Bryan Edwards

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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)

South Carolina’s leading receiver ‘doubtful’ for Clemson game

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South Carolina would have its work cut out for it if it was at full strength for the latest edition of the Palmetto Bowl.  Unfortunately for the Gamecocks, they likely won’t be, especially on the offensive side of the ball.

Bryan Edwards, he of the “OBJ eat your heart out” catch earlier this year, suffered a knee injury in the Nov. 9 loss to Appalachian State that caused the wide receiver to miss the following weekend’s loss to Texas A&M.  Wednesday, head coach Will Muschamp confirmed that Edwards underwent arthroscopic surgery on the knee earlier this week.

Because of that procedure, and even with a bye this weekend, it’s officially doubtful, per Muschamp, that the fourth-year senior will be available to play in the Nov. 30 matchup with rival Clemson.

Edwards’ 71 receptions, 816 receiving yards and six receiving touchdowns far and away lead the Gamecocks this season.  He’s also already the football program’s career leader in catches (234) and yards (3,045), and is one touchdown catch away from tying Alshon Jeffery‘s record of 23.

“I hurt for Bryan because he’s certainly deserving of walking out of here with all the records,” Muschamp said. “That’s something I certainly envisioned him doing. He’s had an unbelievable year for us.”

WATCH: In loss to Tennessee, South Carolina’s Bryan Edwards makes ‘OBJ eat your heart out’ catch

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A lot of times these days, you’ll hear football broadcasters invoke the initials of Odell Beckham Jr. when a player makes a better-than-average catch.  Many times, it’s not worthy of the OBJ invocation; this time, it damn well might be.

Late in the second quarter of South Carolina’s game against Tennessee and with USC at UT’s 19-yard line, Ryan Hilinski lofted a pass down the sideline in the general direction of Bryan Edwards.  What Edwards did next would’ve made the original OBJ proud as the Gamecocks wide receiver stabbed the ball with one hand, maintained control with one hand, then went to the ground with the ball still cradled in that one hand for one of the prettiest receptions you’ll see all season.

While the catch was originally ruled a touchdown, the ball was ultimately placed at the one-yard line upon further review.

In the grand scheme of things, though, the catch didn’t much matter at all as the Volunteers turned what was a four-point halftime deficit into a runaway (and much-needed) 41-21 win in Knoxville.  The win helped the Vols avoid its first 2-6 start to a season since 2010, Derek Dooley‘s first season as the football program’s head coach.

With starter Brian Maurer unavailable because of two concussions in two weeks, the Vols passed for 351 yards and three touchdowns as a team, and also had a punt return for a touchdown and a punt block returned for a touchdown.

The Gamecocks, meanwhile, dropped to 3-5 overall on the season and 2-4 in SEC play.  They’ll need wins in at least three of their next four games — Vanderbilt, No. 21 Appalachian State, at Texas A&M, No. 4 Clemson — to avoid going bowl-less for the first time since 2015 and just the second time since 2007.

The Vols must also win three of their last four to become bowl-eligible. although their remaining schedule is much more manageable — UAB, at Kentucky, at Missouri, Vanderbilt.

South Carolina TE Kiel Pollard announces retirement following neck injury

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During a recent practice as the South Carolina Gamecocks prepare for the upcoming 2019 season, tight end Kiel Pollard injured his neck in a collision. That injury resulted in a broken neck that was originally supposed to keep Pollard out of action for four to six weeks, but a follow-up examination suggested it is no longer safe for him to continue playing football. As such, Pollard announced on his Instagram account on Friday that he is stepping away from playing football.

“To my surprise, after the MRI was completed and what felt like the longest 2 hours of my life, I was informed that I would be out for 4-6 weeks with a broken neck,” Pollard explained on his Instagram post. “I was perfectly fine with that. I felt no pain and my body was tired so I felt that rest was in order. This week that changed when I found out that last Tuesday would be my last time playing football. Not that I’m not able, but that it’s not safe for me to do so. I have loved football and always will! It was my desire to rock Willy B Stadium this year and then play in the NFL but I am aware that God has greater plans for my life!”

“Please don’t feel sorry for me because football has been good to me,” Pollard said. “Football has provided me with a great education in which I will be graduating in December this year! I am smart enough to know God doesn’t give anyone a gift that he doesn’t plan on using!”

Pollard was South Carolina’s fourth-leading receiver last season with 15 receptions for 181 yards and two touchdowns. He was slotted to be a projected starter for the Gamecocks this season in an offense that returns Bryan Edwards and Shi Smith at wide receiver and starting quarterback Jake Bentley. Kyle Markway could be the top tight end option moving forward after appearing in 13 games last season, although as a deep bench option and with three catches for 53 yards in 2018. Freshman Travon Kenion could also get put on an accelerated path to find a role where he can contribute, although that could also still be a mild work in progress.

Pollard ends his football career with 203 receiving yards and two touchdowns.

Alabama’s Jerry Jeudy headlines 2019 Biletnikoff Award Watch List

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Media Day season is also Watch List season and the latest to surface for the 2019 campaign comes out of Tallahassee in the form of the Biletnikoff Award Watch List. The award, given annually to the nation’s most outstanding receiver, includes the defending winner in Alabama’s Jerry Jeudy and fellow semifinalist Tylan Wallace out of Oklahoma State, as well as a number of other talented pass-catchers from around the country.

Here’s the full list, which is a good general overview of the best wide receivers and tight ends for the upcoming season even if a few names can gripe about being left off:

Lynn Bowden, Jr. (Kentucky)

Rico Bussey, Jr. (North Texas)

Cedric Byrd (Hawaii)

Grant Calcaterra (Oklahoma)

Damonte Coxie (Memphis)

Gabriel Davis (UCF)

Bryan Edwards (South Carolina)

D’Wayne Eskridge (Western Michigan)

Aaron Fuller (Washington)

Antonio Gandy-Golden (Liberty)

KJ Hamler (Penn State)

Adrian Hardy (Louisiana Tech)

Damon Hazelton (Virginia Tech)

Tee Higgins (Clemson)

K.J. Hill (Ohio State)

Isaiah Hodgins (Oregon State)

Justin Jefferson (LSU)

Jerry Jeudy (Alabama)

Tyler Johnson (Minnesota)

Collin Johnson (Texas)

CeeDee Lamb (Oklahoma)

Ty Lee (Middle Tennessee State)

Kalija Lipscomb (Vanderbilt)

McLane Mannix (Texas Tech)

Kirk Merritt (Arkansas State)

Riley Miller (Ball State)

Denzel Mims (Baylor)

Darnell Mooney (Tulane)

Rondale Moore (Purdue)

Albert Okwuegbunam (Missouri)

K.J. Osborn (Miami)

Dezmon Patmon (Washington State)

Jared Pinkney (Vanderbilt)

Michael Pittman, Jr. (USC)

James Proche (SMU)

Jalen Reagor (TCU)

Jared Rice (Fresno State)

Sean Riley (Syracuse)

Reggie Roberson, Jr. (SMU)

Justyn Ross (Clemson)

Henry Ruggs III (Alabama)

Laviska Shenault, Jr. (Colorado)

JD Spielman (Nebraska)

Amon-Ra St. Brown (USC)

Marquez Stevenson (Houston)

Tamorrion Terry (Florida State)

Jaylen Waddle (Alabama)

Tylan Wallace (Oklahoma State)

JoJo Ward (Hawaii)

Quez Watkins (Southern Miss)