Four Vanderbilt standouts received elite praise within the Southeastern Conference on Monday when they were chosen as members of the Associated Press All-SEC team.
Junior receiver Jordan Matthews headlined the group with a first team selection. The 6-foot-3 wideout from Alabama completed one of the finest regular seasons for a Vanderbilt receiver in school history this year, hauling in 87 passes for a school-record 1,262 yards.
A member of the Biletnikoff Award Watch List earlier this year, Matthews posted seven 100-yard games during the season, including three straight to close out the schedule. The two-year starter currently ranks second in the SEC in receiving yards and will likely finish first due to his participation in the Music City Bowl on December 31st. He also ranks sixth nationally and could finish as high as fourth with a strong game against North Carolina State.
Matthews caught seven touchdown passes during the season but also rushed for 65 yards on two carries including a 47-yard touchdown against Tennessee. He also returned six punts for 53 yards during the season.
The AP recognition is the second of the weekend for Matthews as CBS Sports also named him to its All-SEC first team. The outlet also named him a third team All-American.
He becomes the first Vanderbilt receiver to garner All-American honors since Earl Bennett in 2006. Bennett was also the last VU pass-catcher to earn all-league honors prior to Matthews, last turning that feat in 2007.
Hal, a junior out of Louisiana, emerged as a starter at cornerback following the graduation of 2011 All-American and current Green Bay Packers standout rookie Casey Hayward.
The 6-foot Hal was among the leagues best in pass breakups during the season, posting 11 overall. He also picked off a pair of passes during the Commodores 41-18 beatdown of Tennessee a few weeks ago, receiving SEC Defensive Player of the Week honors.
Hal also finished the regular season with a career-best 47 tackles including 35 solo stops. His selection marks the sixth straight year in which a Vanderbilt corner has received All-SEC honors, following in the footsteps of D.J. Moore, Myron Lewis and Hayward.
Spear set a new school record for most points in a season with 81. The junior out of Ohio also set a school record with 19 made field goals and in accuracy with a 86.4-percent conversion rate. All of those stats not only set records at VU, but ranked among the best within the SEC and nation this season.
Spear is just the second Commodore to ever convert on a pair of 50 yard field goal attempts in the same game as well. He converted on 10 straight field goal attempts to close out the regular season.
Also the team's kickoff specialist, Spear averaged 61.1 yards on 63 attempts with 22 of his kicks resulting in touchbacks. The Commodores finished 22nd nationally in return yardage defense in large part of Spear's play. He was named the SEC Special Teams Player of the Week on two separate occasions this season.
Spear is the first Vanderbilt specialist to be named to the AP team as a kicker since Mark Adams in 1975.
Stacy, a senior captain, became the first Commodore running back to receive All-SEC honors in consecutive years since Frank Mordica in 1978 and 1979. It was Mordica whom Stacy surpassed during the 2012 season on his way to becoming the school's all-time leader in career rushing yardage.
Despite his production being effected in three games towards the end of the season, Stacy became the first Commodore to rush for 1,000 yards in back-to-back seasons as the Alabama native finished the schedule with 1,034 yards and nine touchdowns on 182 carries.
At 3,036 career yards, he is just the 30th player within the SEC conference to ever rush for over 3,000 yards.
Junior offensive lineman Wesley Johnson was also one of eight other players to receive honorable mention All-SEC recognition on Monday.
The versatile lineman has started all 37 games of his Commodore career, and played both tackle spots during this season. He was named the Offensive Lineman of the Week following Vanderbilt's 40-0 win at Kentucky. It was the third time the Nashville native has earned the award during his career.
More postseason conference teams and honors will be announced later this week. The league is expected to release its Coaches' All-SEC ballot on Tuesday, with individual award winners coming on Wednesday and the SEC All-Freshman squad on Thursday.
2012 Associated Press All-SEC Team
QB. Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M, Fr.
RB. Todd Gurley, Georgia, Fr.
RB. Mike Gillislee, Florida, Sr.
WR. Cobi Hamilton, Arkansas, Sr.
WR. Jordan Matthews, Vanderbilt, Jr.
TE. Jordan Reed, Florida, Jr.
C. Barrett Jones, Alabama, Sr.
OL. Chance Warmack, Alabama, Sr.
OL. Luke Joeckel, Texas A&M, Jr.
OL. Jake Matthews, Texas A&M, Jr.
OL. Gabe Jackson, Mississippi State, Jr.
K. Caleb Sturgis, Florida, Sr.
All-Purpose. Cordarrelle Patterson, Tennessee, Jr.
Offense - 2nd Team
QB. A.J. McCarron, Alabama, Jr.
RB. Eddie Lacy, Alabama, Jr.
RB. Zac Stacy, Vanderbilt, Sr.
WR. Justin Hunter, Tennessee, Jr.
WR. Chad Bumphis, Mississippi State, Sr.
TE. Mychal Rivera, Tennessee, Sr.
C. Travis Swanson, Arkansas, Jr.
OL. D.J. Fluker, Alabama, Jr.
OL. Larry Warford, Kentucky, Sr.
OL. Antonio Richardson, Tennessee, So.
OL. Dallas Thomas, Tennessee, Sr.
K. Carey Spear, Vanderbilt, Jr.
All-Purpose. LaDarius Perkins, Mississippi State, Jr.
All-Purpose. Ace Sanders, South Carolina, Jr.
Defense - 1st Team
DT. Sharrif Floyd, Florida, Jr.
DT. Sheldon Richardson, Missouri, Jr.
DE. Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina, So.
DE. Damontre Moore, Texas A&M, Jr.
LB. Jarvis Jones, Georgia, Jr.
LB. C.J. Mosley, Alabama, Jr.
LB. Kevin Minter, LSU, Jr.
CB. Johnthan Banks, Mississippi State, Sr.
CB. Dee Milliner, Alabama, Jr.
S. Matt Elam, Florida, Jr
S. Eric Reid, LSU, Jr.
P. Kyle Christy, Florida, So.
Defense - 2nd Team
DT. Jesse Williams, Alabama, Sr.
DT. John Jenkins, Georgia, Sr.
DT. Bennie Logan, LSU, Jr.
DE. Sam Montgomery, LSU, Jr.
LB. Alec Ogletree, Georgia, Jr.
LB. Cameron Lawrence, Mississippi State, Sr.
LB. Barkevious Mingo, LSU, Jr.
LB. Denzel Nkemdiche, Ole Miss, Fr.
CB. Andre Hal, Vanderbilt, Jr.
CB. Marcus Robertson, Florida, So.
S. D.J. Swearinger, South Carolina, Sr.
S. Craig Loston, LSU, Jr.
S. Bacarri Rambo, Georgia, Sr.
P. Dylan Breeding, Arkansas, Sr.
QB. Aaron Murray, Georgia, Jr.
RB. Marcus Lattimore, South Carolina, Jr.
OL. La'el Collins, LSU, So.
OL. Josh Dworaczyk, LSU, Sr.
OL. Wesley Johnson, Vanderbilt, Jr.
DE. Chris Smith, Arkansas, Jr.
S. Robert Lester, Alabama, Sr.
OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Jarvis Jones, Georgia
COACH OF THE YEAR
Kevin Sumlin, Texas A&M
FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR
Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M