STARKVILLE, Miss. (WTVA/MSU Athletics) - Mississippi State defensive end Montez Sweat, defensive tackle Jeffery Simmons and offensive lineman Martinas Rankin were named to the 2017 Associated Press All-Southeastern Conference football team, the organization announced Monday.
A three-time SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week honoree, Sweat becomes the first defensive end since Willie Evans in 2005 to earn First-Team All-SEC AP honors. The Stone Mountain, Ga., native leads the SEC and ranks ninth nationally with 9.5 sacks, which also ranks ninth in MSU single-season history. His 9.5 sacks are the most by a Bulldog since Evans totaled 15.0 over the 2005 season. Sweat is also the first Bulldog to lead the SEC in sacks since Evans in 2005.
Sweat has totaled 12.5 tackles for loss, which ranks fourth in the conference, while recording 63 total yards for loss to rank fifth in the league. Over the regular season, Sweat grabbed 44 tackles and added one fumble recovery.
Simmons also earned first-team laurels, marking the first time since 2000 that MSU has placed at least two defensive players on the AP All-SEC First Team. Simmons has dominated a MSU’s defense that ranks in the top 20 nationally in four categories. The Macon, Miss., native has recorded 57 total tackles despite being double-teamed for most of the season.
Over his sophomore campaign, Simmons ranks 10th in the conference with 11.0 tackles for loss, which includes a career-best 4.5 sacks. Defensively, he has forced and recovered two fumbles while tallying three blocks on special teams, which ties SMU’s Justin Lawler for the national lead. Simmons has also scored twice this season with two touchdowns at Louisiana Tech, becoming the first MSU defensive player since Johnathan Banks in 2009 to score twice in a game.
Earning second-team honors, Rankin becomes MSU’s first offensive lineman to earn AP All-SEC recognition since Ben Beckwith in 2014. A team captain for the 2017 season, Rankin has appeared in nine games, making eight starts over his senior season. The Mendenhall, Miss., native is part of an MSU offensive line that has allowed just 11 sacks this season, which is the fewest by any Power 5 this year and the sixth-fewest in the FBS. The 11 sacks are also the fewest by an MSU team in single-season history.
His dominance on the line has allowed MSU to rush for 2,995 yards, which ranks third in the conference. The Bulldogs average 249.6 yards per game, which ranks 14th nationally, third in the SEC and is the best rushing yardage per game at MSU since the school record of 280.5 set in 1980.
The Bulldogs return to action on Saturday, Dec. 30, taking on Louisville in the TaxSlayer Bowl in Jacksonville, Fla. The game will be aired live on ESPN at 11 a.m. CT.
For more information on the Bulldogs, follow the MSU football team on Twitter, like them on Facebook and join them on Instagram by searching for "HailStateFB." You can also find all-access coverage of the program on SnapChat by searching for "HailStateSnap."
2017 AP All-SEC First Team
WR – A.J. Brown, Ole Miss
WR – Calvin Ridley, Alabama
T – Jonah Williams, Alabama
T – Isaiah Wynn, Georgia
G – Braden Smith, Auburn
G – Ross Pierschbacher, Alabama
C – Bradley Bozeman, Alabama
C – Will Clapp, LSU
TE – Hayden Hurst, South Carolina
QB – Drew Lock, Missouri
RB – Kerryon Johnson, Auburn
RB – Benny Snell Jr., Kentucky
PK – Daniel Carlson, Auburn
All-Purpose: Christian Kirk, Texas A&M
DE – Jeff Holland, Auburn
DE – Montez Sweat, Mississippi State
DT – Da’Ron Payne, Alabama
DT – Jeffery Simmons, Mississippi State
LB – Roquan Smith, Georgia
LB – Devin White, LSU
LB – Rashaan Evans, Alabama
LB – Arden Key, Alabama
CB – Andraez Williams, LSU
CB – Armani Watts, Texas A&M
S – Minkah Fitzpatrick, Alabama
S – Ronnie Harrison, Alabama
P – Johnny Townsend, Florida
2017 AP All-SEC Second Team
WR – J'Mon Moore, Missouri
WR – Christian Kirk, Texas A&M
T – Martinas Rankin, Mississippi State
T – Martez Ivey, Florida
G – Trey Smith, Tennessee
G – Greg Little, Ole Miss, 6-6, 325, So.
C – Frank Ragnow, Arkansas
TE – Albert Okwuegbunam, Missouri
QB – Jarrett Stidham, Auburn
RB – Nick Chubb, Georgia
RB – Derrius Guice, LSU
PK – Eddy Pineiro, Florida
All-Purpose – Mecole Hardman, Georgia
All-Purpose – D.J. Chark, LSU
DE – Marcell Frazier, Missouri
DE – Marquis Haynes, Ole Miss
DE – Dante Sawyer, South Carolina
DT – Taven Bryan, Florida
DT – Raekwon Davis, Alabama
DT – Breeland Speaks, Ole Miss
LB – Josh Allen, Kentucky
LB – Lorenzo Carter, Georgia
LB – De'Jon Harris, Arkansas
LB – Skai Moore, South Carolina
LB – Charles Wright, Vanderbilt
CB – Duke Dawson, Florida
CB – Levi Wallace, Alabama
CB – Carlton Davis, Auburn
CB – CJ Henderson, Florida
S – J.R. Reed, Georgia
P – JK Scott, Alabama
- Three Bulldogs named to All-SEC team by AP
- Four Rebels named AP All-SEC
- League coaches name three Bulldogs All-SEC
- Weatherspoon named Second-Team All-SEC
- Weatherspoon brothers named to All-SEC teams
- Ray White named SEC Legend
- Rob Evans named SEC Legend
- Bulldogs leap into Top 20 of AP/Coaches polls
- Victoria Vivians named SEC Player of the Week; Bulldogs stay No. 3 in Coaches Poll