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College Football Preview 2017-2018: Previewing the SEC

Southeastern Conference

Jake Bentley, South Carolina
2016 In Review: Last season, the SEC entered with their usual set of lofty expectations. Alabama, LSU, Ole Miss, Tennessee and others entered the season with legitimate Playoff hopes. However, outside of Alabama (who was absolutely dominant prior to a last-second loss in the National Championship) the conference had an off year. LSU lost to Wisconsin early and Les Miles was out as head coach, Ole Miss choked away second half lead after second half lead and didn't make a bowl, Tennessee was full of drama and fell out of the conference title race quickly, and Texas A&M, who began 6-0, once more fell apart in the year's second half. The conference's struggles in 2016 have them much more motivated in 2017, and with improved quarterback situations across the conference, it should be a resurgent season of SEC football.

Ranking the SEC (click on Top 25 teams for more in-depth previews)

East Division

1. Georgia Bulldogs (National Rank: 13)
Kirby Smart's first Georgia team was certainly talented, but youth and inexperience led to an up-and-down 2016, in which the Bulldogs finished 8-5 overall and just .500 in the conference. Smart is hoping for a much improved year from an offense that lacked much consistency last year. Sophomore quarterback Jacob Eason was the country's top quarterback recruit in the 2016 class and showed plenty of potential in his first season in Athens. If he can show more passing abilities down the field and take the sophomore leap many expect, Georgia's offense should be very dangerous. Eason will be helped by a fantastic running back situation, as seniors Nick Chubb and Sony Michel are both back. Chubb ran for 1,130 yards in his first season back from a terrible knee injury suffered early in 2015; now 100 percent he could be a serious Heisman candidate. There isn't a ton of proven talent out at receiver, but sophomore Ryan Ridley and junior Terry Godwin are both breakout possibilities, while sophomore tight end Isaac Nauta is only getting better. Defensively the Bulldogs were pretty impressive last season and they return ten starters. Up front, senior John Atkins and junior Trenton Thompson wreak havoc on the defensive line, while linebackers Roquan Smith and Lorenzo Carter will play a huge role in run support. The secondary has been one of the SEC's best over the past few seasons and should once more be shutdown, as senior safety Dominick Sanders and corner Malkom Parrish are both returning. Georgia hasn't quite lived up to expectations over the past few seasons, but they have one of their most balanced teams in a long time, particularly if Eason can really improve. Even with Florida and Tennessee still threats inside the division, UGA looks like the team to beat.

2. Florida Gators (National Rank: 19)
The Gators returned to the SEC Championship Game for the second straight year and while they were eventually pummeled by Alabama, it was still a pretty successful year for Jim McElwain and staff. They enter 2017 with significant momentum, coming off a Outback Bowl blowout of Iowa, which will only be helped by the addition of QB Malik Zaire. Zaire looked ready to burst on to stardom in 2015 with Notre Dame but broke his ankle in the second game of the season and was never again able to wrestle the starting gig from DeShone Kizer. His addition immediately improves Florida's weak quarterback situation, and gives them a dual threat at the position they haven't had in awhile. The Gators also bring back top rusher Jordan Scarlett (721 yards last year) and talented wide outs Antonio Callaway and Brandon Powell, meaning they could have their best offense in years. Florida has been a defensive-minded team for a long time, and even if the offense can improve tremendously, the D should still guide this team. There are significant losses that new D-coordinator Randy Shannon must adjust for, but there is talent waiting to step up. The D-Line has sophomore Jabari Zuniga and junior Cece Jefferson ready to have career seasons, and the secondary should still be top-notch, as senior corner Duke Dawson and senior safety Marcell Harris should keep it stingy. UF has proven they are a serious threat in the conference the past few years, but the one thing that has really held them back is quarterback. Zaire doesn't need to play like a Heisman candidate but if he can provide some offensive fireworks, the Gators may be able to reach their third straight SEC Championship.

