Mississippi State baseball player Brent Rooker has been named the 2016-2017 Roy F. Kramer SEC Male Athlete of the Year by a vote of the league’s athletics directors, Commissioner Greg Sankey announced yesterday. Georgia track and field athlete Kendell Williams took the SEC Female Athlete of the Year.
“The SEC is proud to honor Brent and Kendell as the recipients of this year’s Roy F. Kramer Athletes of the Year,” said SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey. “They have competed at the highest level of collegiate athletics and through their hard work, dedication and commitment to excellence have been successful in their endeavors. They are great examples of what it means to be a student-athlete in the Southeastern Conference and are outstanding representatives of their universities as both students and athletes.”
The 2017 National Player of the Year, Rooker is the first Southeastern Conference player to ever surpass 20 home runs, 30 doubles and 75 RBIs in a single season, becoming the first Division I player to join the 20-30-75 club since 2002.
The Germantown, Tennessee native claimed only the second SEC Triple Crown in league history by leading the conference in batting average (.387), home runs (23) and RBIs (82). He joins fellow Diamond Dawg Rafael Palmeiro, who accomplished the feat in 1984.
Rooker had a busy award season as he was been named National Player of the Year by Collegiate Baseball and MSU’s first-ever Southeastern Conference Player of the Year, in addition to First Team All-America honors from five publications. Rooker was also named First Team All-SEC and First Team All-South Region by the American Baseball Coaches Association.
A finalist for the Golden Spikes Award and Dick Howser Trophy, the redshirt junior became the 14th player in MSU history to be drafted in the first round of the MLB Draft when he was taken No. 35 by the Minnesota Twins in June 2017.
He led the SEC in an astounding eight different categories, including batting average (.387), slugging percentage (.810), on-base percentage (.495), hits (96), RBI (82), doubles (30), home runs (23) and total bases (201). While leading the nation in doubles, slugging percentage and total bases.
He tallied 33 multi-hit games and 21 multi-RBI games, including three four-hit games and five games with five or more RBIs. His 23 home runs were the most by a Bulldog since 1985 when Will Clark hit 25.
Information provided by the Southeastern Conference.