December 6, 2017 10:10:30 AM
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- Coming on the heels of The Associated Press All-Southeastern Conference laurels, Mississippi State offensive lineman Martinas Rankin, defensive tackle Jeffery Simmons, and defensive end Montez Sweat were named Tuesday to the All-SEC Coaches First Team, the league announced Tuesday.
It's the first time since the 2014 season that three Bulldogs have earned first-team honors. It also is the first time in program history MSU has had two first-team selections on the defensive line.
Simmons, a two-time SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week honoree, dominated a defense that ranked in the top 20 in four categories nationally. The defense allowed 302 yards per game to rank 10th nationally, which is the best mark by MSU since 1999.
Despite being double-teamed a majority of the season, Simmons had 57 tackles. The former standout at Noxubee County High School had 11 tackles for loss and a career-best four-and-a-half sacks.
In his debut season as a Bulldog, Sweat led the conference and ranked ninth nationally with nine-and-a-half sacks. He is the first Bulldog to lead the SEC in sacks since Willie Evans in 2005.
The Stone Mountain, Georgia, native earned three SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week laurels, becoming the first Bulldog to do so since 2014. The junior totaled 12 1/2 tackles for loss. He closed the regular season with 44 tackles and a fumble recovery.
Rankin became the first offensive lineman to earn first-team accolades at offensive line since former Bulldog and current Oakland Raider Gabe Jackson in 2013. Rankin served as a team captain in 2017 and anchored an offensive line that allowed MSU to rush for 2,995 yards, which is third in the league. The Bulldogs average 249.6 yards per game, ranking 14th nationally, third in the SEC and is the best rushing yards per game since MSU's school record of 280.5 was set in 1980.
The Mendenhall native has guided an offensive line that has allowed 11 sacks this season, which is the fewest by any Power 5 team this year, and the sixth-fewest in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS).
n Three Ole Miss players named All-AEC: At Birmingham, Alabama, Sophomore wide receiver A.J. Brown was selected as a first-team All-SEC wide receiver, while offensive lineman Greg Little and defensive end Marquis Haynes were named second-team All-SEC Tuesday. Brown also earned second-team honors at the all-purpose position.
Brown became Ole Miss' single-season record-holder in receiving yards (1,252) and tied for the top spot in receiving touchdowns (11). He led the SEC and ranks sixth nationally in receiving yards per game (104.3). His six 100-yard receiving games is tied for best in a single season, equaling Laquon Treadwell's mark in 2015.
The 2017 Conerly Trophy winner finished third on Ole Miss' single-season record charts in receptions (75).
Little, a sophomore from Allen, Texas, started all 12 games and helped pass protect for an offense that led the SEC and ranked 10th nationally (328.4 yards passing per game).
Haynes, a senior from Jacksonville, Florida, led Ole Miss with 11 tackles for loss and seven-and-a-half sacks. He finished as Ole Miss' career-leader in sacks (32) and TFLs (47 1/2). Haynes had 45 tackles and a team-leading three forced fumbles.
n Alabama lands 10 on All-SEC team: At Birmingham, Alabama, Alabama had five first-team honorees and 10 players overall on the Coaches All-SEC Team. It is the 10th-consecutive season Alabama has led the conference in All-SEC picks.
Junior defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick, sophomore defensive lineman Raekwon Davis, sophomore offensive lineman Jonah Williams, junior receiver Calvin Ridley, and senior punter JK Scott received first-team honors.
The first-team honors are the third for Scott (2014, 2016) and second for Fitzpatrick (2016). Ridley was a second-team selection in 2015 and 2016.
Senior center Bradley Bozeman was named to the second-team offense, while senior defensive lineman Da'Shawn Hand, junior defensive lineman Da'Ron Payne, senior linebacker Rashaan Evans and junior defensive back Ronnie Harrison were second-team picks on defense.
Alabama landed 11 players on The Associated Press' All-SEC Team that was announced Monday.