HOOVER, Ala. (WTVA/MSU Athletics) – Four Mississippi State Bulldogs were recognized as members of the 2019 Southeastern Conference Media Days Preseason All-SEC Team on Friday.
MSU’s selections were highlighted by defensive team captain Erroll Thompson, who earned first-team honors. Below is the complete list of Bulldogs.
· LB Erroll Thompson (First-Team Defense)
· C Darryl Williams (Second-Team Offense)
· CB Cameron Dantzler (Second-Team Defense)
· DE Chauncey Rivers (Third-Team Defense)
Thompson is a smart, instinctive, hard-hitting linebacker who enters his junior season with 133 total tackles, including 14.5 for loss and six sacks, in 26 games played. He has started 16 straight games, including all 13 last season for the nation's top-ranked defense. The Florence, Alabama, product was voted the defensive team captain for the 2019 season by his teammates. Last season, Thompson ranked second on the team in total tackles (87), tied for third in tackles for loss (9.0), added 3.5 sacks and collected a pair of interceptions. He earned second-team All-SEC honors from The Associated Press for his efforts. Thompson is also a candidate for the Bednarik Award, which has been presented to the College Defensive Player of the Year since 1995.
Williams is a preseason All-American and the Bulldogs' offensive team captain. He moved from left guard to center during spring drills to replace second-round draft pick and All-American Elgton Jenkins. Williams allowed only one sack, three quarterback hits and five hurries for just nine total pressures in 2018, according to Pro Football Focus. The Bessemer, Alabama, native was the No. 5 overall graded guard in the SEC by PFF last season (71.1) and had the No. 5 best pass blocking grade (82.9). Williams enters his senior year with 25 starts in 32 games played.
A preseason All-American and Bednarik Award candidate, Dantzler ranked second in the SEC last season among corners with a 41.1 passer rating allowed, according to PFF, and was one of only four SEC cornerbacks that did not allow a touchdown (min. 345 coverage snaps played). The Louisiana product also had a pair of interceptions and led the Bulldogs in passes defended (11).
Rivers, who steps into a starting role after the graduation of Montez Sweat and Gerri Green, played in all 13 games in 2018 and had impressive numbers on one of the best defensive lines in college football. He made 24 tackles, seven tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks. The Stone Mountain, Georgia, native recorded an impressive 19 pressures across 339 snaps played, according to PFF.