Handful Of Tiders May Be Pre-Season All-SEC

Following last year’s Southeastern Conference Media Days, I was looking over the pre-season All-SEC team selected by the media and saw one that I was sure would not be post-season All-SEC. I was wrong. He not only was All-SEC, but also All-America and won the Rimington Award as the nation’s best center. What, I thought, do all these people see that I do not?

One of the features of SEC Media Days is the media vote for the pre-season All-SEC team. Obviously, a reporter who covers Alabama is going to look for Crimson Tide players who deserve to be on the team, and over the years a large number of Bama players are selected to the team. Not many, however, remember who is pre-season all-anything.

The best way to choose pre-season All-SEC players is to determine how those players did the previous season.

From that standpoint, the absolute slam-dunk selection is Tide sophomore punter JK Scott, who led the nation in punting and net punting last year.

Although Alabama has a longtime reputation for defensive play, there have been some chinks in that armor in recent seasons. Still, two players are almost certain to be selected, and it would not be a miscarriage of justice for a few more to make the honor squad.

Nose tackle A'Shawn Robinson is likely to be a unanimous selection, and linebacker Reggie Ragland is also in that category.

Two defensive linemen are likely to be victims of the A’Shawn Robinson vote. Not wanting to load up the defensive line with Bama players, ends Jarran Reed and Jonathan Allen probably won’t be first team in voting by the media, but they are quality performers.

Even though Alabama’s secondary has been inconsistent over the past couple of years, cornerback Cyrus Jones has become a fine player after his transfer from wide receiver. Eddie Jackson seemed to have a bright career at corner before a knee injury, but he had a good spring at safety and has received some national mention for all-star honors.

Two other defensive players who have been mentioned in national write-ups have only limited experience at Bama, but both have reputations for potential and also have been mentioned. They are linebacker Reuben Foster and cornerback Tony Brown.

Alabama has a sure selection on offense in Cameron Robinson, the Tide’s left tackle.

There seem to be a number of all-star candidates at center, including three-year starter Ryan Kelly of Alabama. Kelly is one of the Tide players who will be interviewed at the SEC event in Hoover on Wednesday, and he’s likely to win over a lot of voters.

The team will include two running backs and it won’t be a surprise if they are Nick Chubb of Georgia and Leonard Fournette of LSU, but it also won’t be a shock if Derrick Henry – who had almost 1,000 yards as a back-up to T.J. Yeldon last year – doesn’t receive a lot of support.

Tight ends are used in a variety of ways and it is not uncommon for the all-star to be the best receiver rather than the best blocker, although in some systems blocking is the primary requirement. O.J. Howard may have a better chance to be the post-season All-SEC selection than pre-season, but he’ll get some votes.

SEC Media Days begin Monday and the votes have to be in before the conclusion of the event on Thursday. Alabama Coach Nick Saban along with Ragland, Kelly, and tailback Kenyan Drake will be on the podium Wednesday.


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