Taking home the award for conference Male Athlete of the Year is a very special accomplishment, arguably even more special when that conference is the SEC. On Tuesday, SEC Commissioner Mike Slive announced the recipients of the 2013-2014 Roy F. Kramer Southeastern Conference Male and Female Athletes of the Year. Hannah Rodgers, from the Florida Gators softball program, received the female award while Kentucky baseball star AJ Reed became only the fifth baseball-specific player to ever hold this honor. Reed joins former Vanderbilt star David Price, South Carolina’s Kip Bouknight, Tennessee’s Todd Helton and Mississippi State’s Will Clark.
Reed was able to earn the reward over the widely popular SEC football stars such as Tre Mason, Jadeveon Clowney and Michael Sam due to his historic year on the diamond. Reed became the first player in SEC history to ever lead the conference in pitching victories as well as home runs. He also had one of the greatest seasons in college baseball history, leading not just the SEC but the entire nation in home runs (23), slugging (.735) and OPS (1.211), while leading the way in SEC on the mound with 12 wins. Reed is the seventh Kentucky Wildcat to earn this honor.
In addition to being named SEC Male Athlete of the Year, Reed also was honored as the College Player of the Year by Baseball America, Player of the Year by Collegiate Baseball, a first-team All American, 2014 SEC Player of the Year, John Olerud Award winner (given to the top two-way player in the nation), and the Dick Howser Trophy winner. The announcement of SEC Male Athlete of the Year came just a day after Reed, who was drafted 42nd overall by the Houston Astros, blasted his first professional home run Monday night for the Tri-City ValleyCats.