3. Tennessee Volunteers
Following a wild and exciting 5-0 start to 2016 that included a miraculous Hail Mary to beat Georgia, things quickly unraveled in Knoxville. The Volunteers lost three straight to knock themselves out of SEC East contention and even they ended the year with a win in the Music City Bowl, a 9-4 record wasn't what most were expecting. Tennessee should enter 2017 with less crazy expectations, as QB Joshua Dobbs, backs Alvin Kamara and Jalen Hurd (who transferred) and defenders such as Cam Sutton and Derek Barnett all depart. Head coach Butch Jones will start anew offensively, breaking in a new OC, new quarterback and new featured back. Junior Quinten Dormady took most of the first team reps in the spring, but some believe he could be pushed by newcomer Jarrett Guarantano. Junior running back John Kelly showed promise in 2016, with 630 yards and five scores, and should be able to replicate Kamara/Hurd's production. The receiver corps lacks much proven commodities, but junior Jauan Jennings is ready for a big season, and veterans Jeff George and Josh Smith will help out, but the O-Line is a work in progress. On defense, the Vols have to fix a bad run defense, that came in 11th in the conference last year and 104th in the country. Senior Kendal Vickers and junior Kahlil McKenzie have all the talent to be All-Conference players, but have to come out and prove it. Former junior college transfer Jonathan Kongbo hopes to take over as Tennessee's top pass rusher as Barnett departs. The linebacker corps and secondary are both a work in progress, but guys like junior Darrin Kirkland and senior Todd Kelly Jr. should have productive years. Many fans are hoping less expectations and pressure on this Tennessee team will finally yield the breakthrough they've been waiting patiently for. But, unless the offense can mesh very quickly and UT can get through a tough late September/early October part of their schedule (Georgia, South Carolina and on the road against Alabama) it's most likely going to be a rebuilding season on Rocky Top, with an eye towards 2018.

4. Kentucky Wildcats
In 2014 and 2015 Kentucky was a major tease, starting off 5-1 and 4-1, respectively, before finishing off 5-7 both years. Last season they started the complete other way; with a terrible opener loss to Southern Miss and a 38-point defeat to Florida a week later before turning on the jets, and making a bowl for the first time since 2010. The Wildcats could once again be a threat in the SEC East, as they return most of their offensive production. Senior Stephen Johnson took over early in the season for the injured Drew Barker and had 2,037 yards passing while showing the ability to run the ball. Explosive sophomore Benny Snell ran for 1,091 yards and 13 touchdowns last season, and should have no trouble sliding into the No. 1 running back spot now that Stanley "Boom" Williams is off to the NFL. The return of four starters on the offensive line and two great weapons at receiver, in Garrett Johnson and Dorian Baker, also ensure Kentucky should improve on last year's 30.0 points per game, which was ninth in the conference. On the other side of the ball, the Wildcats have to improve at stopping the run, particularly in this run-heavy division. There is a decent amount of experience on the D-Line, and Kentucky is hopeful linebackers like Courtney Love and Jordan Jones can both have big years. Kentucky has vastly underrated cornerbacks, and juniors Derrick Baity and Chris Westry could once more be among the nation's best. Fifth-year head coach Mark Stoops finally got Kentucky to a bowl game last season, and has upgraded the talent level in Lexington substantially. They won't ever be considered favorites in the East, but if their offense can take big leaps, they could be a serious dark horse. A second straight bowl appearance and perhaps rising above .500 in the conference would be another step forward for the program.

5. South Carolina Gamecocks
Few people outside of Columbia, South Carolina, were thinking anything positive could happen in Year One of Will Muschamp with the Gamecocks. They were one of the country's youngest teams, and lacked any surefire answers at a number of skill positions. However, Muschamp orchestrated a very fine turnaround in 2016, as South Carolina doubled their win total and reached a bowl, finishing off 6-7. Just as impressive and important to the team's success last year was that they found some long-term weapons, namely sophomore QB Jake Bentley and sophomore tailback Rico Dowdle. Bentley was terrific in his first season with USC, throwing for 1,420 yards and nine touchdowns after winning the job mid-season. With Dowdle, UNC transfer Ty'Son Williams and solid wide out Deebo Samuel, South Carolina could actually have a pretty explosive offense, something Muschamp is certainly not known for. The former Florida head coach and long-time Texas defensive coordinator has long prided himself on great defenses, and this year's defense may start to resemble that. Five starters are returning, but the big returnee is a guy who didn't play at all in 2016: senior linebacker Skai Moore. Moore had 111 tackles in 2015 and was All-SEC, but missed the entirety of 2016 with a neck injury and redshirted. When paired with senior Bryson Allen-Williams and a decent D-Line, South Carolina could be pretty stingy up front. The secondary was pretty strong last season, and returns three guys who played tons of snaps last year, senior Jamarcus King, Chris Lammons and D.J. Smith. Those three should keep this unit as tough to pass on as ever. Muschamp did a fine job in 2016, and has likely bought time to continue to rebuild this roster. They are still a year or two away from making serious noise in the East, but another bowl berth will be more than enough for the second-year head coach.

