By MATTHEW STEVENS
Mississippi State got another pair of senior captains on the Coaches’ All-Southeastern Conference first team Tuesday afternoon as offensive tackle Derek Sherrod and defensive end Pernell McPhee were given that honor.
Mississippi State senior linebacker Chris White was named to the conference’s second-team while the late Nick Bell was named as the team’s honorary captain as tribute to the sophomore who tragically passed away on Nov. 2.
Sherrod was in New York City Tuesday being honored as part of the 2010 National Scholar-Athlete Class. Sherrod is one of 16 players among all divisions of the NCAA and NAIA up for the William V. Campbell Trophy. The Columbus native, who carries a 3.54 GPA as a business major, received an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship.
The 6-foot-6, 305-pound left tackle was a four-time SEC Offensive Lineman of the Week this season and is a first-round NFL Draft pick projection by numerous media outlets after 34 consecutive starts at his position.
McPhee, a senior defensive end that is projected to be a middle-round draft pick next April in the 2011 NFL Draft, got sacks in his final two regular season games of the year while totaling 12 quarterback hurries, 12 tackles for a loss, four passes defended and a forced fumble during the 2010 season. McPhee was one of three players to wear the No. 36 jersey number of Bell in the Egg Bowl victory over Ole Miss in the season finale.
White, from Vancleave, has totaled a team-high 105 tackles this season, which ranks fourth in the Southeastern Conference. The senior also ranked fourth in the conference in tackles for loss with 15.5 while ranking eighth in sacks with 6.0.
White had five double-digit tackle games this season including four straight against Houston, Florida, UAB and Kentucky. He became the first Mississippi State player to record four consecutive double-digit tackle games since Dominic Douglas did so in 2008.
The 6-foot-4, 245-pound linebacker also became the fourth Mississippi State player since the award’s inception in 1996 to win the Conerly Trophy, given to the best college football player in the state of Mississippi, and the second straight, following Anthony Dixon who was honored with the award last season. The other two Mississippi State players to take home the honor were J.J. Johnson in 1998 and Jerious Norwood in 2005.
Bell, 20, a sophomore defensive end on the Mississippi State football team, died at University of Alabama-Birmingham Hospital from a form of skin cancer had metastasized through his body. Bell’s memory has been honored on the MSU campus with a patch on the football jersey, his number 36 recognized on the Davis-Wade Stadium field and with a player wearing his N0. 36 in each of the last three regular season games of the 2010 season.