Seven Alabama players were on the list that consisted of first, second and third team offensive, defensivee and special teams units. Cornerback Ramzee Robinson was a first-team pick. Halfback Kenneth Darby, center Antoine Caldwell and linebacker Juwan Simpson were second-team selections, and cornerback Simeon Castille, placekicker Jamie Christensen and receiver Tyrone Prothro (voted in as a return specialist) were on the third-team All-SEC unit.
Auburn is the predicted Southeastern Conference championship, in a voting landslide of the 104 ballots cast at SEC Media Days, officially making the Tigers the overwhelming favorite to win the league. The Tigers were selected as SEC Champion on 73 ballots while Florida was named on 11, Georgia on seven, LSU on six, Alabama on five and Tennessee on two.
In the divisional races, Auburn was named to win the Western Division on 87 ballots while LSU placed second, Alabama third, Arkansas fourth, Ole Miss fifth and Mississippi State sixth. Florida was predicted to win the Eastern Division. The Gators were named on 49 ballots to win the division. Defending SEC Champion Georgia was named to win the East on 42 ballots and placed second in the division. Tennessee was third, South Carolina fourth, Kentucky fifth and Vanderbilt sixth.
Patrick Willis, the linebacker from Ole Miss was the easiest vote on the whole ballot. He’s been the axis of Ole Miss’ defense, and at media days he was the top vote-getter among All-SEC recipients, being named on 98 of 104 ballots. My sympathies to the six guys who forgot to include Willis on their list.
Also baffling is anyone who left South Carolina receiver Sidney Rice off their list.
As has been the case on most lists, Chris Leak was named first-team quarterback, officially making Leak the most overrated player in the Southeastern Conference. For my money, LSU quarterback JaMarcus Russell is the best signal-caller in the league (at least until Tim Tebow gets into mid-season form).
The Kenny Irons-Darren McFadden stranglehold on the first-team running back honors continued despite a compelling case made by Bama’s Kenneth Darby on Wednesday. The Crimson Tide senior said he thought of himself as the most underrated player in the league. Darby was a second-team pick.
Antoine Caldwell is the second-team center on the All-SEC squad after just one start at the position last year. Folks recognize two things that makes Caldwell a shoo-in for all-star honors as long as he’s healthy. First, he’s an undisputed starter on the offensive line as a sophomore, and second, he’s a great interview, which is the easiest way (and one of the few ways) for an offensive linemen to get media attention.
Once again Earl Bennett is listed as a first-team All-SEC receiver. He had a great year for Vanderbilt last year, but without Jay Cutler around to throw the ball this year there’s no way Bennett will put up All-SEC caliber numbers. Any of the receivers on the second- and third-team would have been a better choice.
Auburn had a dozen players on the list. Georgia and LSU each had 10 players selected to the All-SEC squad followed by Arkansas and Florida with eight each, Alabama with seven and Tennessee with six. Kentucky had four, Vanderbilt and Mississippi State each had three while South Carolina and Ole Miss had two each. There were first, second and third-teams selected for this year's media days pre-season squad.
Here’s the complete list as compiled by the conference office:
2006 SEC MEDIA DAYS PRE-SEASON ALL-SEC FOOTBALL TEAM
[104 total voters (NOTE: Most in SEC Media Days history)]
FIRST-TEAM ALL-SEC -- OFFENSE
TE Martrez Milner (35) Georgia 6-4 240 Sr. Gainesville, Ga.
OL Arron Sears (95) Tennessee 6-4 320 Sr. Russellville, Ala.
OL Will Arnold (72) LSU 6-4 322 Jr. Gloster, Miss.
OL Daniel Inman (69) Georgia 6-7 319 Sr. Hope Mills, N.C.
OL Tim Duckworth (65) Auburn 6-4 310 Sr. Taylorsville, Miss.
C Nick Jones (73) Georgia 6-3 295 Sr. Bowdon, Ga.
WR Sidney Rice (94) South Carolina 6-4 200 So. Gaffney, S.C.
