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The 2022 Preseason All-SEC Team: Did the Media Get it Right?

What’s the criteria for selecting all conference teams? Is it based on the previous year’s performance (stats)? Or is it based on “potential?” This is anyone’s guess.

The Selections (and Non-Selections)

The media put out the 2022 Preseason All-SEC Team to close out last week’s 2022 SEC media days.

Alabama had 20 players total named to the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd teams, on offense, defense, and special teams. One could say that’s par for the course.

The defending national champion Georgia Bulldogs had a mere 7 players named to the team, and only three on defense. That’s what happens when you lose so many players from a “generational defense” to the NFL.

Bulldogs QB Stetson Bennett, the walk-on turned starter who led Georgia to their first national title in 41 years, was left off the list.

And then there’s the Texas A&M Aggies, the preseason #5 team in the country, according to Athlon Sports 2022 College Football Preview Magazine. They were the talk of the college football town at the end of Spring and the beginning of early Summer after signing the #1 highest-rated recruiting class of all time for the 2022 recruiting cycle, according to 247sports.com.

And then a dust up between Aggies head coach Jimbo Fisher and Alabama head coach Nick Saban over Saban’s comments regarding that “#1 recruiting class of all time” took over the headlines and sports talk radio for a few weeks.

After the dust settled, all you heard from College Station were crickets chirping.

The Aggies had 9 All-SEC selections total: 2 on the 2nd team offense, one on the 2nd team defense, and one each on the 3rd team. They had 4 specialists named to the team: 2 on the second team, 1 on the 3rd team.

Texas A&M’s lone selection to the 1st team was…their punter.

What does it say when the Aggies have ZERO players, on offense or defense, named to the All-SEC 1st team?

The 1st Team Offense

The media got some of the selections right, but in my opinion not all of them.

On the 1st team, they selected QB Bryce Young (Alabama), RB Tank Bigsby (Auburn), WR Kayshon Boutte (LSU), and TE Brock Bowers (Georgia). I agree with those selections.

At the other 1st team running back slot, they named Jahmyr Gibbs of Alabama (a transfer from Georgia Tech) instead of RB Chris Rodriguez of Kentucky.

Rodriguez is the leading returning rusher (1379 yards, 9 TDs) in the conference. The media named him to the 2nd team.

Gibbs rushed for 746 yards and 4 TDs. He rushed for 100+yards only twice for an awful 3–9 Georgia Tech team. Yes, he does fill a position of need for the Tide.

The media got this selection wrong.

They also named Gibbs the 1st team All-Purpose player, which is the correct choice. Gibbs led the ACC and was #3 in the FBS in all-purpose yards per game (150 yards/game).

The other 1st team WR selection was Jermaine Burton of Alabama (a transfer from Georgia). Burton caught 26 passes for 497 yards and 5 touchdowns. He also missed a game and had zero catches and zero TDs in two other games for the Bulldogs.

The media got this selection wrong.

They should have named Tennessee WR Cedric Tillman to the 1st team. Tillman caught 64 balls for 1081 yards and 12 TDs and is the leading returning receiver in the conference. He posted 5 games of 100+yards receiving and scored at least one touchdown in each of his last seven games.

The media named Tillman to the 2nd team.

The 1st Team Defense

I disagree with two selections here.

DB Kelee Ringo of Georgia was named to the 1st team. He posted 34 tackles, 2 INTs, and 1 tackle for loss.

Maybe a more deserving selection would be Jay Ward of LSU. Ward posted 70 tackles (more than double the amount of Ringo), 2 INTs, 1 tackle for loss, and broke up four passes.

Alabama DB Eli Ricks (a transfer from LSU) was named to the 1st team. Ricks, a former 5-star recruit, intercepted one pass and made 11 tackles for LSU, playing in only six games in 2021.

2nd Team Offense/Defense

With the aforementioned exceptions listed above, I agree with these selections.

3rd Team Offense

The media selected QB Will Levis of Kentucky over Will Rogers of Mississippi State on the 3rd team. What was the criteria here: performance (stats) or success on the field?

Levis’ stats:

2812 yards, 24 TDs, 13 INTs, 66% completion percentage. Some say he is a top NFL prospect.

Rogers’ stats:

4739 yards, 36 TDs, 9 INTs (in 683 pass attempts). He completed 73.9% of his passes (505 completions). That was good enough to rank #4 in the FBS.

It appears that a 10-win season by Levis and Kentucky outweighed a 4700-yard passer ranked in the Top 5 in the country playing for a 7–6 Mississippi State team.

Of the 78 possible selections (11/offense, 11/defense, 4 on special teams-26 for each team) for the all-conference 1st, 2nd, and 3rd teams, Alabama and Georgia combined for 27 of those slots.

Yes, we all know Alabama is a contender for the national championship each and every season, and Georgia is the defending champs.

If the selections were based on last year’s performance, then obviously some mistakes were made. Were selections made because certain players transferred to certain schools? Well…

The players not selected or the teams not well-represented may be even more telling.

All the above is my opinion. You may agree or disagree, and that’s fine. I invite you to leave a comment.

Thanks for reading.

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Tony Thomas

Tony Thomas

I’m a Grandparent, military veteran, and college football junkie. My articles have appeared on thegridironnews.com, the Runner Sports, and Death Valley Voice.