SEC: Mississippi State Bulldogs
Well, SEC teams are once again making sure their recruiting foundations are strong, as 10 of the 14 teams are among the top 30 of the ESPN class rankings, including five in the top 10.
Alabama moved up two spots to lead all the SEC teams, ranking second only to Michigan in the rankings. Alabama has 13 commitments, including six ESPN 150 members and nine ESPN 300 members. Right now, the Crimson Tide's class is highlighted by recent ESPN 150 quarterback commit David Cornwell (Norman, Okla./Norman North) and No. 2 athlete Bo Scarbrough (Tuscaloosa, Ala./Northridge).
Texas A&M fell one spot behind Alabama. The Aggies' class currently has 14 members with four ESPN 150 members and nine ESPN 300 members. Kevin Sumlin is having no problem recruiting in his second year in the SEC and as the Aggies' coach. He closed very well last year and has verbals from the No. 1 outside linebacker -- Hoza Scott (La Porte, Texas) -- and No. 3 pocket passing quarterback -- Kyle Allen (Scottsdale, Ariz./Desert Mountain).
Kentucky and Tennessee have been very pleasant surprises in the recruiting world this year. Both are operating with new head coaches, yet both are ranked inside the top 15. Tennessee sits at No. 6 in the rankings, while Kentucky is 11th.
Here's a look at where all the SEC teams ranked in the top 30:
2. Alabama (13 commits) -- 6 ESPN 150, 9 ESPN 300
3. Texas A&M (14) -- 4 ESPN 150, 9 ESPN 300
6. Tennessee (17) -- 2 ESPN 150, 7 ESPN 300
7. LSU (10) -- 5 ESPN 150, 9 ESPN 300
9. Florida (10) -- 3 ESPN 150, 6 ESPN 300
11. Kentucky (18) -- 1 ESPN 150, 5 ESPN 300
13. Georgia (10) -- 4 ESPN 150, 5 ESPN 300
14. Auburn (9) -- 3 ESPN 150, 6 ESPN 300
15. Ole Miss (16) -- 1 ESPN 150, 3 ESPN 300
26. Vanderbilt (10) -- 0 ESPN 150, 1 ESPN 300
The 14 SEC teams also have combined to grab verbal commitments from 32 ESPN 150 members and 64 ESPN 300 members.
Which one will be the most improved? We asked our readers and with more than 7,700 votes cast in our SportsNation poll, South Carolina's Connor Shaw narrowly beat LSU's Zach Mettenberger by taking 30 percent of the vote. Mettenberger grabbed 28 percent.
I like the fans' pick because a healthy Shaw could do some real damage this fall. He's a very good passer and has no problem extending plays with his feet. The thing that has held him back is that pesky injury bug. If he can stay on the field and away from the trainer's table this fall, he could put up some nice numbers for the Gamecocks.
It helps that Bruce Ellington is back at receiver and sophomore running back Mike Davis has the potential to be a strong player for South Carolina, which should help open up the passing game even more.
As for Mettenberger, if he plays like he did during the last month of the season in 2012, he could make a run at the passing yardage crown. Mettenberger was way more confident and more comfortable in LSU's offense late last season and he only got better this spring. Having new offensive coordinator Cam Cameron helping him out was a plus. Also, he gets back his top pass-catchers, including Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr.
Florida's Jeff Driskel came in third with 19 percent of the vote, while Missouri's James Franklin earned 15 percent and Mississippi State's Tyler Russell nabbed eight percent.
There might be questions surrounding Florida's receiving corps, but Driskel was much more confident in his game this spring and is working with the same offensive coordinator for the second straight year for the first time with the Gators.
Franklin and his offensive line have to stay healthy this fall. He has all the talent to have a big year, but if he can't stay healthy he'll have another rough go in 2013. Most of his receiving targets are back so that should help, as well.
