PFF's midseason All-SEC team
We’re over halfway through the college season and that means we can start really reflecting on some of the excellent performances we’ve seen. Today that means turning our attention towards the SEC and looking at what players have stood out during their teams first six (or seven) games.
We’re going to ignore games against FCS opposition and look at the highest-graded SEC players, in our all-SEC team.
Quarterback: Brandon Harris, LSU (+6.9)
Truth be told the SEC isn’t overrun with star performers at the QB spot but Harris has been the best of the bunch. He’s been the most consistent performers even if he hasn’t had the highs of a Chad Kelly. He’s been particularly strong against pressure where his 73.9% accuracy percentage is seventh highest in the Power 5.
Running Back: Leonard Fournette, LSU (+19.8)
This one was never in doubt. Fournette has run over everyone and is comfortably our top ranked running back in the nation, let alone the SEC. No surprise he leads the Power 5 with 19 runs over 15 yards.
Tight End: Jerrell Adams, South Carolina (+8.7)
If you wanted a receiving tight end you might head more in the direction of DeAndre Goolsby in Florida, but he’s not so good in that regard that we’re prepared to ignore blocking. With that in mind Adams just about beats out O.J. Howard.
Wide Receivers: Laquon Treadwell, Mississippi (+10.3), Malcolm Mitchell, Georgia (+8.1) and Drew Morgan, Arkansas (+6.1)
Treadwell has inherited the crown of Amari Cooper as the best receiver in the SEC but Mitchell is making a strong case of his own. Both however are earning less yards per route run than Morgan, who is our slot option in this team where he’s been the most productive receiver in the conference.
Tackles: Shon Coleman, Auburn (+14.1) and Dominick Jackson, Alabama (+11.0)
At the start of the season Cam Robinson may have been favorite to land the starting left tackle spot, but his sophomore slump has really opened the way for Coleman. He had some problems in pass pro against Mississippi State but has held up outside that. At right tackle Jackson has moved into the starting lineup and replaced Austin Shepherd seamlessly, allowing just nine quarterback disruptions all year.
Guards: Sebastian Tretola, Arkansas (+18.4) and Braden Smith, Auburn (+4.4)
There was never any doubt that Tretola, a legit contender for an All American spot, was going to make this team. He’s one of the most dominating run blockers in all of college football. Smith just gets the nod at right guard on the strength of superior run blocking than Greg Pyke of Georgia.
Center: Brandon Kublanow, Georgia (+15.8)
Kentucky center Jon Toth might feel hard done by not making this team, but Kublanow has really stood out with his strong run blocking. After two so-so weeks ge really bounced back with a strong effort against Missouri that highlighted his talent.
We’ll put forward a hybrid defense that features two edge rushers (4-3 defensive ends or 3-4 outside linebackers), two players on the “interior” of the defensive line (3-4 defensive ends or defensive tackles and two linebackers (all inside linebackers and 4-3 outside linebackers).
Defensive Interior: Jarran Reed, Alabama (+29.7) and Robert Nkemdiche, Mississippi (+17.4)
The strength of Reed in the running game is truly something to behold. No player on the interior comes close to his run defense grade while his 17 defensive stops against the run are naturally the most of any defensive lineman. Partnering him is the more balanced Nkemdiche who has delivered some big moments already this year, especially his relentless showing against Alabama.
Edge Rushers: Charles Harris, Missouri (+30.0) and Myles Garrett, Texas A&M (+22.8)
This is where the SEC really stands out with Leonard Floyd in particular hard done by to miss out. But the two we’ve gone with have been excellent with Harris has been a revelation since replacing first rounder Shane Ray. Garrett hasn’t has been a bit more spotty, but when he’s been on (Arizona State in Week 1 and Mississippi State in Week 5 chiefly) he’s been unstoppable.
Linebackers: Kentrell Brothers, Missouri (+25.8) and Reggie Ragland, Alabama (+18.8)
If you put on the tape of any Missouri game Brothers jumps out at you. He’s just incredibly active. Compare him to any linebacker in the nation and his 53 defensive stops (offensive failures as a result of his tackle) are 16 more than the next best guy. Ragland does a little more in the passing game than Brothers and the two combine to just about keep out Josh Forrest from Kentucky.
Cornerbacks: Marlon Humphrey, Alabama (+11.3), Jalen Tabor, Florida (+6.3) and Minkah Fitzpatrick, Alabama (+3.9)
Almost a clean sweep for Alabama but the four touchdowns Cyrus Jones has allowed sees Tabor leap him. Credit to Tabor, with Vernon Hargreaves hurt he’s stepped up impressively. Fitzpatrick gets the nod as the top slot corner in the conference.
Safeties: Marcus Maye, Florida (+13.4) and Eddie Jackson, Alabama (+13.4)
It’s hard to look past Jackson who has five FBS interception and two more pass break ups. Maye hasn’t posted those kind of stats but is a bigger presence in the run game (as evidenced by his 14 extra tackles).
Kicker: Taylor Bertolet, Texas A&M
He’s the SEC kicker you’d trust from over 50 if push came to shove.
Punter: Kevin Phillips, Auburn
Comfortably the highest grade of any SEC punter.
Returners: Evan Berry, Tennessee and Christian Kirk, Texas A&M
It’s our team and we want a specialist kick (Berry) and punt (Kirk) returner. It helps they’ve got two special teams touchdowns apiece.
Special Teamer: Khari Blasingame, Vanderbilt
Leads the conference with seven tackles on special teams.