Phil Steele's All-SEC players tells us much about SEC Football

Phil Steele's preseason All-SEC player selections could indicate the outcomes of key SEC football games.
Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports

The ultimate 'drill to the bottom of detail' person in college football, Phil Steele released his preseason, All-SEC players for the 2024 season. Steele selected 116 players and segmented them into four teams for offense, defense, and special teams. Every SEC football team had at least one player selected.

In total number of players chosen the Georgia Bulldogs and the Alabama Crimson Tide lead the way, each with 12 players selected. The only other teams with a double-digit count of players are Texas with 11, and Ole Miss with 10. Kentucky and Oklahoma were next with nine players each. Eight were selected from the LSU Bengal Tigers and the Florida Gators. Tennessee, Auburn, and South Carolina had seven players each.

The SEC's bottom five in number of players selected are Missouri with five; Texas A&M and Arkansas with four; Vanderbilt with two and Mississippi State with one player making Steele's All-SEC.

The biggest surprises were how well the Kentucky Wildcats ranked and the potential Playoff contender, Missouri with just five players chosen.

Steele's First Team selections are listed below. Also included is a shorter list of SEC players selected in the preseason Walter Camp All-America teams.

The Walter Camp Foundation and Phil Steele's rankings have deviations for certain players. For example. Alabama Crimson Tide punter, James Burnip is Walter Camp's Second Team All-America punter. Steele ranked Burnip as Third Team All-SEC.

There is no end to debates over how players should be ranked. A better exercise is to ask what Steele's selections tell us about the prospects of SEC football teams. For example, Kentucky had more players selected than Tennessee, and three were first-teamers, compared to just one for the Vols. Should we conclude the Vols will be in a tough fight when the Wildcats visit Knoxville in November? Given the selections for LSU and Florida, should the Bengal Tigers be on upset watch when they go to Gainesville in November?

There are so many other factors that determine the outcome of games, answers to those questions and others must wait. What we can surmise can be explained by a recent statement by Oklahoma head coach, Brent Venables. Venables was not talking about preseason player selections, but about what it takes to win in the SEC, "Everything matters. There's a very small margin for error. There are so many things that decide games in this league, and you better be ready for all of them."

Georgia will not beat Texas in Austin because of 12 players selected by Phil Steele, compared to 11 for the Longhorns. Alabama will not beat LSU in Baton Rouge because Steele selected 12 Crimson Tide players and only eight for LSU. But Venables is right, "everything matters" and in games between teams with comparable rosters, there is "a very small margin for error."

Phil Steele Preseason All-SEC Football First Team


Quarterback- Carson Beck - Georgia

Running Back - Jarquez Hunter - Auburn

Running Back - Montrell Johnson - Florida

Wide Receiver - Tre Harris - Ole Miss

Wide Receiver - Luther Burden - Missouri

Wide Receiver - Kyren Lacy - LSU

Tight End - Caden Prieskorn - Ole Miss

Center - Parker Brailsford - Alabama

Guard - Tyler Booker - Alabama

Guard - Dylan Fairchild - Georgia

Tackle - Xavier Truss - Georgia

Tackle - Will Campbell - LSU


Defensive End - Nic Sourton - Texas A&M

Defensive Tackle - Deone Walker - Kentucky

Defensive Tackle - Walter Nolen - Ole Miss

Defensive End - James Pearce - Tennessee

Linebacker - Harold Perkins - LSU

Linebacker - Smael Mondon - Georgia

Linebacker - Deontae Lawson - Alabama

Linebacker - Danny Stutsman - Oklahoma

Cornerback - Maxwell Hairston - Kentucky

Cornerback - Daylen Everette - Georgia

Safety - Billy Bowman - Oklahoma

Safety - Malaki Starks - Georgia


Kicker - Graham Nicholson - Alabama

Punter - Jeremy Crawshaw - Florida

Kick Returner - Barion Brown - Kentucky

Punt Returner - Keionte Scott - Auburn

Long Snapper - Hunter Rogers - South Carolina

Walter Camp All-America (SEC players)

  • First Team Offense: Tate Ratledge (OL, Georgia), Tyler Booker (Ol, Alabama), Will Campbell (OL, LSU), Cooper Mays (OL, Tennessee), Carson Beck (QB, Georgia) and Graham Nicholson (PK, Alabama)
  • First Team Defense: James Pearce (DE, Tennessee), Danny Stutsman (LB, Oklahoma), Malaki Starks (DB, Georgia)
  • Second Team Offense: Luther Burden (WR, Missouri), Kelvin Banks Jr. (OL, Texas), Parker Brailsford (OL, Alabama), Quinn Ewers (QB, Texas)
  • Second Team Defense: Deone Walker (DT, Kentucky), Landon Jackson (DL, Arkansas), Harold Perkins (LB, LSU) and James Burnip (Punter, Alabama)

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