Birmingham, Ala. Commissioner Greg Sankey announced today that Alabama footballer Defonta Smith and Kentucky volleyball player Madison Lilly have been awarded the Roy F. Kramer Sick Male and Female Athlete of the Year 2020-2021 award by a vote by the league’s athletic directors.
“We are proud to honor DeVonta and Madison, who have not only excelled in the SEC but have also been recognized as the best in their sport across the country. They are the best examples of what it means to be a student-athlete in the Southeastern Conference,” said SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey. “DeVonta and Madison were both members of the National Championship teams and were awarded the National Player of the Year in their sport. Both have competed at the highest level of collegiate athletics, benefited from the global support of their universities and through their work, dedication and commitment to excellence have reached the pinnacle of collective athletic success. Congratulations to DeVonta and Madison and thank you for your participation in the SEC! “
Amit, Los Angeles, native, Defonta Smith, led the country in receptions, landing touchdowns and receiving yards.
Crimson led Tide to a perfect 13-0 season, including a 52-24 National Playoff Football (CFP) Championship over Ohio State. Smith was named the offensive championship game’s best player after setting tournament records for most receptions (12) and receiving touchdowns (three) while accounting for 215 yards from Tide’s 464 yards, all of which came in the first inning.
Smith was honored with the Heisman Trophy, AP National Player of the Year, as well as CBS Sports, Maxwell Football Club, The Sporting News and Walter Camp Player of the Year. He was also unanimously the first US team player and SEC Offensive Game of the Year.
Smith holds the SEC and Alabama career records for receiving touchdowns and receiving yards. He owns four and five touch games, making him the only receiver in SEC history with many career games totaling four or more points to earn.
Helped Lily Kentucky win their first NCAA National Volleyball Championship with 53 assists, and 19 holes against Texas in the title match. During the tournament, Lilly averaged 13.8 passes per set, earned 6 aces in five UK games, and was second on the team with 3.35 holes per set.
Overland Park, of Kansas, won the 2020 SEC Award, the National Volleyball Coaches Association of America Player of the Year award, was named the NCAA MVP and won the Honda Volleyball Sports Award.
One of four finalists for the ESPY Award for Best College Athletic, she led the nation in assists and broke the UK’s assisting record.
The other male nominees are: Kevin Cobbs, Arkansas (baseball); Ryan Bliss, Auburn (baseball); Kieran Smith, Florida (swimming and snorkeling); Karel Telga, Georgia (track and field); Liam Drexel, Kentucky (tennis); JuVaughn Harrison, LSU (track and field); Elijah Moore, Olly Mays (Football); Tanner Allen, Mississippi State (Baseball); Dani Kovac, Missouri (swimming and snorkeling); Daniel Rodriguez, South Carolina (tennis); Adam Walton, TN (tennis); Shane Casas, Texas A&M (swimming and snorkeling); Kumar Rucker, Vanderbilt (baseball).
Other nominees are: Mercy Chelangat, Alabama (across suburb); Chelsea Dungey, Arkansas (basketball); Joyce Kimeli, Auburn (track and field); Trinity Thomas, Florida (gymnastics); Katarina Jokic, Georgia (tennis); Haley Bryant, LSU (gymnastics); Julia Johnson, Ole Miss (golf); Shayla Broughton, Mississippi (track and field); Brooke Willems, Missouri (softball); High Boston, South Carolina (basketball); Latvia; Maines, Tennessee (track and field); Tyra Gittens, Texas A&M (track and field); Kristina Ruska, Vanderbilt (tennis).
The SEC Athlete of the Year Awards were first presented in 1976 for men and 1984 for women. The award was renamed Roy F. Kramer Athlete of the Year in 2004 to honor a former commissioner who served the conference from 1990-2002.