WR Earl Bennett (49) Vanderbilt 6-1 202 So. Birmingham, Ala.
QB Chris Leak (69) Florida 6-0 207 Sr. Charlotte, N.C.
RB Kenny Irons (84) Auburn 5-11 200 Sr. Dacula, Ga.
RB Darren McFadden (59) Arkansas 6-2 210 So. N. Little Rock, Ark.
SECOND-TEAM ALL-SEC -- OFFENSE
TE Jacob Tamme (33) Kentucky 6-5 240 Jr. Danville, Ky.
OL Brian Stamper (49) Vanderbilt 6-5 305 Sr. Windermere, Fla.
OL Michael Oher (14) Ole Miss 6-5 ½ 330 So. Memphis, Tenn.
OL Ben Grubbs (13) Auburn 6-3 301 Sr. Eclectic, Ala.
OL Brian Anderson (7) Miss. State 6-6 307 Sr. Butler, Ala
C Antoine Caldwell (27) Alabama 6-3 296 So. Montgomery, Ala.
WR Dallas Baker (19) Florida 6-3 206 Sr. New Smyrna Beach, Fla.
WR Courtney Taylor (16) Auburn 6-2 202 Sr. Carrollton, Ala.
QB Brandon Cox (21) Auburn 6-2 201 Jr. Trussville, Ala.
RB Kenneth Darby (52) Alabama 5-11 205 Sr. Huntsville, Ala.
RB Arian Foster (7) Tennessee 6-1 215 So. San Diego, Calif.
THIRD-TEAM ALL-SEC -- OFFENSE
Pos. Name School Ht. Wt. Class Hometown
TE Cole Bennett (14) Auburn 6-4 261 Sr. Dalton, Ga.
OL Zac Tubbs (6) Arkansas 6-6 335 Sr. Cullman, Ala.
OL Robert Felton (5) Arkansas 6-4 319 Jr. Houston, Texas
OL Stephen Parker (3) Arkansas 6-4 310 Sr. Mandeville, La.
OL Brian Johnson (3) LSU 6-4 297 Sr. Tallahassee, Fla.
C Joe Cope (3) Auburn 6-0 276 Sr. Andalusia, Ala.
WR Dwayne Bowe (13) LSU 6-3 217 Sr. Miami, Fla.
WR Marcus Monk (5) Arkansas 6-6 227 Jr. Lepanto, Ark.
QB JaMarcus Russell (10) LSU 6-6 252 Jr. Mobile, Ala.
RB Rafael Little (2) Kentucky 5-10 188 Jr. Anderson, S.C.
RB Thomas Brown (2) Georgia 5-8 185 Jr. Tucker, Ga.
FIRST-TEAM ALL-SEC -- DEFENSE
Pos. Name School Ht. Wt. Class Hometown
DL Quentin Moses (91) Georgia 6-5 250 Sr. Athens, Ga.
DL Justin Harrell (64) Tennessee 6-4 300 Sr. Martin, Tenn.
DL Marcus Thomas (41) Florida 6-3 286 Sr. Jacksonville, Fla.
LB Patrick Willis (98) Ole Miss 6-2 230 Sr. Bruceton, Tenn.
LB Sam Olajubutu (80) Arkansas 5-9 229 Sr. LaGrange, Ga.
LB Brandon Siler (79) Florida 6-2 235 Jr. Orlando, Fla.
LB Will Herring (40) Auburn 6-3 220 Sr. Opelika, Ala.
DB LaRon Landry (89) LSU 6-2 204 Sr. Ama, La.
DB Fred Bennett (68) South Carolina 6-1 199 Sr. Manning, S.C.
DB David Irons (61) Auburn 5-11 188 Sr. Dacula, Ga.
DB Ramzee Robinson (51) Alabama 5-10 190 Sr. Huntsville, Ala.
SECOND-TEAM ALL-SEC -- DEFENSE
DL Quentin Groves (25) Auburn 6-3 250 Jr. Greenville, Miss.
