Alabama's Cooper highlights All-SEC team

( - Alabama wide receiver Amari Cooper highlighted the players named by the Associated Press as 2014 first-team All-Southeastern Conference performers.

Cooper, a Heisman Trophy finalist, was named the conference's Offensive Player of the Year after helping Alabama to an SEC championship and a No. 1 seed in the inaugural College Football Playoff.

The Crimson Tide will play No. 4 Ohio State in the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 1.

Cooper has 115 receptions for a conference-leading 1,656 receiving yards and 14 touchdowns. He had an Iron Bowl-record 224 yards receiving in Alabama's 55-44 win over rival Auburn on Nov. 29 and caught 12 passes for 83 yards in Saturday's win over Missouri in the SEC championship game.

South Carolina's Pharoh Cooper and Missouri's Bud Sasser were also named as first-team wide receivers. Pharoh Cooper was also named a second-team All- Purpose performer.

Mississippi State dual-threat quarterback Dak Prescott was named a first-team performer, finishing fourth in passing yards (2,996) and seventh in rushing (939). His 24 passing touchdowns ranked tied for second with South Carolina's Dylan Thompson, but his 13 rushing touchdowns led the conference.

Entering the season, Georgia running back Todd Gurley was the likely candidate to take home a first-team nod, however, it was his teammate, Nick Chubb, who was honored.

Gurley was suspended four games for taking $3,000 for autographed memorabilia, then suffered a season-ending knee injury in his first game back against Auburn.

Chubb, also voted SEC Freshman of the Year after scoring 12 touchdowns on the ground, and Auburn running back Cameron Artis-Payne, who led the conference with 1,482 yards, were both named first-team All-SEC.

Auburn's Reese Dismukes was given credit as the SEC's top center, while Mississippi's Laremy Tunsil, Mississippi State's Ben Beckwith, Alabama's Arie Kouandjio and LSU's La'el Collins round out the offensive line.

Mississippi tight end Evan Engram, Kentucky kicker Austin MacGinnis and Missouri's Marcus Murphy, an All-Purpose honoree, comprise the rest of the first-team offense.

Missouri defensive end Shane Ray took home the SEC Defensive Player of the Year award as well as first-team recognition. Ray's 14 sacks rank tied for third in the nation with Arizona's Scooby Wright III.

Joining Ray on the defensive line were Kentucky's Bud Dupree, Mississippi's Robert Nkemdiche and Alabama's Johnathan Allen. Linebackers Martrell Spaight of Arkansas, Reggie Ragland of Alabama and Amario Herrera of Georgia were all given first-team credit.

Mississippi cornerback Senquez Golson's nine interceptions, which rank second in the nation, enabled him to lead the defensive backs on the AP's list. He is accompanied by cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III of Florida, safety Landon Collins of Alabama and Cody Prewitt of Mississippi. Alabama freshman punter JK Scott finalized the defensive team.