For Russell, he's having to deal with a rebuilt receiving corps. With the line and running backs he has coming back, Russell will have some of the pressure taken off of his shoulders, but he'll have to help develop those receivers quickly.
Who will make the most improvements this fall?
Jeff Driskel, who has all of the athleticism to make improvements from a year in which he threw for just 132.7 yards per game. The question is if he has the personnel around him to take his game to the next level. Driskel has the arm and legs to make plays, but he has to get more comfortable in the pocket. The good news is he was much more confident this spring and he'll finally have the same offensive coordinator to work with in consecutive years.
Missouri's James Franklin was one of the country's best dual-threat quarterbacks in 2011, but dealt with a laundry list of injuries last year. He threw for only 1,562 yards and 10 touchdowns with seven interceptions in 2012. His injuries are gone and he displayed more confidence this spring with his new offensive coordinator. He'll also have a handful of talented receivers to work with this fall.
LSU's Zach Mettenberger started last season off slower than expected, but really made strides during the last month of the season. After failing to pass for 200 yards in consecutive games through the first two months, he crossed the 200-yard mark in all four games in November. Mettenberger returns all of his top receiving weapons and will work behind one of the top offensive lines in the SEC.
Then there's Mississippi State's Tyler Russell, who started the season off as one of the country's most efficient passers before falling apart when the competition got tougher from the end of October on. Russell won just one of his final six starts and threw nine touchdowns to eight interceptions, including four interceptions in the bowl loss to Northwestern. What will make things tough for Russell is the receiving corps is being completely rebuilt.
Finally, you have South Carolina's Connor Shaw. If not for injuries, Shaw probably would have been one of the top passers in the SEC last year. He moves well with his feet and can make some big-time throws. He's coming off of foot surgery, but should be 100 percent for the fall. If he stays healthy, Shaw should be one of the best dual-threat players in the SEC.
It's the time for all the prognosticators to get their thoughts and forecasts out there. We'll even take part in all the fun soon enough ... but that's a story for another day.
While we wait for all that hoopla, we'll take a look at Athlon Sports' 2013 All-SEC team. Many of the regulars made the cut, like Johnny Manziel, Todd Gurley, Amari Cooper, Jadeveon Clowney, C.J. Mosley and Anthony Johnson earning first-team honors.
AJ McCarron and Denzel Nkemdiche made the second team, while Aaron Murray and E.J. Gaines made the third team.
Alabama led all schools with 14 players making the three teams, including six first-team selections. Florida and Texas A&M were next with 10 selections, while Georgia and Ole Miss each had nine selections.
Here's a look at Athlon's All-SEC first-team:
QB: Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M
RB: Todd Gurley, Georgia
RB: T.J. Yeldon, Alabama
WR: Amari Cooper, Alabama
WR: Jordan Matthews, Vanderbilt
TE: Arthur Lynch, Georgia
C: Travis Swanson, Arkansas
OG: Gabe Jackson, Mississippi State
OG: Anthony Steen, Alabama
OT: Cyrus Kouandjio, Alabama
OT: Jake Matthews, Texas A&M
DE: Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina
DE: Chris Smith, Arkansas
DT: Dominique Easley, Florida
DT: Anthony Johnson, LSU
LB: Jordan Jenkins, Georgia
LB: A.J. Johnson, Tennessee
LB: C.J. Mosley, Alabama
CB: Andre Hal, Vanderbilt
CB: Loucheiz Purifoy, Florida
S: Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Alabama
S: Craig Loston, LSU
K: Carey Spear, Vanderbilt
P: Kyle Christy, Florida
KR: Andre Debose, Florida
PR: Marcus Murphy, Missouri
But there are some other first-year players who could make immediate splashes with their respective teams. Of course, I'm talking about junior college transfers. You don't bring veterans in just to stand around and watch. Coaches sign juco players because they need immediate help at certain positions.
This year is no different for league coaches, as a handful of juco players are expected to help out this fall. Will another Nick Fairley or, dare I say, Cam Newton emerge from this year's crop of juco transfers? We'll find out soon enough.
