FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (arkansasrazorbacks.com) – Arkansas linebacker Drew Sanders has been named a second-team All-American by the American Football Coaches Association, cementing his status as the ninth unanimous All-America selection in program history.
Sanders, who has declared for the upcoming NFL Draft and is projected to be a first-round pick, has now been named an All-American by all five outlets used to determine unanimous All-Americans: Associated Press, American Football Coaches Association, Football Writers Association of America, The Sporting News and Walter Camp Football Foundation.
Sanders is the first linebacker and the eighth player in program history to achieve unanimous All-America status. He is the first Razorback to do so since running back Darren McFadden in 2003, and the first Arkansas defender to do so since defensive end Billy Ray Smith Jr. in 1982.
The Denton, Texas, native was sensational in his lone season at Arkansas, leading the Hogs in tackles (103), sacks (9.5) and tackles for loss (13.5). The junior led the team in tackles in seven games during the 2022 campaign and registered double-digit tackles on six occasions. Sanders jumped onto the national scene in just his second game on The Hill against South Carolina (Sept. 10), making 11 tackles to go with three tackles for loss, including two sacks, to earn SEC Defensive Player of the Week honors along with national recognition as the Walter Camp National Defensive Player of the Week and Bednarik Award Player of the Week. He was later named the Butkus Award Linebacker of the Month for September.
He became just the second Razorback in history to earn multiple SEC defensive player of the week awards after making 10 tackles, including a half tackle for loss, recovering a fumble and intercepting the first pass of his career in the win over No. 14 Ole Miss (Nov. 19). Sanders joined the legendary Quinton Caver, who earned three SEC defensive player of the week recognitions in 2000 before being a second-round pick of the Philadelphia Eagles.
Led by Sanders, the Arkansas defense increased pressure on the quarterback this year and enters the Liberty Bowl with 39 sacks – one shy of the school record set in 1998. Sanders’ 9.5 sacks are tied for the seventh-most in a single season by a Razorback and are the most since defensive end Chris Smith’s 9.5 sacks in 2012.
Sanders is the second Arkansas linebacker in the last three seasons to be named an All-American by the AFCA. Grant Morgan also garnered second-team praise from the AFCA in 2020.
1954 – Bud Brooks, OG/DT
1966 – Loyd Phillips, DT
1979 – Greg Kolenda, OT
1981 – Billy Ray Smith Jr., DE
1982 – Steve Korte, OG; Billy Ray Smith Jr., DE
2003 – Shawn Andrews, OT
2007 – Darren McFadden, RB
2022 – Drew Sanders, LB