6. Missouri Tigers
Former Missouri linebacker and defensive coordinator Barry Odom took over for long-time head coach Gary Pinkel last season and as expected, the transition was not easy. What was surprising, however, was that it was their defense, not a big-play offense, that held them down as they limped to a 4-8 record. Odom, who has always been known for being creative with his defensive looks, watched as the defense let up 31.5 PPG (12th in the conference, 90th nationally) and nearly 480 yards per game, which was dead last in the SEC. Missouri must now replace eight starters, but the front seven could actually improve, as junior Terry Beckner Jr. and senior Marcell Frazier are All-Conference possibilities on the line, and the linebackers corps has decent experience. The secondary was decent last season, and has two hard-hitting safeties returning in the back, in Thomas Wilson and Anthony Sherrils, so the defense has no excuses in 2017. The offense could quietly be one of the nation's best, as it can really be explosive when the passing game is hot. Junior Drew Lock broke out as quarterback last year, with 3,399 yards and 23 touchdowns, and he has worked hard this off-season to become even better at reading defenses. He should have a field day passing to wide outs like senior J'Mon Moore, who had over 1,000 yards in 2016, along with junior Nate Brown and rising sophomore Jonathon Johnson, who'll operate out of the slot. Running backs Damarea Crockett and senior Ish Witter give Mizzou a dangerous 1-2 combo in the backfield, so the unit should still keep good balance. There should be overall improvement in Odom's second season, and if Lock keeps getting better, this could be the best offense in the division. If the defense can at least be respectable, the Tigers could make a post-season berth, and rise into the upper part of the East.

7. Vanderbilt Commodores
Vanderbilt doesn't play a pretty brand of football, ranking 113th in scoring offense and lacked much of a downfield passing game, but the Commodores made progress in 2016, finishing off 6-7 and stunning Georgia and Tennessee on the year. Head coach Derek Mason will continue to run an offense predicated around a power rushing attack, led by under appreciated senior Ralph Webb, who is already Vandy's career leading rusher. The Commodores did show improved QB play last year, as junior Kyle Shurmur improved throughout the season, although still had more interceptions than touchdowns. Seniors C.J. Duncan and Trent Sherfield are back at receiver, meaning this could be the Commodores best offense since Mason arrived three years ago. The defense was pretty solid throughout 2016, but loses one of their best defenders in school history, first-round NFL Draft selection Zach Cunningham. Senior Oren Burks will hope to replace Cunningham's impressive production, while the secondary will look to also take major steps forward this season, as nearly every key contributor from '16 is returning. Vanderbilt may be all the way down at seventh in the division, but this is a program quietly on the rise. Mason has a legitimate star returning, in Webb, and if the passing game can improve, this team could actually be pretty scary offensively. Add to that veteran experience (20 of Vanderbilt's projected 22 starters have been in the program for at least three years) and it could still be a highly successful campaign in Nashville in 2017.

West Division

1. Alabama Crimson Tide (National Rank: 1)
Despite the fact Alabama lost a heartbreaker last-second to miss out on a fifth National Title under Nick Saban, the Crimson Tide should not stop rolling as they enter 2017. New offensive coordinator Brian Daboll has something his predecessor Lane Kiffin never had: a returning QB. Sophomore Jalen Hurts had some troubles as a true frosh playing at the highest level of college football, but still performed admirably. If Hurts can take advantage of the deep threat abilities of returnees Calvin Ridley and true freshman Jerry Jeudy, he could take a huge sophomore leap. Alabama also brings back a wonderful stable of backs, including juniors Bo Scarbrough and Damien Harris, along with sophomore Joshua Jacobs. That, plus a strong offensive line that features three future NFL starters: Jonah Williams, Bradley Bozeman and Ross Pierschbacher, should make Daboll's job pretty easy. On defense, Alabama should be as stout and dangerous as ever. The front seven may lose studs Jonathan Allen, Tim Williams and Rueben Foster but has a number of breakout candidates, including senior Da'Shawn Hand, junior Da'Ron Payne and senior inside linebacker Rashaan Evans. There is also impressive depth everywhere, as even reserves such as sophomore Mack Wilson and true freshman Dylan Moses will make some plays that leave us amazed. The secondary was an absolute turnover machine last year, and don't expect that to change much in 2017. Junior Minkah Fitzpatrick had six interceptions in 2016 and should be even better this year, while senior corner Anthony Averett and junior safety Ronnie Harrison will also play an important role. The Tide will have to replace some big-time playmakers from last season, but they are a program that can reload and restock as well as anybody. If Hurts can get even better and the defense continues to be superb, the Tide could very well finish the job this time around, and snag that fifth National Title under Saban.