Here are five juco transfers (in alphabetical order) to keep an eye on in 2013:
- Justin Cox, CB, Mississippi State: The Bulldogs have to replace three starters in their secondary, including Thorpe Award winner Johnthan Banks and Darius Slay. That won't be easy, but Cox could ease some of the coaches' worries with his speed and athleticism. He was one of the fastest players on the team this spring and had a superb juco career, intercepting 11 passes and breaking up 19 during his two years at East Mississippi Community College.
- Lavon Hooks, DT, Ole Miss: Depth in the interior of the Rebels' defensive line is crucial going forward. That means Hooks has a great chance to see the field early. He did a great job of securing a spot in Ole Miss' rotation with a very solid spring. He's extremely strong and athletic and should help the Rebels against both the run and pass this fall.
- Toby Johnson, DT, Georgia: The Bulldogs need help in the interior of their defensive line and Johnson could be the answer. Johnson was one of the top juco players last year, but he's rehabbing from an anterior cruciate ligament injury he suffered last November. He should be able to go through fall -- and if he's in the right shape he'll have a shot a starting spot.
- Za'Darius Smith, DE, Kentucky: New coach Mark Stoops has a very good foundation to work with along his defensive line, and adding Smith to the rotation makes that unit even stronger. He was a monster in the weight room before spring practice and was just as good once he got out on the field. He should help enhance what looks to already be a pretty solid pass rush for the Wildcats this fall.
- Brandon Vandenburg, TE, Vanderbilt: The Commodores might have some solid skill players coming back on offense, but coach James Franklin has made it clear that there is some concern at tight end. Help is needed and Vandenburg could certainly provide it with his speed and solid blocking ability. He could be a deceptive weapon for the Commodores this fall and will have every opportunity to take the starting job.
Recruiting is the lifeblood of every program in the country, and every conference has its own strengths and weaknesses when it comes to landing top prospects. In the start of a weeklong series, we'll examine the BCS conferences plus Notre Dame to find each's strength, the biggest obstacle each faces and the overall view of the conference. The SEC is up today. Biggest obstacle: When it comes to recruiting in the SEC, the biggest obstacle arguably comes from within. No conference recruits as consistently strong from top to bottom as the SEC and the margin for error is very small. From 2006 through 2013, the SEC has had no fewer than six programs finish within the top 25 of the class rankings in any given year, and the 2013 final class rankings saw all 14 teams finish in the top 40, including 10 in the top 25. A program could be having good success on the recruiting trail and still find itself in the middle or even the back of the pack. Mississippi State, for example, finished with the 25th-ranked class this past cycle only to finish 10th within its own conference.
Being able to recruit as a member of the SEC brings with it many benefits, but as a result of that there are no weak links among SEC teams on the recruiting trail. Alabama has posted back-to-back top-ranked classes and a group that includes programs such as Florida, Georgia and LSU are usually top 10-15 staples, if not top class contenders themselves year in and year out. Other programs within the SEC have shown the ability to have success and even make a big impact as well. Ole Miss this past cycle broke from the pack to land a top-five class that included the nation's top-ranked prospect (Robert Nkemdiche). Even Vanderbilt, long considered a back-of-the-pack staple, made a surge on the recruiting trail as well under the direction of James Franklin and finished with a top-25 class for 2013.
Competition on the recruiting trail is tough all over, but in the SEC it has proved to be extremely fierce and a class that would be great in any other conference simply might not be good enough as a member of this conference.
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Missouri had the SEC’s highest score with a 982, and two-time defending national champion Alabama was second with a 978. Both the Tigers and Crimson Tide were honored by the NCAA last week for their APR scores in football.
The APR measures eligibility, retention and graduation over a four-year period. The new scores cover a four-year period from the 2008-09 through the 2011-12 academic years.
