All-SEC First Team led by eight from Alabama

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Alabama was picked by the media as the conference favorite in 2014 for good reason. The amount of talent on Alabama’s roster is in a class of its own, which is put on display by the preseason all-SEC teams released on th final day of SEC Media Week. Alabama led the conference with eight players on the All-SEC First Team.

Alabama wide receiver Amari Cooper received the most voting points of any offensive player in the media poll, with 282 points. Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall was named to the first team with 241 points. Alabama running back T.J. Yeldon received 281 points for the top spot on the first team offense, but Georgia running back Todd Gurley received 280 points to receive first team honors as well.

Two defensive players from Alabama also received the highest voting totals for the defensive first team. Defensive back Landon Collins received 274 points, followed by linebacker Trey DePriest (253). Christion Jones received first team honors for special teams, giving Alabama eight total first team All-SEC players.

Here is the full breakdown of the preseason All-SEC teams, courtesy of TideSports.com;

2014 PRE-SEASON MEDIA DAYS ALL-SEC TEAM

(Total points earned in parenthesis)

OFFENSE

First-Team
QB Nick Marshall, Auburn (241)

RB T.J. Yeldon, Alabama (281)
RB Todd Gurley, Georgia (280)

WR Amari Cooper, Alabama (282)

WR Sammie Coates, Auburn (207)

TE O.J. Howard, Alabama (188)

OL La’el Collins, LSU (231)

OL Arie Kouandjio, Alabama (188)

OL Laremy Tunsil, Ole Miss (183)

OL Cedric Ogbuehi, Texas A&M (174)

C Reese Dismukes, Auburn (226)

Second-Team

QB Dak Prescott, Mississippi State (118)

RB Mike Davis, South Carolina (240)

RB Alex Collins, Arkansas (126)

WR Laquon Treadwell, Ole Miss (182)

WR Malcolm Mitchell, Georgia (71)

TE C.J. Uzomah, Auburn (141)

OL A.J. Cann, South Carolina (166)

OL Vadal Alexander, LSU (112)

OL Alex Kozan, Auburn (112)

OL Corey Robinson, South Carolina (107)

C Ryan Kelly, Alabama (126)

Third-Team

QB Bo Wallace, Ole Miss (94)

RB Corey Grant, Auburn (52)

RB Keith Marshall, Georgia (44)

WR Jameon Lewis, Mississippi State (67)

WR Marquez North, Tennessee (66)

TE Hunter Henry, Arkansas (72)

OL Austin Shepherd, Alabama (106)

OL Chad Slade, Auburn (101)

OL John Theus, Georgia (96)

OL Chaz Green, Florida (94)

C Evan Boehm, Missouri (77)

DEFENSE

First-Team

DL Robert Nkemdiche, Ole Miss (239)

DL Dante Fowler, Jr., Florida (212)

DL A’Shawn Robinson, Alabama (208)

DL Gabe Wright, Auburn (192)

LB Trey DePriest, Alabama (253)

LB A.J. Johnson, Tennessee (186)

LB Ramik Wilson, Georgia (147)

DB Landon Collins, Alabama (274)

DB Vernon Hargreaves, III, Florida (243)

DB Cody Prewitt, Ole Miss (210)

DB Deshazor Everett, Texas A&M (183)

Second-Team

DL Trey Flowers, Arkansas (181)

DL Chris Jones, Mississippi State (150)

DL Alvin “Bud” Dupree, Kentucky (134)

DL Markus Golden, Missouri (125)

LB Benardrick McKinney, Mississippi State (143)

LB Jordan Jenkins, Georgia (137)

LB Denzel Nkemdiche, Ole Miss (116)

DB Robenson Therezie, Auburn (144)

DB Tre’Davious White, LSU (141)

DB Damian Swann, Georgia (127)

DB Tony Conner, Ole Miss (116)

Third-Team

DL Ray Drew, Georgia (102)

DL Montravius Adams, Auburn (94)

DL Carl Lawson, Auburn (87)

DL Jermauria Rasco, LSU (79)

LB Kwon Alexander, LSU (112)

LB Cassanova McKinzy, Auburn (82)

LB Serderius Bryant, Ole Miss (76)

DB Jon Mincy, Auburn (99)

DB Corey Thompson, LSU (86)

DB Rashard Robinson, LSU (84)

DB Brison Williams, South Carolina (81)

SPECIALISTS

First-Team

P Drew Kaser, Texas A&M (221)

PK Marshall Morgan, Georgia (224)

RS Christion Jones, Alabama (262)

AP Christion Jones, Alabama (130)

Second-Team

P Sam Irwin-Hill, Arkansas (136)

