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LSU, Alabama headline coaches’ All-SEC teams

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Didn’t see that one coming, did you?

Late Monday morning, the SEC unveiled its 2019 all-conference team, as voted upon by the league’s coaches.  SEC champion LSU and West runner-up Alabama tied for the most first-team selections with six apiece.  SEC East champion Georgia was next up with four, while East runner-up Florida had three.

The Crimson Tide placed 14 players on the first- and second-teams, the most of any single school.  The Tigers, LSU, version, were next at 11.

All told, 13 of the 14 schools in the conference placed at least one player on either team.  Vanderbilt was the only team without a player selected.

According to the conference’s release, more than a dozen players have now been recognized twice on the All-SEC teams: Raekwon Davis (Alabama), Albert Okwuegbunam (Missouri), Trey Smith (Tennessee), Andrew Thomas (Georgia), Jerry Jeudy (Alabama), Tua Tagovailoa (Alabama), Grant Delpit (LSU), Braden Mann (Texas A&M), Alex Leatherwood (Alabama), D’Andre Swift (Georgia), Lynn Bowden Jr. (Kentucky), Derrick Brown (Auburn), CJ Henderson (Florida) and Rodrigo Blankenship (Georgia).

FIRST TEAM
OFFENSE
TE
Kyle Pitts, Florida

OL
Andrew Thomas, Georgia
Jedrick Wills Jr., Alabama
Alex Leatherwood, Alabama
Trey Smith, Tennessee

C
Lloyd Cushenberry, LSU

WR
Ja'Marr Chase, LSU
Jerry Jeudy, Alabama

QB
Joe Burrow, LSU

RB
Clyde Edwards-Helaire, LSU
D’Andre Swift, Georgia

ALL-PURPOSE
Lynn Bowden Jr., Kentucky

DEFENSE
DL
Derrick Brown, Auburn
Marlon Davidson, Auburn
Jonathan Greenard, Florida
Javon Kinlaw, South Carolina

LB
Anfernee Jennings, Alabama
K’Lavon Chaisson, LSU
Nick Bolton, Missouri

DB
J.R. Reed, Georgia
Grant Delpit, LSU
Xavier McKinney, Alabama
CJ Henderson, Florida

SPECIAL TEAMS
PK
Rodrigo Blankenship, Georgia

P
Braden Mann, Texas A&M

RETURN SPECIALIST
Jaylen Waddle, Alabama

SECOND TEAM
OFFENSE
TE
Albert Okwuegbunam, Missouri

OL
Logan Stenberg, Kentucky
Adrian Magee, LSU
Prince Tega Wanogho, Auburn
Damien Lewis, LSU

C
Landon Dickerson, Alabama

WR
Devonta Smith, Alabama
Bryan Edwards, South Carolina

QB
Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama

RB
Kylin Hill, Mississippi State
Najee Harris, Alabama

ALL-PURPOSE
Jaylen Waddle, Alabama

DEFENSE
DL
Raekwon Davis, Alabama
Benito Jones, Ole Miss
Rashard Lawrence, LSU
Tyler Clark, Georgia

LB
Daniel Bituli, Tennessee
K.J. Britt, Auburn
Terrell Lewis, Alabama

DB
Derek Stingley, LSU
Trevon Diggs, Alabama
Nigel Warrior, Tennessee
Jacoby Stevens, LSU

SPECIAL TEAMS
PK
Brent Cimaglia, Tennessee

P
Max Duffy, Kentucky

RETURN SPECIALIST
*Jerrion Ealy, Ole Miss
*Treylon Burks, Arkansas
*Clyde Edwards-Helaire, LSU
*Christian Tutt, Auburn
*Marquez Callaway, Tennessee

(* – Ties)

Stanford adds linebackers coach with NFL experience

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Stanford added a new coach to the program on Monday with the hiring of Eric Sanders. Sanders was named Stanford’s assistant coach for inside linebackers.

Sanders comes to Stanford following a season with the NFL’s New York Jets. Prior to his brief stint with the Jets, Sanders was a defensive assistant for three seasons with the Cleveland Browns. Sanders has also coached with the Oakland Raiders.

This is a return to Stanford for Sanders. Sanders coached with the program in 2015 as a defensive assistant.

“Eric was with us for our 2015 Rose Bowl Championship season and he was so smart, energetic and detailed that I knew someday we’d bring him back,” Stanford head coach David Shaw said in a released statement. “Eric has great comprehensive knowledge having worked with the defensive line, linebackers and defensive backs throughout his career, and he’s spent the last three years with Gregg Williams who is one of the best defensive minds in the NFL.”