Tennessee (924) was the only SEC football program under the 925 threshold, which subjects teams to penalties such as scholarship losses and reduced practice time.
By 2014, schools that fall under a four-year APR average of 930 could face a postseason bowl ban.
First-year Tennessee coach Butch Jones knew the Vols were flirting with that standard when he took the job in December, but is confident the right steps have been taken to get Tennessee's APR scores back up to speed and steer clear of a bowl ban.
For instance, Tennessee's team GPA in the most recent semester improved to a 2.8, and Tennessee has also made it a priority under athletic director Dave Hart to strengthen its academic support system. Tennessee recently hired Joe Scogin from Missouri to head up its Thornton Center, which is the academic support center for athletes.
“Academics are at the forefront of the priorities within our football team, and we are excited with the results in the classroom from the spring semester,” Jones said. “We are moving forward with a great plan and structure that alleviates past academic concerns, and we are confident of avoiding any APR issues. Everything is in place to provide the best possible environment for achieving academic success for our student-athletes as we continue to move forward."
- The NCAA was too easy on Mississippi State, writes Kevin Scarbinsky of The Birmingham News.
- Alabama lands a commitment from one of the country's top punters.
- Florida's Dante Fowler, Jr. is ready for the challenge of his second season.
- Florida quarterback Jeff Driskel is drafted by the Boston Red Sox in the 28th round.
- Akeem Judd, the top-ranked junior college running back, commits to Ole Miss.
- Arkansas' Jeff Long is honored as one of the country's top athletic directors.
- Top defensive end prospect Denzel Ware is back in the fold with Kentucky.
- Tennessee will look to its freshman class for help in 2013.
- This could be a huge recruiting week for Georgia.
- The Arkansas-Missouri border rivalry is coming.
- SEC scheduling administrator Larry Templeton talks about the difficulties of sorting out the schedule.
- Johnny Manziel makes an appearance at the NBA Finals and roots for the Heat.
One thing to keep in mind is that until last season everybody in the league played three games outside their division. With Missouri and Texas A&M joining the league, that number dwindled to two.
Over the last decade, only one team has made the SEC championship game after playing three cross-divisional opponents with winning SEC records.
Wouldn’t you know it. That team was Spurrier’s 2010 South Carolina club. The Gamecocks beat Alabama (5-3), but lost to Arkansas (6-2) and Auburn (8-0). South Carolina was the only team in the East that season with a winning league record. In fact, four of the six teams that year in the East finished with losing SEC records.
During the last two seasons, the SEC championship game participants didn’t play a single team from the other division that finished with a winning SEC record. In fact, seven of their 10 combined opponents out of division won two or fewer league games.
In the last six years, only one time has a team making the SEC championship game had to face more than one cross-divisional opponent with a winning league record. Once again, that team was South Carolina in 2010.
Alabama has played in the SEC championship game three times under Nick Saban (2008, 2009 and 2012). Only one of the eight cross-divisional foes the Crimson Tide played in those three years had a winning conference record. Georgia finished 6-2 in 2008.
Likewise, LSU has also played in the SEC championship game three times under Les Miles (2005, 2007 and 2011). Of the Tigers' nine cross-divisional opponents in those three years, seven finished with losing conference records.
What’s all this mean?