DL Keith Jackson (20) Arkansas 6-0 300 Sr. Little Rock, Ark.
DL Marquies Gunn (18) Auburn 6-4 254 Sr. Alexander City, Ala.
LB Juwan Simpson (25) Alabama 6-3 222 Sr. Decatur, Ala.
LB Jarvis Jackson (14) Georgia 6-2 218 Sr. Atlanta, Ga.
LB Quinton Culberson (13) Miss. State 6-0 239 Sr. Jackson, Miss.
LB Ali Highsmith (13) LSU 6-1 226 Jr. Miami, Fla.
DB Tra Battle (35) Georgia 5-11 176 Sr. Forsyth, Ga.
DB Reggie Nelson (29) Florida 6-1 195 Jr. Melbourne, Fla.
DB Jonathan Hefney (16) Tennessee 5-9 185 Jr. Rock Hill, S.C.
DB Jeramie Johnson (13) Miss. State 5-11 216 Sr. East Point, Ga.
THIRD-TEAM ALL-SEC -- DEFENSE
DL Chase Pittman (9) LSU 6-4 265 Sr. Shreveport, La.
DL Jarvis Moss (9) Florida 6-6 255 Jr. Denton, Texas
DL Ray McDonald (8) Florida 6-3 280 Sr. Belle Glade, Fla.
LB Earl Everett (12) Florida 6-2 231 Sr. Webster, Fla.
LB Tony Taylor (12) Georgia 6-1 237 Sr. Watkinsville, Ga.
LB Jonathan Goff (10) Vanderbilt 6-4 240 Jr. Lynn, Mass.
LB Wesley Woodyard (7) Kentucky 6-1 212 Jr. LaGrange, Ga.
DB Chevis Jackson (11) LSU 6-0 189 Jr. Mobile, Ala.
DB Simeon Castille (8) Alabama 6-1 192 Jr. Birmingham, Ala.
DB Jessie Daniels (6) LSU 5-11 203 Sr. Breaux Bridge, La.
DB Jonathan Wade (6) Tennessee 6-0 195 Sr. Shreveport, La.
FIRST-TEAM ALL-SEC -- SPECIAL TEAMS
PK Brandon Coutu (74) Georgia 6-0 185 Jr. Lawrenceville, Ga.
P Kody Bliss (70) Auburn 5-10 177 Sr. Brentwood, Tenn.
RS Rafael Little (59) Kentucky 5-10 188 Jr. Anderson, S.C.
SECOND-TEAM ALL-SEC -- SPECIAL TEAMS
Pos. Name School Ht. Wt. Class Hometown
PK James Wilhoit (12) Tennessee 5-10 195 Sr. Hendersonville, Tenn.
P Gordon Ely-Kelso (16) Georgia 6-2 215 Sr. Athens, Ga.
RS Felix Jones (30) Arkansas 6-0 202 So. Tulsa, Okla.
THIRD-TEAM ALL-SEC -- SPECIAL TEAMS
PK Jamie Christensen (9) Alabama 6-1 181 Jr. Norcross, Ga.
P Chris Jackson (6) LSU 5-11 174 Sr. River Ridge, La.
RS Tyrone Prothro (4) Alabama 5-8 178 Sr. Heflin, Ala.
SEC PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH
(Tabulated on a 1-2-3-4-5-6 scale) [104 total voters]
SEC CHAMPION - Auburn 73, Florida 11, Georgia 7, LSU 6, Alabama 5, Tennessee 2.
Eastern Division (First Place Votes in Parenthesis)
1. Florida (49) 179
2. Georgia (42) 200
3. Tennessee (9) 303
4. South Carolina (4) 362
5. Kentucky 545
6. Vanderbilt 595
Western Division (First Place Votes in Parenthesis)
1. Auburn (87) 129
2. LSU (12) 217
3. Alabama (5) 348
4. Arkansas 364
5. Ole Miss 550
6. Mississippi State 576