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Expectations vs. results for SEC Media Days player reps

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The 42 players chosen for Media Days duty get a lot of love on preseason teams, but do they live up to the hype?

NCAA Football: Missouri at Georgia
Will Drew Lock be the first Missouri SEC Media Days rep to get named to the preseason first team at the same event at which he talked for like a million hours?
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Every media member who’s ever been to SEC Media Days has come to this moment.

You’re running out of time to fill out your preseason All-SEC ballots and you’ve come to...the offensive linemen.

You have no clue who the best five offensive linemen in the SEC are, so you nervously scroll up and down the list of 42 player representatives who have come all this way, put on fancy suits and sat through the torture chamber that is SEC Media Days and look for guys with “OL” next to their names.

Then you pick “Jon Halapio,” even though you literally had never heard his name until about 17 seconds prior.

That’s part of the reason coaches bring players to SEC Media Days, though: you want representatives who will play well in front of the cameras, won’t embarrass the school and who you can sway some overwhelmed sportswriters into putting on the preseason first or second All-SEC team just by mere virtue of them being there.

With this year’s list of player representatives coming out Wednesday — Missouri is bringing Drew Lock, Terry Beckner and Terez Hall, by the way — I wanted to look back at the 252 player reps that have come to media days since 2012 (when the league expanded) and see how many of them made the media’s preseason first or second teams...then saw how many ended up making the Associated Press first or second teams when the season was over.

And here...we...........go!

  • Preseason First Team Total: 74 (29.4%)
  • Preseason Second Team Total: 46 (18.3%)
  • Preseason Total: 120 (47.6%)

And then...

  • Postseason First Team Total: 51 (20.2%)
  • Postseason Second Team Total: 39 (15.5%)
  • Postseason Total: 90 (35.7%)

So if you’re a player that makes his way to SEC Media Days, you have almost a 50-50 shot of getting on the preseason first or second team...unless you play for Kentucky.

(I kid, I kid...but, really, I don’t.)

Then, as the season progresses, a net 30 of those guys drop off. Sure, some of it has to do with injury attrition and seasons just not panning out the way players would have liked, but some of it can also be chalked up to sportswriters defaulting to picks who are in the ballroom with them at the time.

Here’s a quick look through the years

2017

  • Preseason Total: 19 (12 first, 7 second)
  • Postseason Total: 19 (10 first, 9 second)
  • Notable Overrate: None, really. The media did a good job this year. All 12 of the media day reps who were on the preseason first team made either the first of second team in the postseason.
  • Notable Underrate: QB Drew Lock, Missouri. Present, but not included preseason. An SEC and school single-season touchdown pass record season later, he was a first-teamer.

2016

  • Preseason Total: 21 (10 first, 11 second)
  • Postseason Total: 17 (8 first, 9 second)
  • Notable Overrate: DB Cameron Sutton and LB Jalen Reeves-Maybin, Tennessee. Although it wasn’t really their faults. They both struggled with injuries that limited them to seven and four games, respectively.
  • Notable Underrate: C Jon Toth, Kentucky. A trend emerges. Kentucky players are underrated...and Tennessee players are overrated.

2015

  • Preseason Total: 20 (12 first, 8 second)
  • Postseason Total: 11 (9 first, 2 second)
  • Notable Overrate: DB Jonathan Jones, Auburn. ‘Twas a rough year for the media pickers. Jones was on all sorts of watch lists coming into the season but was pretty pedestrian throughout on a pretty bad Auburn defense.
  • Notable Underrate: DB Mike Hilton, Ole Miss. On the flip side, the Rebels safety played his way into second-team position with 70 tackles, 12.5 for loss and two picks.

2014

  • Preseason Total: 23 (16 first, 7 second)
  • Postseason Total: 14 (8 first, 6 second)
  • Notable Overrate: RS/AP Christion Jones, Alabama. Another rough year for the prognosticators, who were especially trigger happy with first-team slots for media day attendees. Jones was named first team as both a return specialist and all-purpose back but didn’t turn into a transformative player in either role.
  • Notable Underrate: LB Curt Maggitt. Came from off the preseason teams to a second-teamer thanks to 11 sacks. Then got invited again in 2015, put on the first team and sat out all but two games with injury. Media days giveth, and they taketh away.

