July 25, 2009 10:45:00 PM
Danny P Smith -
HOOVER, Ala. -- Mississippi State linebacker Jamar Chaney didn''t return for his senior year to get preseason honors.
After breaking his leg in MSU''s opening game of the 2008 season at Louisiana Tech, Chaney received a medical redshirt that gave him another year of eligibility.
The fact that Chaney played in one game last season didn''t matter to the Southeastern Conference coaches or media as both voted him to the All-SEC team.
Chaney tied Kentucky''s Micah Johnson on the media''s second-team announced Friday morning at SEC Media Days.
The coaches voted Chaney last week to the third-team defense.
Although flattered to be recognized after a year off, Chaney is only looking forward.
"If I get on one of those (awards) in the postseason, maybe that means my team has done pretty good this year," Chaney said.
Chaney plans to play with "relentless effort," which has become a team motto for the Bulldogs under coach Dan Mullen.
Chaney has worked hard through a long year of recovery and rehabilitation. He insists he isn''t thinking about getting injured again.
"That all left when we started practicing in the spring," Chaney said. "You can''t go out there and wonder if someone is going to blindside you or hit you before you hit them. I''m going out there to give all-out effort. I''m going to get rid of all that being scared and stuff during two-a-days."
MSU defensive coordinator Carl Torbush said Chaney favored the leg some in the spring, but never complained about it.
Chaney said he was 100 percent in the spring and hasn''t had any problems with the leg during summer workouts.
With the way strength coach Matt Balis runs offseason conditioning, Chaney said a player better be honest and in shape before tackling the rugged schedule.
"It''s been the hardest offseason I''ve ever been through," Chaney said. "I''m happy to have the chance to come back and go through this because I want my last year to be the best."
Before the leg injury, Chaney bettered his numbers each year with the Bulldogs. He went from 31 tackles as a freshman in 2005 to 66 in 2006. He led the team with 89 tackles in 2007.
Mullen said Chaney has been an excellent leader of the defense and the team.
"He walked into my office and said, ''Coach, I''m going to believe in everything you are doing. I''m going to be the leader of this team.'' He has," Mullen said. "(Chaney) said, ''Whatever you need me to do or tell me to do, I''m going to follow you.'' He''s probably our most valuable playing coming into the season. The team follows him. The team respects him so much."
MSU junior linebacker K.J. Wright is glad Chaney came back for his senior season.
"He''s the leader of our team," Wright said at SEC Media Days. "Our whole team is excited about seeing him back out there this season."