UK Football

Several Kentucky players voted among best in SEC, but Cats picked near bottom of East again.

Kentucky running back Benny Snell was named to the preseason All-SEC first team on Friday.
Kentucky running back Benny Snell was named to the preseason All-SEC first team on Friday. AP

Despite returning 17 starters from a team that reached its second straight bowl, Kentucky will start the season from the same place it did this time last year: picked to finish fifth in the Southeastern Conference’s East Division.

In the votes, released on Friday morning, the Cats were picked to finish behind Georgia, South Carolina, Florida and Missouri this season. UK was picked ahead of Tennessee and Vanderbilt.

Kentucky did get a bump in the player voting, with junior Benny Snell selected as a co-first team running back in the league alongside Alabama’s Damien Harris, a former Madison Southern star.

Despite having 17 starters back from last season’s bowl team, Kentucky football is being picked near the bottom of its division. At SEC Football Media Days, UK head coach Mark Stoops was asked if his team was not getting enough respect.

Both UK linebacker Josh Allen and safety Mike Edwards were selected to the conference’s second-team defense

Tight end C.J. Conrad was picked third team in the SEC. Missouri’s Albert Okwuegbunam and Georgia’s Isaac Nauta were first and second, respectively.

Overall, Georgia and Alabama were projected to win their respective divisions to set up a rematch in the SEC championship game. The Crimson Tide received 193 votes to be the league champion.

Last season at this time, the Cats were picked to finish fifth in the SEC’s East Division behind Georgia, Florida, Tennessee and South Carolina and just ahead of Vanderbilt and Missouri.

Kentucky has gone 7-6 in each of the last two seasons, finishing third in the East last season.

The Cats’ two SEC West opponents this season, Mississippi State and Texas A&M, were picked third and fourth in the SEC West this year.

All-SEC preseason voting

EASTERN DIVISION (First-place votes in parenthesis)

Georgia (271)

1,977

South Carolina (8)

1,535

Florida (4)

1,441

Missouri

1,057

Kentucky (1)

874

Tennessee (1)

704

Vanderbilt

392



WESTERN DIVISION (First-place votes in parenthesis)

Alabama (263)

1,971

Auburn (19)

1,664

Mississippi State (2)

1,239

Texas A&M

1,091

LSU

1,025

Ole Miss

578

Arkansas

412



SEC CHAMPION

Alabama

193

Georgia

69

Auburn

14

South Carolina

4

Florida

2

Mississippi State

1

Missouri

1

2018 PRESEASON ALL-SEC TEAM

OFFENSE

First Team

QB Drew Lock, Missouri

RB Damien Harris, Alabama

RB Benny Snell, Kentucky

WR A.J. Brown, Ole Miss

WR Deebo Samuel, South Carolina

TE Albert Okwuegbunam, Missouri

OL Jonah Williams, Alabama

OL Greg Little, Ole Miss

OL Martez Ivey, Florida

OL Trey Smith, Tennessee

C Ross Pierschbacher, Alabama

Second Team

QB Jarrett Stidham, Auburn

RB D’Andre Swift, Georgia

RB Trayveon Williams, Texas A&M

WR Terry Godwin, Georgia

WR Ryan Davis, Auburn

TE Isaac Nauta, Georgia

OL Andrew Thomas, Georgia

OL Lester Cotton, Alabama

OL Hjalte Froholdt, Arkansas

OL Garrett Brumfield, LSU

C Lamont Gaillard, Georgia

Third Team

*QB Nick Fitzgerald, Mississippi State

*QB Jake Fromm, Georgia

RB Aeris Williams, Mississippi State

RB Jordan Scarlett, Florida

WR Jerry Jeudy, Alabama

WR Emanuel Hall, Missouri

TE C.J. Conrad, Kentucky

OL Matt Womack, Alabama

OL Zack Bailey, South Carolina

OL Javon Patterson, Ole Miss

OL Marquel Harrell, Auburn

C Erik McCoy, Texas A&M

DEFENSE

First Team

DL Raekwon Davis, Alabama

DL Cece Jefferson, Florida

DL Montez Sweat, Mississippi State

DL Jeffery Simmons, Mississippi State

LB Devin White, LSU

LB Anfernee Jennings, Alabama

LB Mack Wilson, Alabama

DB Deandre Baker, Georgia

DB Greedy Williams, LSU

DB J.R. Reed, Georgia

DB Deionte Thompson, Alabama

Second Team

DL Jonathan Ledbetter, Georgia

DL Terry Beckner, Missouri

DL Derrick Brown, Auburn

DL Isaiah Buggs, Alabama

LB Josh Allen, Kentucky

LB Deshaun Davis, Auburn

LB D’Andre Walker, Georgia

DB Mike Edwards, Kentucky

DB Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, Florida

DB Jamel Dean, Auburn

DB CJ Henderson, Florida

Third Team

DL Dontavius Russell, Auburn

DL Rashard Lawrence, LSU

DL Marlon Davidson, Auburn

*DL Kingsley Keke, Texas A&M

*DL Landis Durham, Texas A&M

LB Dylan Moses, Alabama

LB David Reese, Florida

LB De’Jon Harris, Arkansas

DB Mark McLaurin, Mississippi State

DB Marco Wilson, Florida

DB Javaris Davis, Auburn

DB Santos Ramirez, Arkansas

SPECIALISTS

First Team

P Corey Fatony, Missouri

PK Rodrigo Blankenship, Georgia

RS Deebo Samuel, South Carolina

AP Deebo Samuel, South Carolina

Second Team

P Joseph Charlton, South Carolina

PK Daniel LaCamera, Texas A&M

RS Mecole Hardman, Georgia

AP Trevon Diggs, Alabama

Third Team

P Zach Von Rosenberg, LSU

PK Tucker McCann, Missouri

RS Trevon Diggs, Alabama

AP Kadarius Toney, Florida

* - Indicates a tie

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