December 4, 2018 10:53:06 AM
The No. 1 Alabama football team led the way with eight players named to The Associated Press All-Southeastern Conference Team, while Mississippi State placed five on the squad.
Former Starkville High School standout A.J. Brown was one of two Ole Miss players named to the team.
Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa was named SEC Offensive Player of the Year. In all, the Crimson Tide had five first-team picks. Tagovailoa was a unanimous selection.
In addition to his all-league honor, Tagovailoa was named Monday one of three finalists for the Heisman Trophy.
Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins and Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray are the other finalists for the Heisman Trophy, which goes to the nation's top college football player. The winner will be announced Saturday.
Tagovailoa has thrown for 3,353 yards and a school-record 37 touchdowns. He is tied for second on the Alabama career touchdown pass list with 48. He has thrown for 300 or more yards a school-
record five times this season. His 42 combined passing and rushing touchdowns also are an Alabama single-season record.
Sophomore wide receiver Jerry Jeudy, junior offensive lineman Jonah Williams, redshirt senior center Ross Pierschbacher, and redshirt sophomore defensive lineman Quinnen Williams joined Tagovailoa on the first team.
Senior defensive lineman Isaiah Buggs, junior defensive lineman Raekwon Davis and redshirt junior Deionte Thompson were second-team picks on defense.
All five of the Tide's first-team selections are finalists for postseason national awards that will be announced later this month. Tagovailoa is a finalist for the Manning, Maxwell, and O'Brien Awards, Jeudy is a finalist for the Biletnikoff Award, Pierschbacher is a finalist for the Rimington Award, Quinnen Williams is a finalist for the Bednarik Award and Nagurski Trophy, and Quinnen and Jonah Williams are finalists for the Outland Trophy.
MSU senior defensive end Montez Sweat, junior defensive tackle Jeffery Simmons, and senior safety Johnathan Abram were named to the first team.
Sophomore linebacker Erroll Thompson and sophomore cornerback Cameron Dantzler were named to the second team.
After earning first-team honors last season, Simmons and Sweat are the first defensive line duo in MSU history to win first-team All-SEC laurels from The AP in back-to-back seasons. With its three first-team defensive selections, MSU tied for the conference lead with LSU.
With five total selections MSU tied LSU for the third-most selections among the SEC trailing only Alabama (eight) and Georgia (seven).
Monday marked the first time that MSU earned a total of five AP All-SEC honorees since the historic 2014 season.
MSU's three first-team selections were its most since the 2000 season when linebacker Mario Haggan, safety Pig Prather, cornerback Fred Smoot, and offensive tackle Pork Chop Womack took home first-team laurels from The AP.
Monday also marked the first time since the 2000 season since MSU's defensive unit had earned three AP First-Team All-SEC accolades.
A semifinalist for the Bednarik Award and an All-America candidate, Sweat led the SEC and finished sixth in the Football Bowl Subdivision with 11 sacks (seven in conference play). Sweat had 40 total pressures, according to Pro Football Focus, which was the second most in the conference among all edge defenders. He added 51 tackles, 13 ½ tackles for loss and one forced fumble.
Simmons had 59 tackles, 14 1/2 tackles for loss, one sack, one forced fumble, and four pass breakups. With a 91.1 overall defensive grade from Pro Football Focus, Simmons ranked second among all interior defenders. An All-America candidate and semifinalist for the Bednarik Award, as well as virtually every national defensive award, Simmons' 14 1/2 tackles for loss ranked fourth in the SEC. Forty-five of his 59 tackles came in conference play, which led all defensive lineman.
The Macon native, who won the Conerly Trophy, which is given to the best college football player in the state of Mississippi, was one of four SEC defensive interior linemen with at least 15 hurries and four quarterback hits this season.
Abram led the Bulldogs and finished seventh in the conference with 93 tackles in his senior season. He added seven-and-a-half tackles for loss, two-and-a-half sacks, five pass breakups, two interceptions, one forced fumble, and one fumble recovery.
Thompson was second on the team with 84 tackles to go with eight-and-a-half tackles for loss, three-and-a-half sacks, and two interceptions in a breakout sophomore campaign.
Dantzler was part of cornerback group that didn't allow a touchdown all season. He had 38 tackles, three-and-a-half tackles for loss, one sack, two interceptions, and ranked fifth in the SEC with nine pass breakups.
Ole Miss' Brown was a unanimous selection as a first-team wide receiver, while junior Greg Little also earned first-team honors on the offensive line.
In three years in Oxford, Brown became the all-time leading receiver in Ole Miss history with 2,984 yards. He has 12 100-yard receiving performances during his career, also a program record.
This season, Brown had 1,320 yards, breaking the single-season school record of 1,252 he set last season. He's the only player in Ole Miss history with two 1,000-yard seasons. Brown also set the Ole Miss single-season receptions record with 85 catches this year.
Little, a junior out of Allen, Texas, anchored the Ole Miss offensive line and appeared in every game at left tackle for the last three seasons.
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