2013

  • Preseason Total: 19 (12 first, 7 second)
  • Postseason Total: 18 (9 first, 9 second)
  • Notable Overrate: DB Craig Loston, LSU. Didn’t have a terrible year or anything, but battled a groin injury to end up with 57 tackles and three picks.
  • Notable Underrate: WR Jarvis Landry, LSU. Living in Odell Beckham’s shadow can’t be easy for Landry, but at least he got that media days shine the year after Beckham. Then put up 1,193 yards and 10 scores to get on the postseason second team.

2012

  • Preseason Total: 18 (12 first, 6 second)
  • Postseason Total: 11 (7 first, 4 second)
  • Notable Overrate: RB Knile Davis, Arkansas. Was a terror in 2010, then sat out 2011 but (obviously) had high expectations going into 2012. Ended up running for 3.4 yards a carry.
  • Notable Underrate: RB Mike Gillislee, Florida. About the only good thing going for a stereotypically poor Florida offense: He ran for 1152 yards and 10 touchdowns.

Now let’s look at the teams that have been notoriously over- and underrepresented when it comes to player reps getting All-SEC preseason love.

Preseason
Alabama — 14 (12 first, 2 second)
Auburn — 14 (9 first, 5 second)
Texas A&M — 13 (11 first, 2 second)
LSU — 13 (9 first, 4 second)
Florida — 11 (6 first, 5 second)
Georgia — 10 (8 first, 2 second)
Tennessee — 9 (4 first, 5 second)
Arkansas — 7 (5 first, 2 second)
South Carolina — 7 (3 first, 4 second)
Mississippi State — 7 (2 first, 5 second)
Ole Miss — 5 (3 first, 2 second)
Vanderbilt — 5 (1 first, 4 second)
Missouri — 3 (0 first, 3 second)
Kentucky — 2 (1 first, 1 second)

Postseason
Alabama — 12 (11 first, 1 second)
LSU — 10 (6 first, 4 second)
Auburn — 7 (5 first, 2 second)
Mississippi State — 7 (5 first, 2 second)
Texas A&M — 7 (5 first, 2 second)
Florida — 7 (4 first, 3 second)
Georgia — 7 (4 first, 3 second)
South Carolina — 7 (3 first, 4 second)
Vanderbilt — 7 (2 first, 5 second)
Ole Miss — 5 (2 first, 3 second)
Kentucky — 4 (2 first, 2 second)
Missouri — 4 (1 first, 3 second)
Tennessee — 4 (0 first, 4 second)
Arkansas — 2 (1 first, 1 second)

(Yes, if Lock, Beckner or Hall gets named to the All-SEC preseason first team, he will be the team’s first media days representative to earn that honor.)


And, finally (yes, I know I know, I’m leaving already, sheesh...), here’s a year-by-year breakdown, if you wanted it.

2017
Preseason First Team -- 12 (28.6%)
DB Minkah Fitzpatrick, Alabama
WR Calvin Ridley, Alabama
C Frank Ragnow, Arkansas
K Daniel Carlson, Auburn
OL Braden Smith, Auburn
DB Duke Dawson, Florida
OL Martez Ivey, Florida
RB Nick Chubb, Georgia
LB Roquan Smith, Georgia
RB Derrius Guice, LSU
WR Christian Kirk, Texas A&M
DB Armani Watts, Texas A&M

Preseason Second Team -- 7 (16.7%)
C Bradley Bozeman, Alabama
DB Tray Matthews, Auburn
DE Christian LaCouture, LSU
OL Martinas Rankin, Mississippi St.
WR J’Mon Moore, Missouri
TE Hayden Hurst, South Carolina
OL Jashon Robertson, Tennessee

TOTAL -- 19 (45.2%)

Postseason First Team -- 10 (23.8%)
C Bradley Bozeman, Alabama
DB Minkah Fitzpatrick, Alabama
WR Calvin Ridley, Alabama
K Daniel Carlson, Auburn
OL Braden Smith, Auburn
LB Roquan Smith, Georgia
QB Drew Lock, Missouri
TE Hayden Hurst, South Carolina
WR Christian Kirk, Texas A&M
DB Armani Watts, Texas A&M