Sanders has also held college coaching jobs with his alma mater, UC Davis, and Utah State in addition to Stanford.

Wisconsin TE Luke Benzschawel medically retires after fourth knee surgery

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Wisconsin redshirt senior tight end Luke Benzschawel is calling it a career. The senior announced he is medically retiring from the sport of football following his fourth knee surgery.

I consider myself fortunate to have been part of the Wisconsin football program for the past four years. I have not been as fortunate when it comes to my health,” Benzschawel said in a statement shared on his Twitter account on Monday. “However, after undergoing a fourth procedure on my knee, and despite giving everything I have to get back on the field, my doctors and I have decided that the time has come for me to step away from the game.

Benzschawel played in 15 games during his injury-plagued college career with the Badgers. Benzschawel is the younger brother of former Wisconsin offensive lineman Beau Benzschawel. Benzschawel injured his knee during fall camp last August and did not see the playing field during the 2019 season as a result.

Alabama strength coach Scott Cochran leaving Tide for new on-field coaching role at Georgia

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One of Alabama’s most recognized sideline personalities appears to be heading to another SEC program. Alabama strength and conditioning coach Scott Cochran, a man whose identity has become as well known as any strength coach can possibly be over the last few years, is reportedly heading to Georgia to take on a brand new role.

There have been many reasons for Alabama’s overall success with Nick Saban as the head coach. Having Cochran on his staff has certainly been one of the key reasons because he has been recognized as one of the nation’s top strength and conditioning coach (he’s won the award for top strength coach twice). And it may not be much of a coincidence that Cochran has been one of the only assistants on the staff for each of Saban’s national championship seasons between Alabama and LSU. His voice and energy seen on the field in warmups and on the sidelines has become a draw for television cameras in more recent years and he has been one of the leaders in the movement to recognize more strength and conditioning coaches during gamedays.

It should come as little surprise Cochran would be an attractive option for Georgia head coach Kirby Smart, a former Alabama defensive coordinator who worked alongside Cochran in Tuscaloosa. What role Cochran will be taking on remains to be confirmed, however, as reports say he will not be Georgia’s strength and conditioning coach. That role is currently held by Scott Sinclair in Athens.

No matter what role Cochran takes at Georgia, and how that ultimately pans out for the Bulldogs, this is a notable loss for Saban and Alabama. Granted, Alabama should be able to find a more-than-qualified strength and conditioning coach to take over the very lucrative (and high-paying) job, so it’s not like this will turn Alabama football into a doormat (much to the dismay of Alabama haters around the SEC and beyond).

UPDATE (6:38 p.m. ET): Alabama head coach Nick Saban has issued a statement regarding the departure of his longtime strength coach:

Ole Miss QB John Rhys Plumlee, RB Jerrion Early also starting for Rebels’ baseball team

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John Rhys Plumlee and Jerrion Early were two of the best athletes on Ole Miss’s football team in 2019. The pair, both true freshmen, led the club in rushing; Plumlee rushed for 1,023 yards and 12 touchdowns while also throwing for 910 yards and four touchdowns, and Early ran for 722 yards and six scores on nearly seven yards per carry.

But it’s actually an understatement to limit the backfield mates’ athletic ability to just the football team. They’re two of the best athletes at the school, period.

The Rebels’ baseball team, ranked No. 13 in the country by Baseball America, is off to a 6-1 start with both Plumlee and Early contributing.

Early, a 31st round selection by the Arizona Diamondbacks out of Jackson Prep in Walnut Grove, Miss., has appeared in five games with three starts at center field. He’s 1-of-8 with four walks, three runs scored and three stolen bases in as many attempts.

Plumlee has appeared in four games to date, starting Saturday’s win over Xavier in left field. He’s struggled at the plate thus far, going 0-for-7 with five strikeouts, though he has scored one run and stole a base in his only attempt.

The Hattiesburg native is not only juggling college classes while playing two sports, but he’s also in the midst of a quarterback battle with fellow rising sophomore Matt Corral while learning a new offense under new head coach Lane Kiffin and offensive coordinator Jeff Lebby.

Both players are giving it a go on the diamond, but their new head coach has made it clear where their bread is buttered.

“We want that to be (Plumlee’s) first priority, because if you’re going to be in something, I just think you go with it, and whatever time he has left he’ll come to us,” Kiffin told OM Spirit.

“I talked about it with baseball…let’s see how it goes,. They’re (Plumlee and Ealy) all in right now on baseball, and then let’ see. If they’re having a significant role, they’ll stay in there. If they’re not, then they’ll probably come back and do more football,” said Kiffin.