My All-SEC ballot

semerson@macon.comDecember 9, 2013 

UGA_v_FL

Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray calls an audible early in play against Florida Saturday.

GRANT BLANKENSHIP/THE TELEGRAPH — gblankenship@macon.com

I was on the voting panel for the AP All-SEC teams. We were allowed to vote for just the first team. This is how my ballot looked, followed by some quick explanations:

Offense

WR: Jordan Matthews, Vanderbilt
WR: Mike Evans, Texas A&M
L: Gabe Jackson, Mississippi State
L: Ja’Wuan James, Tennessee
L: Justin Britt, Missouri
L: Anthony Steen, Alabama
C: Travis Swanson, Arkansas
TE: Arthur Lynch, Georgia
QB: Aaron Murray, Georgia
RB: Tre Mason, Auburn
RB: Jeremy Hill, LSU
PK: Marshall Morgan, Georgia
All-Purpose: Chris Gaines, Auburn

Defense
E: Dee Ford, Auburn
E: Michael Sam, Missouri
T/NT: Kelcy Quarles, South Carolina
T/E: Markus Golden, Missouri
LB: C.J. Mosley, Alabama
LB: Andrew Wilson, Missouri
LB: Ramik Wilson, Georgia
CB: E.J. Gaines, Missouri
CB: Vic Hampton, South Carolina
S: Cody Prewitt, Ole Miss
S: Landon Collins, Alabama
P: Cody Mandell, Alabama

Offensive Player of the Year
QB Aaron Murray, Georgia

Defensive Player of the Year
DE: Michael Sam, Missouri

Coach of the Year
Gus Malzahn, Auburn

Freshman of the Year
OL Laremy Tunsil, Ole Miss

***

There are some big names and future first-round picks not on this list. It's important to remember that this is an evaluation on how these players performed this season, not career achievement or pro projection. Hence, no Jadeveon Clowney, or Johnny Manziel, or A.J. McCarron, or even Jake Matthews or Tiny Richardson or Ha Ha Clinton-Dix.

This ballot was prepared by looking at stats, consultation with other beat writers, and other information gathering.

Something that struck me while doing this was how strong certain positions were, and how weak others were. Quarterback, running back and receiver were extremely deep. The back seven on defense were not.

I voted for Murray over Manziel because I watched every Murray game this year, and I know he amassed some very good numbers despite heavy odds, given all the injuries around him. Not enough is made of Malcolm Mitchell, the team's top receiver, going down before even making a catch this season. Murray was also much more consistent than Manziel, who had some down games later in the season. And I went Murray over Mason for player of the year for the same reason: As good as Mason was, I think he was helped a lot more by the talent around him than Murray was this year.

I did not have Gurley on my first team simply because he missed too much time. Three full games, plus a majority of the LSU game. As a result Mason and Hill ended up with better numbers. That said, I firmly believe Gurley is one of the two best tailbacks in the SEC. But again, this is a reward for season performance. (Hence my surprise at fellow voters putting Clowney on the first team, as well as some others.)

If anybody has any other nitpicks or questions, feel free to post (in a civil manner) below, and I'll try to answer.

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