2. Auburn Tigers (National Rank: 11)
Since Gus Malzahn took over as Auburn head coach prior to the 2013 season Auburn has experienced some major ups (2013 National Championship berth, magical upset of Alabama in 2013 Iron Bowl) and downs (7-6, last place finish in 2015). As the Tigers begin play in 2017 they hope to finally find some consistency on the Plains. The addition of Baylor transfer Jarrett Stidham has Auburn fans very excited. The Tigers have really lacked a dangerous passing game for years, and Stidham's performance in two starts with the Bears showed he could certainly attack through the air. Stidham will be aided by the Tigers' usual dangerous rushing attack, as junior Kamryn Pettway (1,224 yards last year) and Kerryon Johnson (895) return. They should have a big year running behind a strong O-Line that has All-Conference candidates Austin Golson and Braden Smith. On defense, Auburn saw wild improvements across the board in 2016, but does lose some key pieces, such as Carl Lawson, Montravius Adams and Rudy Ford. Junior Dontavius Russell put together a strong spring and should be ready to step up, while the Tigers are also hoping junior Byron Cowart can finally fulfill his vast potential on the D-Line. The secondary was just okay a season ago but has plenty of experience returning. Junior corner Carlton Davis could take over as the team's No. 1 at the position, while Georgia transfer Tray Matthews is essentially the quarterback of the defense. Auburn also has the luxury of having one of the country's best kickers, as senior Daniel Carlson returns after briefly flirting with the NFL. Carlson knocked down 28 of 32 field goals last year, with an impressive long of 53. On paper, the Tigers look like the second best team in the conference, but of course, that doesn't always translate to wins. If Stidham can be the missing piece to this offense and the defense doesn't miss a beat despite some of their absences, Auburn is well-equipped to be a serious SEC West contender and perhaps take a shot at might 'Bama.

3. LSU Tigers (National Rank: 15)
After beginning the season 2-2 LSU made the unsurprising move to fire head coach Les Miles, after over a decade of coaching in Baton Rouge. Interim head coach Ed Orgeron did a great job with the Tigers down the stretch, and after LSU whiffed on bringing in now-Texas head coach Tom Herman, was handed the full-time gig. Orgeron's top priority this season is fixing an offense that struggled mightily over the past few years of Miles' tenure. New offensive coordinator Matt Canada led a very strong unit at Pittsburgh, and hopes to improve the Tigers' downfield passing game. Purdue transfer Danny Etling was okay in '16 after taking over for Brandon Harris, and could see a big improvement if he can learn Canada's offense quickly. It will help LSU has a terrific running back situation, with junior Derrius Guice and senior Darrel Williams leading the charge. Guice ran wild when the now-departed Leonard Fournette was hurt last year, with 1,387 yards, 15 touchdowns and an extremely impressive 7.6 yards per carry average. Guice could be a very serious Heisman threat with a full year of being the featured back, particularly running behind a very good O-Line. The Tigers should always be very good defensively, and I don't expect that to change in 2017. Junior end/outside linebacker Arden Key took a leave of absence from the team in the spring but is now back, and could be one of the most imposing pass rushers in the country, after managing 12 sacks last season. He'll help out on a defensive line with plenty of experience throughout, including senior nose tackle Greg Gilmore and senior end Christian LaCouture, who missed all of 2016. Jamal Adams was a real difference-maker in the back for the Tigers, and his departure to the NFL will hurt. With that being said, LSU still returns juniors Donte Jackson and Kevin Toliver at cornerback, so don't expect much of a drop-off from the pass defense. While Orgeron and Canada will make some changes, this will still be a very typical LSU team. They'll run the ball a lot, have a very methodical passing attack, and should be very stout on defense. They should be good enough to be in the mix for an SEC West crown, but expecting them to jump Alabama/Auburn may be too much to ask for Orgeron in Year One.