Postseason Second Team -- 9 (21.4%)
C Frank Ragnow, Arkansas
DB Duke Dawson, Florida
OL Martez Ivey, Florida
RB Nick Chubb, Georgia
WR DJ Chark, LSU
RB Derrius Guice, LSU
DE Breeland Speaks, Ole Miss
OL Martinas Rankin, Mississippi St.
WR J’Mon Moore, Missouri

TOTAL -- 19 (45.2%)

2016
Preseason First Team -- 10 (23.8%)
DL Jonathan Allen, Alabama
DB Eddie Jackson, Alabama
DL Carl Lawson, Auburn
RB Leonard Fournette, LSU
C Ethan Pocic, LSU
DB Tre’Davious White, LSU
QB Chad Kelly, Ole Miss
LB Jalen Reeves-Maybin, Tennessee
DB Cameron Sutton, Tennessee
DL Myles Garrett, Texas A&M

Preseason Second Team -- 11 (26.2%)
DL Montravious Adams, Auburn
LB Jarrad Davis, Florida
OL David Sharpe, Florida
C Brandon Kublanow, Georgia
DB Dominick Sanders, Georgia
TE Evan Engram, Ole Miss
WR Fred Ross, Mississippi St.
DL Charles Harris, Missouri
QB Joshua Dobbs, Tennessee
LB Zach Cunningham, Vanderbilt
RB Ralph Webb, Vanderbilt

TOTAL -- 21 (50.0%)

Postseason First Team -- 8 (19.0%)
DL Jonathan Allen, Alabama
DL Montravious Adams, Auburn
C Jon Toth, Kentucky
C Ethan Pocic, LSU
DB Tre’Davious White, LSU
TE Evan Engram, Ole Miss
WR Fred Ross, Mississippi St.
LB Zach Cunningham, Vanderbilt

Postseason Second Team -- 9 (21.4%)
TE OJ Howard, Alabama
DL Carl Lawson, Auburn
DB Marcus Maye, Florida
RB Leonard Fournette, LSU
QB Chad Kelly, Ole Miss
DL Charles Harris, Missouri
QB Joshua Dobbs, Tennessee
DL Myles Garrett, Texas A&M
RB Ralph Webb, Vanderbilt

TOTAL -- 17 (40.5%)

2015
Preseason First Team -- 12 (28.6%)
LB Reggie Ragland, Alabama
OL Ryan Kelly, Alabama
DB Jonathan Jones, Auburn
DB Vernon Hargreaves, Florida
OL John Theus, Georgia
LB Jordan Jenkins, Georgia
RB Leonard Fournette, LSU
OL Vadal Alexander, LSU
TE Evan Engram, Ole Miss
QB Dak Prescott, Mississippi St.
AP Pharoh Cooper, South Carolina
LB Curt Maggitt, Tennessee

Preseason Second Team -- 8 (19.0%)
QB Jeremy Johnson, Auburn
RB Jonathan Williams, Arkansas
DL Jonathan Bullard, Florida
LB Kendell Beckwith, LSU
K Elliott Fry, South Carolina
DB Cameron Sutton, Tennessee
OL Mike Matthews, Texas A&M
OL Germain Ifedi, Texas A&M

TOTAL -- 20 (47.6%)

Postseason First Team -- 9 (21.4%)
LB Reggie Ragland, Alabama
OL Ryan Kelly, Alabama
DL Jonathan Bullard, Florida
DB Vernon Hargreaves, Florida
OL John Theus, Georgia
RB Leonard Fournette, LSU
OL Vadal Alexander, LSU
QB Dak Prescott, Mississippi St.
WR Pharoh Cooper, South Carolina

Postseason Second Team -- 2 (4.76%)
DB Mike Hilton, Ole Miss
LB Skai Moore, South Carolina

TOTAL -- 11 (26.2%)

2014
Preseason First Team – 16 (38.1%)
DB Landon Collins, Alabama
WR Amari Cooper, Alabama
RS/AP Christion Jones, Alabama
QB Nick Marshall, Auburn
C Reese Dismukes, Auburn
DL Gabe Wright, Auburn
DL Dante Fowler, Florida
DB Vernon Hargreaves, Florida
RB Todd Gurley, Georgia
LB Ramik Wilson, Georgia
OL La’el Collins, LSU
DB Cody Prewitt, Ole Miss
LB AJ Johnson, Tennessee
DB Deshazor Everett, Texas A&M
P Drew Kaser, Texas A&M
OL Cedric Ogbuehi, Texas A&M

