The Associated Press released its first poll of the college football season yesterday, ranking the Alabama Crimson Tide as their preseason No. 1 team in the nation for the third year in a row. A total of five teams represent the SEC in the initial AP Top 25 poll, while five teams from the Big Ten Conference also made the list.
When the AP released its preseason All-American list on Tuesday, one conference, as it usually does, brought the most talent to the party — the Southeastern Conference‘s 13 out of the 50 total selections were the most of any conference in college football.
The American Athletic Conference, Mountain West and Mid American each have one, and Notre Dame finishes off the list with three of All-Americans of their own.
The 13 SEC selections include five Alabama players, which is tied with Wisconsin for the most players named to the preseason list.
Each player is primed for a special season, and you’ll probably be seeing most of these guys in the NFL in 2019.
Jonah Williams, Tackle, Alabama
Last year, Williams was named third-team All-American by the Associated Press, and earned first-team All-SEC across the board from most major publications. The junior from Folsom, California was born to play offensive line, evidenced by earning national accolades as a freshman playing right tackle before moving to the left side a season ago.
Ross Pierschbacher, Center, Alabama
Pierschbacher is one of the unquestioned leaders of the Crimson Tide team. A natural offensive guard, the three-time All-SEC selection is moving to play center senior, and he’s already on the Rimington Trophy watch list for the best center in the country. He’ll be one of the first interior lineman selected in next year’s NFL draft.
A.J. Brown, Wide Receiver, Ole Miss
Last season, Brown broke onto the national scene, setting single season records at Ole Miss for receiving yards (1,252) and tying the school record for receiving touchdowns (11), on his way to being third-team AP All-American and first-team All-SEC. Brown can play, and Matt Luke’s best weapon is going to take the top off of a few defenses again this season.
Devin White, Linebacker, LSU
He was the vocal leader at LSU’s player-only meeting, and it’s White’s defense in Baton Rouge. The junior recorded 133 tackles last season, earning second-team All-American and first-team All-SEC honors. He returns this year primed for a huge year with the Tigers defense.
Greedy Williams, Cornerback, LSU
Williams joins Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor as the only two sophomores to earn first-team honors this year. Andraez Williams played youth league football with LSU teammate Devin White, and earned the nickname Greedy from his Grandmother. As a freshman, Williams was very greedy — he led the SEC in interceptions (6) on his way to being third-team All-American and first-team All-SEC.
Deandre Baker, Cornerback, Georgia
The senior is the Bulldogs leader in the secondary after recording 12 pass breakups and three interceptions last year for Georgia. Baker is a two-year starter, but was only named second-team All-SEC last year. Expect the veteran corner to be one of the SEC’s elite players this year.
Damien Harris, Running back, Alabama
The hype in Tuscaloosa is at quarterback, but this senior running back is the workhorse who can most likely win the Heisman Trophy. A two-time 1,000-yard rusher, Damien Harris is one of the big reasons why the Crimson Tide have a legitimate shot to defend their national title this season.
Greg Little, Tackle, Ole Miss
Ole Miss has one of the best professional prospects sitting in its lap with Little. Rated the No. 31 player in college football by NFL.com last year, the 325-pound junior is a two-time All-SEC selection. Enjoy him while you have him, Rebels fans. Greg Little is likely headed for the NFL next season.
Deebo Samuel, All-Purpose, South Carolina
Tyshun “Deebo” Samuel scored six touchdown through three games last season before breaking his leg, but he’s back healthy and ready to break more records. The senior, who owns the school record for kickoff return touchdowns, has 15 total TDs to his name — seven rushing, five receiving, three via kick return. Oh, he’s also got a passing touchdown under his belt.
Rodrigo Blankenship, Kicker, Georgia
The junior is a career 34 of 41 on field goal attempts, and has yet to miss a PAT attempt in 89 career tries. Blankenship is only a junior, and the sure-footed Marietta, Georgia native will have plenty of opportunities to kick the Bulldogs to a few wins again this season.
Raekwon Davis, Defensive End, Alabama
At 6-foot-7 and 316 pounds, good luck getting Davis to stay in college another year. Second-team All-American a season ago, Davis led the Crimson Tide with 8.5 sacks and picked off his first career pass in the National Championship Game. Expect another huge year from the junior.
Jeffrey Simmons, Defensive Tackle, Mississippi St.
Simmons was recruited at the No. 1 player in the state of Mississippi for a reason — he’s a freak. He’s played in 25 games over two seasons, and led the nation in blocked kicks last year with three. The two-time All-SEC selection will be terrorizing defense once again under new head coach Joe Moorhead.
Mack Wilson, Linebacker, Alabama
Wilson is one of the Crimson Tide’s key defenders in the middle, and he’s as talented of a cover linebacker as there is in the country. Wilson’s four interceptions last year led the Tide, and was fifth in the SEC. He’s played in 27 games over two season, but this one figures to be the season Mack Wilson ups his NFL draft stock into the first-round.