If preseason All-SEC selections are any indication, Alabama will continue to reign supreme, while Ole Miss and Mississippi State will be fighting to escape the cellar.
The league’s coaches had their preseason All-SEC team revealed Tuesday, with defending national champion Alabama garnering a league-high six first-team picks. Florida, which lost to the Crimson Tide in last year’s SEC championship game, had the most overall selections with 10, including three first-teamers.
The lone Ole Miss selection was defensive tackle Jerrell Powe, who made the first team. He’s a key piece for a team that returns five of its front seven starters (linemen and linebackers). Powe (6-2, 320) made 34 tackles, 12 of them for loss, to go with three sacks last season.
Ole Miss, 9-4 with a Cotton Bowl victory last year, has greater concerns on offense than defense, which means Powe and company may be required to carry a bit more of the load this fall.
MSU, coming off a 5-7 season (3-5 SEC), had three players named to the second team: defensive end Pernell McPhee, offensive tackle Derek Sherrod and linebacker K.J. Wright. All three are seniors.
McPhee and Wright anchor a defense with eight starters back. McPhee led the team in sacks last season with five, while Wright is the top returning tackler (82).
Sherrod (6-foot-6, 305 pounds) was MSU’s most consistent blocker last year and is one of four returning starters up front.
Among Alabama’s first-team picks were reigning Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram, receiver Julio Jones and linebacker Dont’a Hightower. Ingram was joined in the backfield by Kentucky’s Derrick Locke, while Arkansas’ Ryan Mallett claimed first-team quarterback honors.
Mallett has been recovering from a broken foot that severely limited him in spring drills, but he is still expected to help the Razorbacks make a run at Alabama in the Western Division.
Coaches did not pick an order of finish, but writers will do that, along with a preseason All-SEC team, at SEC Media Days this week. Those picks will be revealed Friday.
Contact Brad Locke at 678-1571 or email@example.com.
Brad Locke/NEMS Daily Journal