Make up your own mind, but below is a look at the participants in the last 10 SEC championship games and a rundown of who they played out of division and the combined league records of those opponents:
- Alabama: 3-13 (Missouri 2-6 and Tennessee 1-7)
- Georgia: 3-13 (Auburn 0-8 and Ole Miss 3-5)
- LSU: 6-18 (Florida 3-5, Kentucky 2-6 and Tennessee 1-7)
- Georgia: 6-18 (Auburn 4-4, Mississippi State 2-6 and Ole Miss 0-8)
- Auburn: 10-14 (Georgia 3-5, Kentucky 2-6 and South Carolina 5-3)
- South Carolina: 19-5 (Alabama 5-3, Arkansas 6-2 and Auburn 8-0)
- Alabama: 10-14 (Kentucky 3-5, South Carolina 3-5 and Tennessee 4-4)
- Florida: 11-13 (Arkansas 3-5, LSU 5-3 and Mississippi State 3-5)
- Alabama: 11-13 (Georgia 6-2, Kentucky 2-6 and Tennessee 3-5)
- Florida: 10-14 (Arkansas 2-6, LSU 3-5 and Ole Miss 5-3)
- LSU: 11-13 (Florida 5-3, Kentucky 3-5 and South Carolina 3-5)
- Tennessee: 12-12 (Alabama 4-4, Arkansas 4-4 and Mississippi State 4-4)
- Arkansas: 9-15 (South Carolina 3-5, Tennessee 5-3 and Vanderbilt 1-7)
- Florida: 14-10 (Alabama 2-6, Auburn 6-2 and LSU 6-2)
- LSU: 11-13 (Florida 5-3, Tennessee 3-5 and Vanderbilt 3-5)
- Georgia: 10-14 (Arkansas 2-6, Auburn 7-1 and Mississippi State 1-7)
- Auburn: 14-10 (Georgia 6-2, Kentucky 1-7 and Tennessee 7-1)
- Tennessee: 14-10 (Alabama 3-5, Auburn 8-0 and Ole Miss 3-5)
- LSU: 14-10 (Florida 6-2, Georgia 6-2 and South Carolina 2-6)
- Georgia: 14-10 (Alabama 2-6, Auburn 5-3 and LSU 7-1)
- Some more on Mississippi State's NCAA sanctions.
- The SEC has its sixth NCAA major violations case since 2009, but avoids a postseason ban.
- Running back Marlin Lane is reportedly on his way back to Tennessee's football team.
- John Adams of The Knoxville News-Sentinel outlines the blueprint for the Vols rising to the top of the East.
- Is this the year that Mark Richt gets Georgia over the hump in the SEC?
- Early commitments have been a valuable fixture of the Nick Saban era at Alabama.
- Alabama coach Nick Saban says leadership must be maintained.
- Looking at some early point spreads for the 2013 season.
It’s always a downer to be placed on NCAA probation, but the sting is less severe when the penalties don’t include a postseason ban.
More than anybody else, the Bulldogs’ players had to be relieved Friday when the NCAA announced Mississippi State’s penalties. Of the eight penalties, Mississippi self-imposed six of them.
In finding that a Mississippi State booster “made contact with a top prospect and provided impermissible benefits,” the NCAA placed Mississippi State on two years of probation through June 7, 2015.
The NCAA accepted Mississippi State’s self-imposed penalties, which included the reduction of two total scholarships (from 85 to 83) for the 2012-13 academic year and the reduction of two initial and two total scholarships (from 25 to 23 and from 85 to 83) for the 2013-14 academic year.
Mississippi State had also self-imposed recruiting visit restrictions that the NCAA accepted and disassociated the booster in question from the athletic program.
Former assistant coach Angelo Mirando, who resigned on Aug. 19 just days before the school announced the NCAA's investigation, was cited for unethical conduct and given a one year show-cause penalty, which hinders his ability to secure employment at the college level.
In a lot of ways, Mississippi State's case mirrors that of South Carolina's recent NCAA case involving the improper hotel rooms for players and recruits. The Gamecocks were also placed on probation, but because of the university's cooperation and the fact that Steve Spurrier and his coaches weren't implicated, the penalties were less severe.
What's more, the fact that Mississippi State took swift action and fired Mirando also worked in the Bulldogs' favor.
Obviously, Mississippi State will have to watch itself going forward because it will now fall under the repeat offender window if something else should come up. But for the coaches and players on this team, the reality is that this was in their rear-view mirrors a long time ago.
Still, getting the official word that they won't be barred from playing in a bowl game will make the summer a lot less stressful.
