Georgia picked to win SEC East, 9 Bulldogs named preseason all-conference

072022 Atlanta: Georgia linebacker Nolan Smith takes questions while holding his press conference at SEC Media Days in the College Football Hall of Fame on Wednesday, July 20, 2022, in Atlanta.   “Curtis Compton / Curtis Compton@ajc.com”

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@

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072022 Atlanta: Georgia linebacker Nolan Smith takes questions while holding his press conference at SEC Media Days in the College Football Hall of Fame on Wednesday, July 20, 2022, in Atlanta. “Curtis Compton / Curtis Compton@ajc.com”

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@

Alabama overwhelming favorite to repeat as SEC champion

ATHENS -- Nine Georgia players were named preseason All-SEC, and the Bulldogs were predicted to repeat as runners-up to Alabama for the 2022 SEC championship, according to polling results from SEC Media Days released by the conference office Friday morning.

Georgia is picked to win the Eastern Division, which it has done in four of the past five years. But Alabama received 87.3% of the votes to repeat as SEC champions. The Crimson Tide received 158 votes to the Bulldogs’ 18. South Carolina received three votes and Texas A&M and Vanderbilt -- yes, Vanderbilt -- each received one.

Media have correctly selected the SEC champion only nine times in the past 37 years.

ExploreMore AJC coverage of the Bulldogs

Georgia had six players chosen first-team all-conference. They were sophomore tight end Brock Bowers, junior offensive tackle Warren McClendon, junior defensive tackle Jalen Carter, sophomore cornerback Kelee Ringo and senior returns specialist Kearis Jackson.

Second-team selections for the Bulldogs included sophomore center Sedrick Van Pran-Granger and senior safety Christopher Smith. Senior tailback Kenny McIntosh received third-team recognition.

Former Georgia receiver Jermaine Burton, who transferred to Alabama after last season, was named first-team all-conference after catching 26 passes for 497 yards last season. Conversely, Bulldogs receiver Adonai “A.D.” Mitchell didn’t make even third-team All-SEC after catching the go-ahead touchdown pass to beat the Crimson Tide for the national championship in January.

Kentucky was picked to finish second in the East and received four votes to win the division. Auburn was predicted to finish last in the West.

The Bulldogs report for preseason camp Aug. 4 and open the 2022 season against Oregon in the Chick-Fil-A Kickoff game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Sept. 3.

EASTERN DIVISION

Predicted order of finish (1st votes)

Georgia (172)

Kentucky (4)

Tennessee (1)

Florida

South Carolina (3)

Missouri

Vanderbilt (1)

WESTERN DIVISION

Alabama (177)

Texas A&M (3)

Arkansas (1)

Ole Miss

LSU

Miss. State

Auburn

ALL-SEC TEAM

OFFENSE

First team

QB - Bryce Young, Alabama

RB - Tank Bigsby, Auburn

RB - Jahmyr Gibbs, Alabama

WR - Kayshon Boutte, LSU

WR - Jermaine Burton, Alabama

TE - Brock Bowers, Georgia

OL - Emil Ekiyor, Alabama

OL - Warren McClendon, Georgia

OL - O’Cyrus Torrence, Florida

OL - Nick Broeker, Ole Miss

C - Ricky Stromberg, Arkansas

Second team

QB - Hendon Hooker, Tennessee

RB - Chris Rodriguez, Kentucky

RB - Devon Achane, Texas A&M

WR - Cedric Tillman, Tennessee

WR - Jonathan Mingo, Ole Miss

TE - Cameron Latu, Alabama

OL - Layden Robinson, Texas A&M

OL - Kenneth Horsey, Kentucky

OL - Darnell Wright, Tennessee

OL - Javion Cohen, Alabama

C - Sedrick Van Pran, Georgia

Third team

QB - Will Levis, Kentucky

RB - Zach Evans, Ole Miss

RB - Kenny McIntosh, Georgia

WR - Ainias Smith, Texas A&M

WR - Josh Vann, South Carolina

TE - Jaheim Bell, South Carolina

OL - Brady Latham, Arkansas

OL - Tyler Steen, Alabama

OL - Javon Foster, Missouri

*OL - Jeremy James, Ole Miss

*OL - Kendall Randolph, Alabama

C - Cooper Mays, Tennessee

DEFENSE

First team

DL - Jalen Carter, Georgia

DL - BJ Ojulari, LSU

DL - Derick Hall, Auburn

DL - Byron Young, Tennessee

LB - Will Anderson, Alabama

LB - Nolan Smith, Georgia

LB - Henry To’oTo’o, Alabama

DB - Jordan Battle, Alabama

DB - Kelee Ringo, Georgia

DB - Eli Ricks, Alabama

DB - Jalen Catalon, Arkansas

Second team

DL - Zacch Pickens, South Carolina

DL - D.J. Dale, Alabama

DL - Ali Gaye, LSU

DL - Colby Wooden, Auburn

LB - Bumper Pool, Arkansas

LB - Dallas Turner, Alabama

LB - Brenton Cox, Florida

DB - Cam Smith, South Carolina

DB - Antonio Johnson, Texas A&M

DB - Christopher Smith, Georgia

DB - Emmanuel Forbes, Mississippi State

Third team

DL - Gervon Dexter, Florida

DL - Justin Eboigbe, Alabama

DL - Maason Smith, LSU

DL - McKinnley Jackson, Texas A&M

LB - Owen Pappoe, Auburn

LB - Ventrell Miller, Florida

LB - Jeremy Banks, Tennessee

DB - Kool-Aid McKinstry, Alabama

DB - Trey Dean, Florida

DB - Trevon Flowers, Tennessee

DB - Malachi Moore, Alabama

SPECIALISTS

First team

P - Nik Constantinou, Texas A&M

PK - Will Reichard, Alabama

RS - Kearis Jackson, Georgia

AP - Jahmyr Gibbs, Alabama

Second team

P - Oscar Chapman, Auburn

PK - Anders Carlson, Auburn

RS - Ainias Smith, Texas A&M

AP - Devon Achane, Texas A&M

Third team

P - Paxton Brooks, Tennessee

PK - Harrison Mevis, Missouri

RS - JoJo Earle, Alabama

AP - Ainias Smith, Texas A&M

* - Indicates a tie