Sam Khan Jr.Alex Scarborough 101d

Preseason All-SEC team: Derrius Guice the heir at LSU

Introducing the ESPN.com preseason All-SEC team:

Offense

QB Jalen Hurts, Alabama: After becoming the first true freshman to win SEC Offensive Player of the Year since Herschel Walker, what will Hurts do in his second act?

RB Derrius Guice, LSU: Talk about a luxury. The Tigers lose a star in Leonard Fournette and replace him with a star of equal magnitude in Guice, who rushed for an eye-popping 758 yards during the final four games last season.

RB Kamryn Pettway, Auburn: Nobody rushed for more yards per game (minimum six games) than Pettway, who used his big frame to rumble for 136 yards per contest last season.

TE Hayden Hurst, South Carolina: With Evan Engram and Jeremy Sprinkle gone, meet the SEC’s leading pass-catcher at tight end.

WR Calvin Ridley, Alabama: His numbers dipped and still Ridley caught 72 passes last season. If Hurts improves his downfield passing, Ridley surely will be the beneficiary.

WR Christian Kirk, Texas A&M: Simply put, the guy can do it all. Whether it’s receiver, running back or returning kicks, Kirk is dangerous with the ball in his hands.

OL Frank Ragnow, Arkansas: There’s no overlooking the 6-foot-5, 317-pound senior who is on both the Rimington and Outland Trophy watch lists.

OL Jonah Williams, Alabama: There’s an argument to be made that Williams was a more consistent lineman than his counterpart at tackle last season, second-round pick Cam Robinson. Oh, and he did so as a true freshman.

OL Braden Smith, Auburn: With 27 consecutive starts under his belt, Smith is poised to anchor an Auburn offensive line that could be among the best in the conference.

OL Will Clapp, LSU: Whether it’s at guard or center, this senior knows what he’s doing. Last season's second-team All-SEC pick is already on his third year as a starter.

OL Martez Ivey, Florida: An SEC All-Freshman pick in 2015 and a second-team All-SEC choice last season, Ivey already has 20 starts under his belt.

AP Sony Michel, Georgia: Getting both Michel and Nick Chubb back at running back will require offensive coordinator Jim Chaney to get creative. We’re banking on the lightning-quick Michel to not just run for close to 1,000 yards again, but also surpass his average of 24 catches the past two seasons.

Defense

DL Da'Ron Payne, Alabama: Don’t worry about stats with this big fella. Alabama isn’t the force it is on defense the past two seasons without him holding down the fort in the middle of the line.

DL Marquis Haynes, Ole Miss: No active player in the SEC has more sacks than Haynes’ 24.5 the past three seasons.

DL Trenton Thompson, Georgia: When he’s out of the proverbial doghouse, Thompson is a monster. Last season he posted impressive numbers for an interior lineman with 56 tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss and five sacks.

DL Marcell Frazier, Missouri: Meet the next in a long line of stud defensive ends to come out of Columbia. Frazier flew under the radar with 7.5 sacks last season, but no more.

LB Arden Key, LSU: Haynes may be the active leader in sacks in the SEC, but no returning player had more sacks last season than Key’s 12. He’ll miss the opener against BYU but is expected to return soon.

LB Roquan Smith, Georgia: Kirby Smart was no stranger to producing great middle linebackers at Alabama. Smith, who led the team with 95 tackles last season, promises to be Georgia’s version of Reggie Ragland and Reuben Foster.

LB Jordan Jones, Kentucky: Don’t call Jones underrated any longer. After leading the SEC in solo tackles per game last season (5.7), he has become the face of the Wildcats' defense.

DB Minkah Fitzpatrick, Alabama: If it weren’t for Florida State’s Derwin James, there would be no debate about the best DB in college football. It would be Fitzpatrick, who can play all six positions in the secondary and already has eight career interceptions in two seasons.

DB Ronnie Harrison, Alabama: He’s not the ballhawk his teammate Fitzpatrick is, but he’ll surely dislodge the football from an unsuspecting receiver. Harrison is as hard a hitter as there is in the SEC.

DB Armani Watts, Texas A&M: With Myles Garrett gone, meet the new face of the Aggies' defense. No player on the roster has more tackles than Watts' 241.

DB Duke Dawson, Florida: If Florida is going to continue to lay claim to its status as D.B.U., then look to Dawson to pick up where Jalen Tabor and Quincy Wilson left off.

Special teams

PK Daniel Carlson, Auburn: The senior was as close to automatic as it got last season with 28 made field goals, the third most in SEC history.

P JK Scott, Alabama: When your coach has to tell you that 55 yards per punt is enough, you know you’ve got a strong leg. Such is the case for Scott, whom Nick Saban has warned not to try too hard to outdo himself.

RS Evan Berry, Tennessee: Like his older brother, Berry is dangerous once he gets his hands on the football. He ranks first in kickoff return average and his four kick return touchdowns are tied for the most in school history.

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