The SEC returns a solid group of quarterbacks, running backs and receivers. In fact, the seven of the top 10 passers return, along with six of the top 10 rushers and four of the top 10 receivers.
That means some pretty talented offensive trios will be back in the SEC this fall.
Well, you have Alabama, which returns quarterback AJ McCarron, running back T.J. Yeldon and wide receiver Amari Cooper. McCarron threw for 2,933 yards and 30 touchdowns, while Yeldon, who was Eddie Lacy's backup last year, rushed for 1,108 yards and 12 touchdowns. Cooper added 1,000 yards and 11 touchdowns, but was arguably one of the league's best players at the end of the season.
At Texas A&M, Johnny Manziel is back, and so is his top rusher and receiver. While things are certainly different in College Station with the loss of offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury, left tackle Luke Joeckel and receiver Ryan Swope, the playbook and game plan shouldn't change too much. Manziel was the country's best player last year, registering 5,116 yards of total offense and 47 touchdowns, while Ben Malena rushed for 808 yards and eight touchdowns. Mike Evans had 1,105 and five touchdowns.
Georgia returns a lot of offensive firepower, starting with quarterback Aaron Murray and running backs Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall. However, leading receiver Tavarres King is gone. No biggie, really, because the very talented Malcolm Mitchell is back and will be playing receiver full-time. Murray will likely continue to break record after record and should become the first SEC quarterback to pass for 3,000 yards in four seasons. Last year, Gurley led all SEC running backs with 1,385 yards and 17 touchdowns, while Mitchell had 572 receiving yards and four touchdowns.
Ole Miss proved that Hugh Freeze's spread wasn't too hard to learn in his first year, as the Rebels had one of the league's top offenses. Quarterback Bo Wallace and his 3,384 total yards of offense and 30 touchdowns are back along with leading rusher Jeff Scott (846 yards and six touchdowns) and leading receiver Donte Moncrief (979 yards and 10 touchdowns). If Wallace cuts down his turnovers, the Rebels' offense should be very fun to watch again.
But there are certainly other trios that could turn in big seasons. Missouri has a healthy James Franklin and Henry Josey coming back. They were one of best quarterback-running back duos in the Big 12 back in 2011 and both are finally close to being full speed again. Also, rising sophomore Dorial Green-Beckham had a big spring and should be the Tigers' top receiving target this fall.
South Carolina might have two quarterbacks to pick from, but when Connor Shaw is on the field he gives the Gamecocks a nice dual-threat at the position. Add receiver Bruce Ellington, who led the Gamecocks with 600 yards last season, and rising sophomore running back Mike Davis, and South Carolina has quite the offensive trio to work with. Davis had a big spring and could be a real gem for this offense.
Maybe even Florida develops a good triple threat with quarterback Jeff Driskel, running back Matt Jones and one of its receivers. Quinton Dunbar is the leading receiver coming back, but the staff is excited about the potential true freshman Demarcus Robinson has. Still, Florida's receivers have a long way to go.
The same thing goes for Mississippi State. Quarterback Tyler Russell and running back LaDarius Perkins are back, but can they get quality receiving help this fall?
And LSU could have a dynamic trio if running back Jeremy Hill plays this fall. He's currently suspended, but he's one of the best backs in the league. Zach Mettenberger improved a lot late last season and expect Jarvis Landry to be his top deep-threat option this fall at receiver.
A source confirmed to ESPN that the violations are major in nature and will probably include some elements of self-imposed penalties related to recruiting. The good news for Mississippi State is that a source also said coach Dan Mullen isn't expected to be directly implicated, as former receivers coach Angelo Mirando is the key person connected to the infractions.
Here's a little from our newser:
In August, Mississippi State confirmed an ongoing NCAA investigation into a "potential recruiting irregularity." The school said the investigation is "nearing an end" and it will cooperate fully.
"That's been going on for the last several months," Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen said following Thursday's practice. "I'm not able to comment on any of that."