Preseason Second Team – 7 (16.7%)
DL Trey Flowers, Arkansas
DL Bud Dupree, Kentucky
AP Terrence Magee, LSU
LB Bernardrick McKinney, Mississippi St.
QB Dak Prescott, Mississippi St.
DL Markus Golden, Missouri
OL AJ Cann, South Carolina

TOTAL – 23 (54.8%)

Postseason First Team – 8 (19.0%)
DB Landon Collins, Alabama
WR Amari Cooper, Alabama
C Reese Dismukes, Auburn
DB Vernon Hargreaves, Florida
DL Bud Dupree, Kentucky
OL La’el Collins, LSU
QB Dak Prescott, Mississippi St.
DB Cody Prewitt, Ole Miss

Postseason Second Team – 6 (14.3%)
LB Ramik Wilson, Georgia
LB Bernardrick McKinney, Mississippi St.
OL AJ Cann, South Carolina
LB Curt Maggitt, Tennessee
OL Cedric Ogbuehi, Texas A&M
TE Steven Scheu, Vanderbilt

TOTAL – 14 (33.3%)

2013
Preseason First Team – 12 (28.6%)
LB CJ Mosley, Alabama
OL Anthony Steen, Alabama
DL Chris Smith, Arkansas
C Travis Swanson, Arkansas
DL Dominique Easley, Florida
TE Arthur Lynch, Georgia
DB Craig Loston, LSU
DL Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina
AP Bruce Ellington, South Carolina
QB Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M
OL Jake Matthews, Texas A&M
WR Jordan Matthews, Vanderbilt

Preseason Second Team – 7 (16.7%)
QB AJ McCarron, Alabama
DE Dee Ford, Auburn
OL Jon Halapio, Florida
WR Donte Moncrief, Ole Miss
OL Antonio Richardson, Tennessee
OL Ja’Wuan James, Tennessee
DB Andre Hal, Vanderbilt

TOTAL – 19 (45.2%)

Postseason First Team – 9 (21.4%)
LB CJ Mosley, Alabama
OL Anthony Steen, Alabama
C Travis Swanson, Arkansas
DE Dee Ford, Auburn
TE Arthur Lynch, Georgia
DL Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina
QB Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M
OL Jake Matthews, Texas A&M
WR Jordan Matthews, Vanderbilt

Postseason Second Team – 9 (21.4%)
DB Chris Davis, Auburn
QB Aaron Murray, Georgia
LB Avery Williamson, Kentucky
WR Jarvis Landry, LSU
LB Andrew Wilson, Missouri
OL Antonio Richardson, Tennessee
OL Ja’Wuan James, Tennessee
DB Andre Hal, Vanderbilt
OL Wesley Johnson, Vanderbilt

TOTAL – 18 (42.9%)

2012
Preseason First Team – 12 (28.6%)
OL Barrett Jones, Alabama
RB Knile Davis, Arkansas
QB Tyler Wilson, Arkansas
DE Corey Lemonier, Auburn
TE Philip Lutzenkirchen, Auburn
LB Jarvis Jones, Georgia
OL Larry Warford, Kentucky
DB Eric Reid, LSU
DB Johnthan Banks, Mississippi St.
OL Luke Joeckel, Texas A&M
LB Sean Porter, Texas A&M
WR Ryan Swope, Texas A&M

Preseason Second Team – 6 (14.3%)
WR Emory Blake, Auburn
LB Jon Bostic, Florida
WR Odell Beckham, LSU
OL Gabe Jackson, Mississippi St.
DB DJ Swearinger, South Carolina
RB Zac Stacy, Vanderbilt

TOTAL – 18 (42.9%)

Postseason First Team – 7 (16.7%)
OL Barrett Jones, Alabama
RB Mike Gillislee, Florida
LB Jarvis Jones, Georgia
DB Eric Reid, LSU
DB Johnthan Banks, Mississippi St.
OL Gabe Jackson, Mississippi St.
OL Luke Joeckel, Texas A&M

Postseason Second Team – 4 (9.52%)
OL Larry Warford, Kentucky
AP Ace Sanders, South Carolina
DB DJ Swearinger, South Carolina
RB Zac Stacy, Vanderbilt

TOTAL – 11 (26.2%)