Three Bulldogs named to All-SEC team by AP

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.

Posted: Dec. 4, 2017 6:10 PM
Updated: Dec. 4, 2017 6:10 PM

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.

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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

Offense:

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

Defense:

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

Offense:

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

Defense:

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

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