FAYETTEVILLE -- The combined salaries of more than $3.5 million paid to Arkansas' assistant football coaches in 2016 ranked No. 18 in a salary survey released Wednesday by USA Today.
Arkansas assistant coaches, led by defensive coordinator Robb Smith's salary of $750,000, combined to make $3,529,550 in 2016. That figure ranked ninth in the SEC.
LSU led the league and the nation in pay for assistant coaches at $5.47 million. Other SEC schools among the top 25 are No. 2 Auburn ($5.34 million), No. 3 Alabama ($5.23 million), No. 4 Georgia ($4.8 million), No. 5 Texas A&M ($4.42 million), No. 10 South Carolina ($3.995 million), No. 16 Missouri ($3.63 million), No. 17 Tennessee ($3.54 million), No. 20 Florida ($3.42 million) and No. 21 Mississippi State ($3.29 million).
SEC football individual awards as voted on by the conference coaches and announced by the conference Wednesday. Coaches could not vote for their own players:
OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR Derrick Henry, Alabama
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR Reggie Ragland, Alabama
JACOBS BLOCKING TROPHY Sebastian Tretola, Arkansas; Ryan Kelly, Alabama
SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYER OF THE YEAR Evan Berry, Tennessee
FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR Christian Kirk, Texas A&M
COACH OF THE YEAR Jim McElwain, Florida
SCHOLAR-ATHLETE OF THE YEAR Ryan Kelly, Alabama
The only SEC schools not among the top 25 in assistants' pay were No. 26 Ole Miss ($3.1 million), No. 30 Kentucky ($3.007 million) and Vanderbilt, which does not publicize its salary figures, citing its status as a private institution.
Arkansas' bowl opponent, Big 12 member Kansas State, ranked No. 29 with a combined salary of $3.02 million for its assistant coaches.
The only non-SEC schools ranked among the top 10 were No. 6 Clemson ($4.33 million), No. 7 Florida State ($4.28 million), No. 8 Michigan ($4.25 million) and No. 9 Ohio State ($4.02 million).
The nation's top-paid assistant coach was Auburn defensive coordinator Will Muschamp, whose salary was $1.6 million. Muschamp was named head coach at South Carolina this week.
The SEC had five other coaches among the top 10 highest-paid assistants: No. 2 Cam Cameron of LSU ($1.52 million), No. 3 Kirby Smart of Alabama ($1.5 million), No. 4 John Chavis of Texas A&M ($1.5 million), No. 7 Jeremy Pruitt of Georgia ($1.3 million) and No. 9 Kevin Steele of LSU ($1.005 million).
Arkansas' Smith, whose total package of $752,000 included a bonus, ranked No. 25 in the nation, while offensive coordinator Dan Enos' salary of $550,000 tied with five others at No. 55.
Smart, now the head coach at his alma mater, Georgia, called Arkansas Coach Bret Bielema on Sunday inquiring about Enos, which will probably help Enos negotiate a raise with the Razorbacks.
Hogs’ Tretola shares award for top SEC lineman
Arkansas guard Sebastian Tretola was named by SEC coaches on Wednesday as a co-winner of the Jacobs Blocking Trophy as the top offensive lineman in the conference.
Tretola, a first-team All-SEC selection by the league coaches Tuesday, shared the trophy with Alabama center Ryan Kelly.
"I've always wanted to be the best football player I could be, and this award is a huge token to that," Tretola said. "I couldn't do it without my fellow offensive linemen and teammates. The other four guys around me are unbelievable. There are plays where they make me look good and I can't thank them enough."
A senior from San Bernadino, Calif., Tretola has graded out at 80 percent or better in 10 games this season. He's started 23 consecutive games at left guard and worked on a unit that produced 200 or more rushing yards in a league-high six conference games this year.
Arkansas also has led the the SEC in fewest sacks allowed the past three seasons, including 12 this year.
Quarterback Brandon Allen said he has accepted an invitation to play in the annual East-West Shrine game.
The postseason all-star game will take place at 3 p.m. Jan. 23 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla.
Although team rosters have not been split up yet, the Web site for the East-West Shrine game lists the other quarterbacks who have accepted invitations as Vernon Adams Jr. of Oregon, Nate Sudfeld of Indiana and Blake Frohnapfel of UMass.
Arkansas State tight end Darion Griswold has accepted an invitation, according to the Shrine game Web site.
Former Arkansas tailback Madre Hill was honored as an SEC Legend during festivities at the SEC Championship Game last weekend. He also was introduced to the crowd at Reynolds Razorback Stadium this season as the Razorbacks' SEC Legend during Arkansas' 54-46 victory in four overtimes against Auburn on Oct. 24.
Hill, of Malvern, was a first-team All-SEC selection in 1995 and a member of Arkansas' All-Decade team of the 1990s. He holds Arkansas single-game records for rushing touchdowns (6) against South Carolina in 1995 and for carries (45) against Auburn in 1995. He is 10th on Arkansas career rushing list with 2,407 rushing yards and he scored 25 career touchdowns.
Hill helped Arkansas to two SEC West titles and the school's first appearance in the SEC Championship Game in 1995, when he broke school single-season records with 1,387 yards and six 100-yard games.
No decision yet
Junior right tackle Dan Skipper said he hadn't given much thought to whether he would declare early as an underclassman for the NFL Draft or return for his senior year.
Skipper spoke enthusiastically Wednesday about being a part of Coach Bret Bielema's first signing class in 2013 and that group's prospects for next season.
"We have great players coming back for our senior year, and it will be a good group, a fun group," Skipper said. "Our senior year is the epitome of what have we done. What legacy are we going to leave on this program?
"We came in with the expectation to build this into a national championship-contending program. Obviously we still have more work to do."
Quarterback Brandon Allen said he did not feel slighted in the All-SEC voting by league coaches, which placed Mississippi State's Dak Prescott on the first team and Ole Miss' Chad Kelly on the second team.
"The two guys that got it obviously are very well-deserving," Allen said after Wednesday evening's practice. "They put up great numbers and had great years. It's very hard to take anything away from the two guys that got selected."
Allen said he attended the 2010 Liberty Bowl game in which Arkansas defeated East Carolina 20-17 in overtime on an evening when the game-time conditions featured temperatures in the single digits and a wind-chill factor below zero.
Allen was a quarterback at Fayetteville High at the time and his father, Bobby, was on the second-year staff of Bobby Petrino.
"I was on the sideline sitting right by the heater," Allen said. "I think I was right there when Quinn Grovey's pants melted, so I remember that."
Sports on 12/10/2015