4. Mississippi State Bulldogs
Nick Fitzgerald, Mississippi State
Replacing the greatest quarterback in school history is an awfully tall order, and yet Nick Fitzgerald did a superb job stepping in for Dak Prescott. Fitzgerald threw for 2,423 yards and 21 TDs, but did most of his damage with his legs, finishing with 1,375 and 16 more scores. The junior may not be super well-known around the country yet, but another big year from him could put him on the Heisman short list. Fitzgerald will be surrounded by some other offensive weapons that helped Mississippi State finish off 6-7 last year. Senior Donald Gray and junior Malik Dear will help replace top wide out Fred Ross, who is off to the NFL, while junior Aeris Williams led all Miss. State running backs in yards last season, and is also back in Starkville. On defense, the Bulldogs are looking for redemption, after coming in 110th in the country in total defense last season. The D-Line doesn't have any distinguishable stars, but sophomore end Jeffery Simmons and junior college transfer Chauncey Rivers both could have huge years. The secondary was pretty poor throughout much of 2016, but could be in store for a redemptive campaign. Tolando Cleveland, probably their best cover corner, missed all of '16 with a torn ACL but is now back and ready to go. He'll be joined by junior safety Brandon Bryant, along with converted linebacker J.T. Gray, who should also start at safety. It was a transition season for Mississippi State last year as they moved on from Prescott, and naturally they slipped a little bit in the division. I see them making big strides in '17, especially with Fitzgerald at the helm. If their defense can take that next step, I think they are a real dark horse in the division, and may be able to rise into SEC title contention.

5. Arkansas Razorbacks
Arkansas was one of the nation's most confusing teams a year ago, as a different version of the Razorbacks seemed to come out every Saturday. They'd beat Florida by three touchdowns then lose by four touchdowns to LSU the next, or run past Ole Miss, then get pummeled by Auburn 56-3. Overall, they finished off 7-6 and 3-5 in the conference, which left a little something to be desired. Head coach Bret Bielema does return a very veteran-laden team, so there should be more consistency in Fayetteville this fall. Senior QB Austin Allen did have some turnover issues, but still finished with a very strong 2016 (3,430 yards, 25 touchdowns). He may have to do a little more in the passing game, after star back Rawleigh Williams retired in the spring due to injuries, although sophomore Devwah Whaley shouldn't have too difficult of a transition to the No. 1 back role. Arkansas should also be very strong on the offensive line, as senior center Frank Ragnow anchors a great group, which bodes well for a team that loves to run the ball. On defense, the Razorbacks are trying to improve, especially against the run, where they an FBS-worst 39 rushing touchdowns in 2016. New DC Paul Rhoads was formerly the head coach at Iowa State, and should be able to solve some of their defensive woes. Sophomore end McTelvin Agim is likely to have a big season on the D-Line, while junior linebacker Dre Greenlaw will also play a huge role. The secondary will be pretty good, as senior free safety Josh Liddell and junior corner Ryan Pulley are both very underrated. Arkansas should once again be a tough team to handle, because they play so hard and are so physical, but unless this team shows wild improvement on defense or Allen evolves into a bonafide Heisman candidate, a middle-of-the-pack finish seems to be in the cards for the Hogs.

6. Texas A&M Aggies
There is significant pressure on Kevin Sumlin and staff in College Station, as Texas A&M is coming off their third straight season of a great first half, and horrendous second half. Making life tougher for Sumlin is that he must find a new QB, as one-year wonder Trevor Knight graduated. Senior Jake Hubenak is the only QB on the roster with FBS level experience, but redshirt frosh Nick Starkel and true frosh Kellen Mond both had great springs. They will be helped by the fact the Aggies have a dangerous rushing attack for one of the first times in awhile, as sophomore Trayveon Williams and senior Keith Ford present quite a problem. Junior receiver Christian Kirk is one of the SEC's best overall playmakers, and he should help keep the offense still potent. A&M has made progress on the defensive side of the ball under D-coordinator John Chavis, but it's still far from a strength. The good news is that the defensive line could actually resemble a normal SEC D-Line, with senior Zaycoven Henderson and junior Kingsley Keke both back. The secondary could also be pretty good, as seniors Donovan Wilson and Armani Watts, who was All-Conference last year, patrol the back-end. Unfortunately for Sumlin and the Aggies, they are staring down a tough schedule, which opens up on the road against UCLA and features a cross-division battle with Florida. Perhaps if they can find a quarterback this team may still be able to surprise some folks in this conference, but the program has lost nearly all of the momentum gained during the Johnny Manziel years. It's hard to imagine them doing any better this year than the 8-5 mark they've managed the past three years.

