks and ranks 11th in the conference with 88 total tackles, including 59 solo stops. The senior from Cooper City, Florida, finished with double-digit tackles three times in 2017, including a career-high 15-tackle effort against Clemson, and he is on pace to end his career as just the 15th player in Football Bowl Subdivision history to lead a team in tackles in four different seasons. A dominant player against both the run and the pass, Moore also tied Carolina’s career interception record with his 14th pick, which came in the victory over Wofford.
No stranger to postseason laurels, Moore was a Second-Team All-SEC selection by both the AP and the league’s head coaches in 2015, and he garnered an All-Freshman team nod in 2013.
Sawyer enters the postseason tied for the FBS national lead with five forced fumbles, a number that is just one off the Carolina single-season record. A Suwanee, Georgia product, Sawyer opened the season with two forced fumbles in the win over NC State and also jarred the ball loose in wins over Arkansas, Tennessee and Wofford. Four of Sawyer’s forced fumbles led to turnovers, and he also ended the regular season with 29 tackles, 5.0 tackles for loss and 3.0 sacks.
Hurst, Moore and Sawyer lead the Gamecocks (8-4) against Michigan on Monday, Jan. 1, in the Outback Bowl. Kickoff is scheduled for 12 p.m. ET in Tampa, Florida, and the game will be televised nationally on ESPN2.
-per USC Athletics