Mirando resigned last August, less than two weeks before the 2012 season opener against Jackson State, in the wake of an ongoing NCAA investigation related to his recruitment of at least one player on the Bulldogs' roster, ESPN reported.
On Sunday, a statement released by the school said Mirando resigned because of "unforeseen personal issues." In the statement, Mirando said, "It is in my best interest to resign from Mississippi State." He also said he wanted to "stress that these issues are personal."
Mississippi State freshman defensive back Will Redmond was the subject of an NCAA interview that his coach at Memphis East High School gave, according to the coach, Marcus Wimberly, ESPN reported.
It also helps that Mississippi State is fully cooperating with the NCAA. That should help the program when the NCAA makes its decision on what to do as far as penalties go.
No, it had nothing to do with his customary visor, and he wasn't drawing up ball plays on a napkin or looking at his watch and wondering if he'd make his tee time.
"I got to thinking, 'Where are all the guys who played football in this league over the last 30-some years?'" Spurrier recounted. "You don't see many former players from the league coming back [to the SEC] to be head coaches anymore."
Over the past decade, there have been a few such as former Mississippi State coach Sylvester Croom (Alabama), former Kentucky coach Joker Phillips (Kentucky) and former Auburn coach Gene Chizik (Florida). And before Nick Saban took over at Alabama, former Alabama quarterback Mike Shula headed up the Crimson Tide's program.
Currently, though, Spurrier and Florida's Will Muschamp are the only two. Matter of fact, more of the current SEC head coaches played their football in the Big Ten -- Arkansas' Bret Bielema and Kentucky's Mark Stoops at Iowa, LSU's Les Miles at Michigan and Texas A&M's Kevin Sumlin at Purdue.
An SEC pedigree was once a must for becoming a head coach in the SEC, but times have changed.
Click here to read my entire column on the changing guard in the SEC.
So it's time to start to take a deeper look at projections for the fall. Phil Steele has already churned out his preaseason all-conference teams, so, naturally, it's time to take a look at his preseason All-America teams.
The SEC is well represented on Steele's four teams, as nine players from the league made either the first-team offense, defense or special teams. Alabama led the way with four first-team selections.
Here's a look at Steele's first-team All-Americans:
QB: Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M
RB: T.J. Yeldon, Alabama
RB: De'Anthony Thomas, Oregon
WR: Marqise Lee, USC
WR: Sammy Watkins, Clemson
WR: Amari Cooper, Alabama
TE: Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Washington
C: B.J. Finney, Kansas State
OG: David Yankey, Stanford
OG: Cyril Richardson, Baylor
OT: Taylor Lewan, Michigan
OT: Jake Matthews, Texas A&M
DE: Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina
DT: Will Sutton, Arizona State
DT: Louis Nix, Notre Dame
DE: Stephon Tuitt, Notre Dame
LB: Anthony Barr, UCLA
LB: C.J. Mosley, Alabama
LB: Kyle Van Noy, BYU
LB: Ryan Shazier, Ohio State
CB: Bradley Roby, Ohio State
CB: Jason Verrett, TCU
S: Ed Reynolds, Stanford
S: Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Alabama
K: Cairo Santos, Tulane
P: Kyle Christy, Florida
KR: Tyler Lockett, Kansas State
PR: Marcus Murphy, Missouri
LS: Scott Thompson, NC State
AP: Dri Archer, Kent State
At final count, 27 SEC players made Steele's four All-America teams. Georgia running back Todd Gurley and Vanderbilt wide receiver Jordan Matthews, who were named first-team All-SEC members by Steele earlier this week, were named second-team All-Americans.
The SEC also had three offensive linemen make the second team: Gabe Jackson (Mississippi State), Cyrus Kouandjio (Alabama) and Antonio Richardson (Tennessee).
Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron is a third-team member, while Florida cornerback Loucheiz Purifoy and Ole Miss linebacker Denzel Nkemdiche are both fourth-team members.