PK Colby Delahoussaye, LSU (142)

RS Andre Debose, Florida (97)

AP Terrence Magee, LSU (111)

Third-Team
P Jamie Keehn, LSU (81)

PK Andrew Baggett, Missouri (103)

RS Marcus Murphy, Missouri (72)

AP Trey Williams, Texas A&M (89)

Alabama QB Jalen Hurts uses photo of Clemson celebrating title win as motivational phone background

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Nick Saban said last week that the loss to Clemson in the the national championship game earlier this year is one that he’ll never get over, although he didn’t go so far as to compare it to a death in the family. One playing member of Saban’s Alabama Crimson Tide team is taking to steps to ensure that he never forgets, either.

Jalen Hurts was the Tide’s talented true freshman starting quarterback who helped lead ‘Bama into the title game and, with a 30-yard touchdown run with just over two minutes left, gave his team a 31-28 lead. That lead was short-lived, however, as Deshaun Watson led his Tigers on an epic 88-yard drive that was capped by his two-yard touchdown pass with just one tick left on the clock for the 35-31 win.

The stunning last-second loss is something that Hurts makes a conscious effort to remind himself of daily as the rising sophomore, as the background on his smartphone, has a picture of Clemson players celebrating their win.

“We’re obviously all on our phones all the time,” Hurts said according to al.com after this past weekend’s spring game. “Every time I unlock it, it’s kind of a reminder. It kind of humbles me and keeps me motivated. …

“It’s not a grudge at all. It’s just something that keeps it on the back of your shoulder like, yeah, it’s still there. Remember why you’re doing it because at the end of the day, the goal for this team is to win the national championship.

Father of former Florida State WR Travis Rudolph killed in accidental shooting

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The father of Florida State wide receiver Travis Rudolph was killed Friday in an accidental shooting, the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement on Monday.

According to the Sheriff’s Office, Darryl Rudolph was working on repairs inside a West Palm Beach, Fla., when a gun accidentally fired in an adjacent room, hitting him in the back/neck area. He was transported to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 55 years old.

The younger Rudolph was Florida State’s leading receiver over the past two seasons before becoming an early-entrant into this week’s NFL Draft. He gained viral notoriety after a photo snapped of him sitting at lunch with an autistic elementary school student hit Facebook.

“When I used to coach and help other kids with football, basketball and sports, Travis was small but he used to pay attention to what I was doing,” the elder Rudolph said in an interview with ESPN last year. “I told them get your education. You can be the best athlete in the world, but without an education, you’re not going very far. That’s what Travis followed through on.”

LSU QB Danny Etling undergoes back surgery

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LSU quarterback Danny Etling has undergone surgery to relieve back pain, the program announced Monday.

“Danny had a minor back procedure this morning and everything went alright,” head coach Ed Orgeron said in a statement (and not in an Arrested Development way).

Etling has played through back pain for months, according to Ross Dellenger from The Advocate, and this procedure should remove that pain.

In a possibly related story, Etling went 4-of-11 for 53 yards in LSU’s spring game.

A transfer from Purdue, Etling appeared in 11 games for the Tigers last season, completing 160-of-269 passes (59.5 percent) for 2,123 yards (7.9 yards per attempt) with 11 touchdowns against five interceptions.

Etling’s recovery from Monday’s procedure is expected to be a short one.

Willie Taggart defends Oregon’s offseason workouts in interview

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Things got off to a rocky start for new Oregon head coach Willie Taggart. Among the issues Taggart was forced to deal with soon after accepting the job of head coach at Oregon was players falling ill during and after offseason workouts.

Three Ducks were hospitalized in January to treat symptoms of rhabdomyolysis, a product of overworking leading to soft tissue and possible kidney damage. Oregon suspended strength and conditioning coach Irele Oderinde following the hospital treatments to players, and questions about his certification were thrust under a microscope. Despite the unfortunate situation in Eugene, Taggart has defended his program’s workout routine in an interview with Stewart Mandel of FOXSports.com.

“We know we didn’t do anything to try to hurt our kids. We’d done [the same program] everywhere we’ve been and never had a problem,” Taggart explained in the interview. “I think our guys just overworked themselves and didn’t hydrate. … They were trying to impress the new coaches.”

It seems Taggart has been trying to raise the bar at Oregon and find a way to make his new players tougher overall. That is a common strategy for a new coach in a new program, so Taggart’s mission is not unique in that sense.

Maybe it was just a tough physical transition in the approach to workouts after years of Chip Kelly and Mark Helfrich running the show. Will this all pay off in the end? Taggart sure hopes so.