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Zach Cunningham Named All-SEC First Team By the League's Coaches

Linebacker Zach Cunningham had a breakout year after recording 16.5 tackles for loss and forcing four fumbles for Vanderbilt. The SEC rewarded that hard work when the coaches named him a 1st-team all-conference player.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Zach Cunningham was everywhere on the field for Vanderbilt defense in 2015. Now, the fumble-forcing, run-stopping, hard-hitting linebacker can claim a spot among the Southeastern Conference's elite.

Cunningham was named to the league's first team after a stellar sophomore season that saw him lead the Commodores in tackles (103), tackles for loss (16.5), sacks (4.5), fumble recoveries (three), and forced fumbles (four). He helped lead a resurgent Vandy defense that ranked in the top 25 in scoring and red zone defense. That helped head coach Derek Mason earn the first two SEC wins of his career over Missouri and Kentucky this fall.

However, Cunningham was the only player from the 4-8 Commodores to earn the coaches' honor. Standout players like Ralph Webb (1,152 rushing yards) and Torren McGaster (26 passes broken up or defended) weren't good enough to displace All-American candidates like Derrick Henry or Vernon Hargreaves at their respective positions.

Here are the full first and second teams for 2015:

First Team All-SEC

TE Hunter Henry Arkansas
OL Sebastian Tretola Arkansas
OL Vadal Alexander LSU
OL Cam Robinson Alabama
OL John Theus Georgia
C Ryan Kelly Alabama
WR Laquon Treadwell Ole Miss
WR Fred Ross Mississippi State
WR Pharoh Cooper South Carolina
QB Dak Prescott Mississippi State
RB Derrick Henry Alabama
RB Leonard Fournette LSU
AP Pharoh Cooper South Carolina
DL Myles Garrett Texas A&M
DL Jonathan Allen Alabama
DL Jonathan Bullard Florida
DL A'Shawn Robinson Alabama
LB Kentrell Brothers Missouri
LB Reggie Ragland Alabama
LB Zach Cunningham Vanderbilt
DB Vernon Hargreaves III Florida
DB Eddie Jackson Alabama
DB Jalen Tabor Florida
DB Trae Elston Ole Miss
PK Daniel Carlson Auburn
P Drew Kaser Texas A&M
RS Evan Berry Tennessee

Second Team All-SEC

TE Evan Engram Ole Miss
OL Dominick Jackson Alabama
OL Shon Coleman Auburn
OL Dan Skipper Arkansas
OL Germain Ifedi Texas A&M
C Ethan Pocic LSU
WR Calvin Ridley Alabama
WR Christian Kirk Texas A&M
WR De'Runnya Wilson Mississippi State
QB Chad Kelly Ole Miss
RB Alex Collins Arkansas
RB Jalen Hurd Tennessee
AP Christian Kirk Texas A&M
DL Robert Nkemdiche Ole Miss
DL Marquis Haynes Ole Miss
DL Charles Harris Missouri
DL Derek Barnett Tennessee
LB Leonard Floyd Georgia
LB Antonio Morrison Florida
LB Skai Moore South Carolina
DB Mike Hilton Ole Miss
DB Dominick Sanders Georgia
DB Tre'Davious White LSU
DB Jamal Adams LSU
PK Taylor Bertolet Texas A&M
PK Adam Griffith Alabama
P Johnny Townsend Florida
RS Christian Kirk Texas A&M