Alabama leads the way with seven on preseason All-SEC team

'No surprise' Alabama is No. 1 in AP preseason poll (1:46)

Paul Finebaum says it's not a surprise that Alabama has been ranked No. 1 in the AP preseason poll and Brett McMurphy says Clemson getting the No. 2 spot means the AP voters have finally bought into the Tigers. (1:46)

It’s that time again. With the college football season less than two weeks away, it’s time to unveil our picks for the 2016 All-SEC team.

Editor's note: The defense might look a little funny with 12 players, but that’s because we decided to answer the "all-purpose" spot on offense with a defensive end/linebacker hybrid position -- a position that is becoming more and more common on SEC defenses.


QB Chad Kelly, Ole Miss: He might not be the best quarterback in the nation as he claims, but after leading the SEC in passing yards (4,042), passing yards per game (310.9) and touchdowns (31) last season, Kelly is easily the best quarterback in the conference.

RB Leonard Fournette, LSU: Fellow SEC running back Derrick Henry might have won the Heisman last season, but Fournette averaged more yards per carry (6.51) and yards per game (162.75). This year, it's Fournette who returns as one of the front-runners to win the Heisman.

RB Nick Chubb, Georgia: Before his injury last year, Chubb was averaging 149 yards per game and had seven touchdowns through the first five games. When healthy, he’s easily one of the best players in the SEC. And Georgia seems optimistic that he will be ready for Week 1.

WR Calvin Ridley, Alabama: It took a couple of games, but Ridley, a true freshman last year, emerged as Alabama’s go-to receiver and finished with 89 catches for 1,045 yards and seven touchdowns.

WR Fred Ross, Mississippi State: Everybody talks about Ridley, but Ross quietly had 88 catches and just 38 fewer yards (1,007) despite playing in two fewer games.

TE O.J. Howard, Alabama: Howard had more yards (208) and touchdowns (two) in the national championship game than he had in his previous eight games combined. He’s back this season to prove that it wasn’t a fluke.

OT Cam Robinson, Alabama: From a talent standpoint, Robinson is far and away the best offensive lineman in the SEC. After a tumultuous offseason, though, it’s critical he stays out of trouble and remains healthy.

G Braden Smith, Auburn: Between Smith and Alex Kozan, Auburn might have the best guard tandem in the SEC. Smith gets a slight nod here based on his potential, but both are solid.

C Ethan Pocic, LSU: After flirting with a move to left tackle, Pocic stayed at center, where he led LSU with 132.5 knockdown blocks last season. He's the anchor for one of the better offensive lines in the SEC.

G Will Clapp, LSU: Pocic might get most of the attention, but Clapp started every game last season and did his part to pave the way for Fournette. Plus, he didn’t give up a single sack.

OT Dan Skipper, Arkansas: After moving to right tackle last season, the 6-foot-10 Skipper finished second on the team with an 83 percent offensive grade over 900 snaps. He returns as the team's top offensive lineman.

AP Christian Kirk, Texas A&M: With the exception of Henry and Fournette, no player in the SEC had more all-purpose yards (1,789) than Kirk, who became Texas A&M’s most dangerous weapon as a true freshman last season.


DL Myles Garrett, Texas A&M: After leading the SEC last season in both tackles for loss (19.5) and sacks (12.5), Garrett -- the No. 1 player on Mel Kiper's Big Board -- has his sights set on 20 sacks this coming season.

DL Jonathan Allen, Alabama: Allen very nearly went pro after he finished with 12 sacks and a team-leading 14.5 tackles for loss last season.

DL Derek Barnett, Tennessee: It’s hard to ignore what Barnett has done his first two years at Tennessee with back-to-back 10-sack seasons and 33 combined tackles for loss.

DL Carl Lawson, Auburn: When healthy, Lawson is one of the most disruptive players in the SEC. And after missing 19 games the past two seasons, he’s also plenty motivated.

DL/LB Tim Williams, Alabama: The hybrid position was invented for guys like Williams, who have a knack for getting to the quarterback. Williams finished with 10.5 sacks last season despite not starting a game.

LB Zach Cunningham, Vanderbilt: Who had Cunningham as one of the SEC’s best linebackers prior to last season? But after racking up 103 tackles, 16.5 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks, he more than earned his spot on this year’s team.

LB Reuben Foster, Alabama: Playing next to Reggie Ragland last season, Foster finished with 73 tackles and eight tackles for loss. Imagine what the former ESPN 300 star can do this season with Ragland no longer on the team.

LB Jalen Reeves-Maybin, Tennessee: There simply aren’t enough spots for all the talented linebackers in the SEC this year, but after 105 tackles, 14 tackles for loss and six sacks last season, how can you leave Reeves-Maybin off?

CB Jalen Tabor, Florida: Despite his recent suspension for the season opener, Tabor remains the SEC’s best cornerback after leading the league last season with 18 passes defended.

CB Tre'Davious White, LSU: Another player who flirted with the chance to go pro, White instead returned to LSU where he’s become one of the top lockdown cornerbacks in the SEC.

S Eddie Jackson, Alabama: He was the SEC’s co-leader with six interceptions last season, but Jackson says he wants to set the school record with 11 picks this coming season.

S Jamal Adams, LSU: Adams is a freak athletically, and many think he’s about to have his best season yet thanks to the addition of new defensive coordinator Dave Aranda.

Special teams

PK Daniel Carlson, Auburn: Not only did Carlson connect on the most field goals (23) in the SEC last season, he was also the league’s most accurate kicker at 85.2 percent.

P Johnny Townsend, Florida: Punters are people, too. And Townsend proved to be a weapon for Florida last season, placing a league-high 30 punts inside the 20-yard line.