Dec. 7, 2009
University of South Carolina linebacker Eric Norwood was a unanimous selection for first-team All-SEC honors as selected by the Associated Press on Monday. Gamecock safety Chris Culliver was a second team selection, while Cliff Matthews earned honorable mention accolades.
Norwood, a 6-1, 252-pound senior from Acworth, Ga., earns All-SEC honors for the third time in his outstanding career. He was a second-team selection by the Associated Press in 2007, then earned first team honors in 2008. Norwood is tied for third in the SEC with 7.0 sacks this season. He is tied for eighth in the league with 11.5 total tackles for loss. He also leads the team with two interceptions, has recovered a fumble, forced a fumble, leads the team with 11 quarterback hurries and has blocked three kicks. He is the school’s all-time leader in career sacks (29.0) and tackles for loss (54.5) and is one of five finalists for the Butkus Award, which recognizes the nation’s top linebacker.
Culliver, a 6-0, 190-pound junior from Garner, N.C., ranks third on the team with 58 tackles including 38 solo stops. He logged 3.0 tackles for loss and two sacks and owns one fumble recovery. He was credited with seven pass breakups, second on the squad. He was credited with a season-high 11 tackles at Alabama and nine against Ole Miss.
Matthews, a 6-4, 249-pound junior from Cheraw, S.C., was one of four captains on this year’s squad. He registered 44 tackles including 32 solo stops. Matthews was second on the team with 10.0 tackles for loss and tied for the team lead and ranked third in the SEC with 7.0 sacks. He also ranked second in the SEC with three fumbles forced and tied for second in the league with three fumble recoveries. He had a pair of pass break ups and a quarterback hurry and logged a season-high eight tackles against Vanderbilt.