7. Ole Miss Rebels
Ole Miss' return to contention in the SEC was a great story, but much of that has come crashing down over the last year and a half. The Rebels suffered through an injury-plagued 5-7 2016 amid active NCAA investigation into whether some of their players took illegal benefits. They then fired head coach Hugh Freeze after five years when calls between him and an escort service were uncovered. Interim head coach Matt Luke hopes to just keep this team going forward as further punishment by the NCAA possibly brews. The Rebels still have plenty of talent, and offensively they could actually be pretty dangerous. Sophomore Shea Patterson had his redshirt taken off late in '16 when Chad Kelly was lost for the year and while Patterson struggled with his accuracy, he still impressed, finishing off with 880 yards and leading Ole Miss to a thrilling win over Texas A&M. He'll be joined by senior Jordan Wilkins in the backfield, who will try to improve one of the worst rushing offenses in the SEC. Sophomore wide out Van Jefferson is likely to have a big season taking over as the Rebels' top passing option, and the offensive line could be very good, as three starters are back and sophomore tackle Greg Little, a former five-star recruit, keeps getting better. Ole Miss will have to rebuild a defense that had a tough 2016. Senior Marquise Haynes can cause plenty of chaos up front, as will rising sophomore Benito Jones. However, Ole Miss is extremely thin at linebacker, and at least a few unproven players will likely have to step up into larger roles. The defensive backfield is still not terrific, but brings back sophomore Myles Hartsfield, who is switching from safety to cornerback, and Ken Webster, who suffered a devastating torn ACL in last year's opener. It will be interesting to see what type of season this is in Oxford. Luke and staff have plenty of talent back and Patterson appears to be a rising star. But, motivation could be a question, as Ole Miss already can't go to a bowl game due to a self-imposed ban, and may face further sanctions. This team should be good enough to contend for a .500 overall mark, but it would be a miracle if they were SEC West threats with all the things brewing around the program.

All-SEC Teams
First Team
QB Nick Fitzgerald, Mississippi State
RB Bo Scarbrough, Alabama
RB Derrius Guice, LSU
WR Calvin Ridley, Alabama
WR Christian Kirk, Texas A&M
TE Hayden Hurst, South Carolina
OL Jonah Williams, Alabama
OL Ross Pierschbacher, Alabama
OL Frank Ragnow, Arkansas
OL Braden Smith, Auburn
OL Martez Ivey, Florida
DL Arden Key, LSU
DL Marquis Haynes, Ole Miss
DL Da'Shawn Hand, Alabama
DL Cece Jefferson, Florida
LB Shaun Dion Hamilton, Alabama
LB Skai Moore, South Carolina
LB Roquan Smith, Georgia
CB Duke Dawson, Florida
CB Anthony Averett, Alabama
S Minkah Fitzpatrick, Alabama
S Dominick Sanders, Georgia

Second Team
QB Jalen Hurts, Alabama
RB Kamryn Pettway, Auburn
RB Nick Chubb, Georgia
WR Antonio Callaway, Florida
WR J'Mon Moore, Missouri
TE Isaac Nauta, Georgia
OL K.J. Malone, LSU
OL Austin Golson, Auburn
OL Isaiah Wynn, Georgia
OL Will Clapp, LSU
OL Bradley Bozeman, Alabama
DL Da'Ron Payne, Alabama
DL Kendal Vickers, Tennessee
DL Marlon Davidson, Auburn
DL Jeffery Simmons, Mississippi State
LB Rashaan Evans, Alabama
LB Darrin Kirkland, Tennessee
LB Jordan Jones, Kentucky
CB Tolando Cleveland, Mississippi State
CB Kevin Toliver, LSU
S Armani Watts, Texas A&M
S Ronnie Harrison, Alabama

Projected Awards
Conference Championship: Alabama over Georgia
Offensive Player of the Year: Derrius Guice, LSU
Defensive Player of the Year: Minkah Fitzpatrick, Alabama
Newcomer of the Year: Jarrett Stidham, Auburn
Coach of the Year: Gus Malzahn, Auburn

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