Eight Georgia Bulldogs on All-SEC football teams

FOOTBALL

 

8 Bulldogs on

All-SEC teams

Georgia hardly dented the All-SEC teams at the end of the last football season but it’s a different story heading into this season.

Eight Bulldog players were named Friday by the media as preseason All-SEC selections in voting done this week. That includes four players selected first-team: running back Nick Chubb, tight end Isaac Nauta, defensive tackle Trenton Thompson and inside linebacker Roquan Smith.

The Bulldogs had two representatives on the second team in offensive lineman Isaiah Wynn and safety Dominick Sanders, and two more on the third team, running back Sony Michel and outside linebacker Lorenzo Carter.

The second-team quarterback is Mississippi State’s Nick Fitzgerald, a former Richmond Hill High School standout.

Georgia was shut out of the coaches’ All-SEC team at the end of last season, and Isaiah McKenzie was the only Bulldog player on the AP All-SEC team, making the second team as an all-purpose player.

Alabama had a record 10 first-team selections on the preseason team led by defensive back Minka Fitzpatrick and wide receiver Calvin Ridley. They were the league’s top vote-getters along with LSU running back Derrius Guice.

Chubb joined Guice as the only first-team running backs. Alabama’s Bo Scarbrough and Auburn’s Kamryn Petty made the second team.

Chubb, a senior who bypassed the NFL draft, rushed for 1,130 yards and eight touchdowns last season a season removed from a season-ending knee injury. He has 3,424 career rushing yards, second-most in program history.

Nauta was a freshman All-American last season when he finished third on the team with 29 catches for 361 yards and three touchdowns. He is the only tight end on the SEC preseason first-team.

Thompson, a junior, was the MVP of Georgia’s Liberty Bowl win. He withdrew from classes this spring due to medical issues but is expected to be full go for preseason practices, coach Kirby Smart said this week. Thompson had 56 tackles and nine and a half tackles for loss including five sacks last season.

Smith, a junior, led the Bulldogs in tackles with 95, which was 36 more than any other player. He had five tackles for loss and five quarterback pressures.

2017 PRESEASON MEDIA DAYS ALL-SEC TEAM

(Total points earned in parenthesis)

OFFENSE

First-Team

QB Jalen Hurts, Alabama (196)

RB Derrius Guice, LSU (223)

RB Nick Chubb, Georgia (211)

WR Calvin Ridley, Alabama (232)

WR Christian Kirk, Texas A&M (197)

TE Isaac Nauta, Georgia (134)

OL Braden Smith, Auburn (201)

OL Martez Ivey, Florida (198)

OL Jonah Williams, Alabama (187)

OL Ross Pierschbacher, Alabama (174)

C Frank Ragnow, Arkansas (174)

Second-Team

QB Nick Fitzgerald, Mississippi State (121)

RB Bo Scarbrough, Alabama (151)

RB Kamryn Pettway, Auburn (141)

WR Antonio Callaway, Florida (152)

WR J’Mon Moore, Missouri (91)

TE Hayden Hurst, South Carolina (115)

OL Isaiah Wynn, Georgia (116)

OL Jashon Robertson, Tennessee (108)

OL K.J. Malone, LSU (101)

OL Martinas Rankin, Mississippi State (101)

C Bradley Bozeman, Alabama (155)

Third-Team

QB Austin Allen, Arkansas (102)

RB Ralph Webb, Vanderbilt (105)

RB Sony Michel, Georgia (30)

WR Deebo Samuel, South Carolina (64)

WR Jauan Jennings, Tennessee (42)

TE DeAndre Goolsby, Florida (76)

OL Lester Cotton, Alabama (96)

OL Greg Little, Ole Miss (94)

OL Javon Patterson, Ole Miss (87)

OL Koda Martin, Texas A&M (69)

C Will Clapp, LSU (66)

DEFENSE

First-Team

DL Da’Ron Payne, Alabama (196)

DL Da’Shawn Hand, Alabama (180)

DL Trenton Thompson, Georgia (172)

DL Marquis Haynes, Ole Miss (159)

LB Arden Key, LSU (191)

LB Rashaan Evans, Alabama (180)

LB Roquan Smith, Georgia (157)

DB Minkah Fitzpatrick, Alabama (232)

DB Ronnie Harrison, Alabama (156)

DB Armani Watts, Texas A&M (137)

DB Duke Dawson, Florida (137)

Second-Team

DL Cece Jefferson, Florida (151)

DL Marlon Davidson, Auburn (120)

DL Christian LaCouture, LSU (107)

DL Denzil Ware, Kentucky (78)

LB Shaun Dion Hamilton, Alabama (156)

LB Skai Moore, South Carolina (128)

LB Tre’ Williams, Auburn (103)

DB Tray Matthews, Auburn (126)

DB Donte Jackson, LSU (123)

DB Carlton Davis, Auburn (109)