Previous winners of the SEC Athlete of the Year award include: 2020 – Joe Burrow, LSU (football) and Tisha Harris, South Carolina (basketball); 2019 – Grant Holloway, Florida (track and field) and Maria Vasey, Arkansas (golf); 2018 – Caleb Dressel, Florida (swimming) and Aja Wilson, South Carolina (basketball); 2017 – Brent Rucker, Mississippi State (baseball) & Kendall Williams, Georgia (track and field); 2016 – Garyon Lawson, Arkansas (track and field) and Bridget Sloan, Florida (gymnastics); 2015 – Andrew Benintende, Arkansas (baseball) and Lorraine Heiger, Florida (softball); 2014 – AJ Reed, Kentucky (baseball) & Hannah Rogers, Florida (softball); 2013 – Jonny Manzel, Texas A&M (football) and Alison Schmidt, Georgia (swimming); 2012 – Anthony Davis, Kentucky (basketball) and Brock Pancic, Alabama (golf); 2011 – John Patrick Smith, Tennessee (tennis) and Kayla Hoffman, Alabama (gymnastics); 2010 – Mark Ingram, Alabama (football) and Susan Jackson, LSU (gymnastics); 2009 – Tim Tebow, Florida (football) and Courtney Cobbits, Georgia (gymnastics); 2008 – Tim Tebow, Florida (football) and Candice Parker, Tennessee (basketball); 2007 – David Price, Vanderbilt (baseball) and Monica Abbott, Tennessee (softball); 2006 – Xavier Carter, LSU (track and field) and Seimone Augustus, LSU (basketball); 2005 – Ryan Lochte, Florida (swimming) and Kirsty Coventry, Auburn (swimming); 2004 – Alistair Cragg, Arkansas (cross country/track) and Gina Rice, Alabama (gymnastics); 2003 – Alistair Cragg, Arkansas (cross-country/track) and Lawah Thomas, Mississippi State (basketball); 2002 – Walter Davis, LSU (track and field) and Andre Pickens, Alabama (gymnastics); 2001 – Matthias Boecker, Georgia (tennis) and Amy Yoder Begley, Arkansas (cross country/track); 2000 – Cape Bucknight, South Carolina (baseball) and Kristi Kowal, Georgia (swimming); 1999 – Tim Koch, Kentucky (football) and Shamek Holdisklaw, Tennessee (basketball); 1998 – Peyton Manning, Tennessee (football) and Shamick Holdslaw, Tennessee (basketball); 1997 – Danny Wervell, Florida (football) and Trinity Johnson, South Carolina (softball); 1996- Danny Warville, Florida (football) and Saudi Roundtree, Georgia (basketball). 1995 – Todd Hilton, Tennessee (baseball) and Jenny Hansen, Kentucky (gymnastics); 1994 – Corliss Williamson, Arkansas (basketball) and Nicole Heislet, Florida (swimming); 1993 – Jamal Mashburn, Kentucky (basketball) and Nicole Heislet, Florida (swimming); 1992 – Shaquille O’Neal, LSU (basketball) and Vicki Goetz, Georgia (golf); 1991 – Shaquille O’Neal, LSU (basketball) and Deidra Charles, Tennessee (basketball); 1990 – Alec Kessler, Georgia (basketball) and De Foster, Alabama (gymnastics); 1989 – Derek Thomas, Alabama (football) and Bridget Gordon, Tennessee (basketball); 1988 – Will Purdue, Vanderbilt (basketball) and Dara Torres, Florida (swimming); 1987 – Cornelius Bennett, Alabama (football) and Lily Leather Wood King, Alabama (track and field); 1986 – Bo Jackson, Auburn (football) and Jennifer Gillum, Ole Mies (basketball); 1985 – Will Clark, Mississippi State (baseball) and Penny Houseshield, Alabama (gymnastics); 1984 – Terry Hogg, Georgia (football) and Tracy Colkins, Florida (swimming); 1983 – Herschel Walker, Georgia (football/track and field); 1982 – Buck Bell, Georgia (football / baseball); 1981 – Rudy Gaines, Auburn (swimming); 1980 – Kyle Macy, Kentucky (basketball); 1979 – Reggie King, Alabama (basketball); 1978 – Jack Givens, Kentucky (basketball); 1977 – Larry Sivers, Tennessee (football); and 1976 – Harvey Glance, Auburn (track and field).