Bulldogs top All-SEC preseason watchlist

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6 Bulldogs noted by Athlon Sports as All-SEC first teamers

Athlon Sports released its All-SEC teams this week, and Georgia had more players included than any other team in the conference. In total, 13 Bulldogs were named to one of four Athlon All-SEC teams, with six being named All-SEC first-teamers.

Two Georgia players earned spots on the first-team offense, both of them rising sophomores. Andrew Thomas, a former right tackle who will play on the left side in 2018, and all-purpose player D’Andre Swift, the Bulldogs’ leading returning rusher.

Leading Georgia defenders on the first-team defense was Deandre Baker, perhaps the best player on the team this year. He’s joined there by another member of Georgia’s secondary, safety J.R. Reed, the team’s leading returning tackler.

Two Bulldogs are also included in the four spots for first-team specialists. Junior kicker Rodrigo Blankenship was given a spot on the first team after hitting 20 of 23 field goals as a sophomore. Fellow junior Mecole Hardman was the first-team punt returner. Although he didn’t score a return touchdown last season, Hardman led the SEC in total punt return yards and average per return.

Fifth-year senior center Lamont Gaillard was Georgia’s lone second-team selection. The third team, however, included five Bulldogs: wide receiver Terry Godwin; tight end Isaac Nauta; defensive lineman Tyler Clark and linebacker Natrez Patrick; and Hardman as a kick returner. Senior defensive end Jonathan Ledbetter is the only Georgia player on the fourth team.