DB Dominick Sanders, Georgia (109)

Third-Team

DL Marcell Frazier, Missouri (77)

DL Jabari Zuniga, Florida (76)

DL Dontavius Russell, Auburn (70)

DL Rashard Lawrence, LSU (54)

LB Jordan Jones, Kentucky (91)

LB Lorenzo Carter, Georgia (82)

LB Oren Burks, Vanderbilt (58)

DB Anthony Averett, Alabama (104)

DB Marcell Harris, Florida (83)

DB Mike Edwards, Kentucky (71)

DB Tony Brown, Alabama (62)

SPECIALISTS

First-Team

P JK Scott, Alabama (222)

PK Daniel Carlson, Auburn (218)

RS Christian Kirk, Texas A&M (176)

AP Christian Kirk, Texas A&M (161)

Second-Team

P Johnny Townsend, Florida (99)

PK Eddy Piniero, Florida (106)

RS Evan Berry, Tennssee (117)

AP Derrius Guice, LSU (133)

Third-Team

P Trevor Daniel, Tennessee (58)

PK Gary Wunderlich, Ole Miss (94)

RS Antonio Callaway, Florida (84)

AP Kerryon Johnson, Auburn (66)

Complete teams, 2C

Georgia picked to

win SEC East

Kirby Smart knew what it was like to start the season with high expectations as defensive coordinator at Alabama.

Now they are raised this season at Georgia.

The Bulldogs, as expected, were picked to win the SEC East on Friday by those who attended the league’s Media Days this week in Hoover, Ala. The Bulldogs just edged out Florida. Alabama was picked to win the SEC West and the league championship.

Georgia hasn’t won its division since 2012, although it was picked to do so in 2013 and 2015.

Bring it on, Smart essentially said this week.

“For me, it’s important that you understand as the head coach of the University of Georgia, I’m proud to be there. But we embrace those as the coaching staff, we embrace those as our players, when you come to the University of Georgia, the expectation is to win championships,” Smart said. “That’s what we expect to do at the University of Georgia, and that’s the standard we’ll be held to.”

The media’s picks in the East after Georgia and Florida were Tennessee in third followed by South Carolina, Kentucky, Vanderbilt and Missouri. Alabama was followed in the West by Auburn, LSU, Arkansas, Texas A&M, Mississippi State and Ole Miss.

Alabama and Auburn were the top two vote-getters for overall champions followed by Georgia and LSU.

Georgia is coming off a down first season under Smart, going 8-5, but returns 10 defensive starters, star tailback Nick Chubb and talent from the nation’s No. 3-rated recruiting class.

“I’m excited about the players we got returning. We have a lot of competition and a lot of positions, and that fires me up,” Smart said. “And I think competition is what makes your team better and being able to kind of integrate these freshman into things right now is making our total team better, and we’ll continue to do that.

The Bulldogs have fallen short of getting to Atlanta the last two times it was picked to win the division.

In 2015, Florida won the East and Georgia finished tied for second in Mark Richt’s last season in Athens, going 10-3. In 2013, the Bulldogs finished third and went 8-5 while Missouri captured the division title.

Chubb thinks the Bulldogs are capable of making a jump over last season and unseating two-time division champion Florida.

“We hope we’re going to be a better team and everyone’s buying in on the same page and will go out there and play hard,” Chubb said.

Georgia was picked to win the East and did in 2012, losing a classic title game title to Alabama 32-28.

“You know at Georgia we expect to win each and every game we go into,” junior inside linebacker Roquan Smith said. “We don’t really listen to all the hype and what not.”

Florida offensive tackle Martez Ivey expects the Gators to be driven by being overlooked.

“We’ve got to go out to do it three times to earn some respect,” he said this week. “Our goal is to win the East and also to win the SEC as a whole. We don’t listen to what people say but it’s also motivation. People don’t respect Florida, so we’ve got to go out there and take their respect. We’ve been to the championshop game two years in a row. We’ve just got to go take it.”

Georgia last won the SEC championship in 2005 when Smart was running backs coach on Mark Richt’s staff.

“We’ve just got to be confident in ourselves,” Smith said, “and come to work each and every day.”

Complete voting, 2C

— Both stories by Marc Weiszer, Athens Banner-Herald

Eastern Division (1st place votes in parenthesis)

Points awarded on a 7-6-5-4-3-2-1 scale

Georgia (138) 1,572 points

Florida (96) 1526

Tennessee (3) 998

South Carolina (5) 897

Kentucky 869

Vanderbilt 554

Missouri 388

Western Division

Alabama (225) 1683

Auburn (13) 1329

LSU (4) 1262

Arkansas (1) 796

Texas A&M 722

Mississippi State 633

Ole Miss 379

SEC Champion

Alabama 217

Auburn 11

Georgia 6

LSU 3

Florida 3

South Carolina 1

Vanderbilt 1

Arkansas 1

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