The picks are in. On Friday, following the conclusion of SEC Media Days, the SEC released the media’s predictions for the upcoming season, and both Auburn and Alabama were represented well on the three preseason All-SEC teams.
In addition to landing a league-high 19 players on the All-SEC Teams, Alabama’s football team was unsurprisingly selected as the favorite to win the SEC’s Western Division and the 2019 SEC Championship.
The Crimson Tide was picked to win the SEC Western Division with 253 first-place votes and 1,813 points, ranking ahead of LSU, which was predicted to finish second in the division with 1,493 points. Alabama also received the most votes to finish as SEC champions once again, with the Tide finishing at 203 points compared to Georgia’s 49.
Alabama’s All-SEC list of 19 players occupy 21 spots, including an SEC-record 12 first-team honorees to go with three second-team and six third-team selections. The 12 first-teamers include six players on offense, four on defense and one specialist. The record number surpasses the previous high of 10 first-team honorees set by Alabama in 2017.
Dadeville graduate Anfernee Jennings, a linebacker who is entering his redshirt senior year, was picked as a first-team selection on defense.
In addition, the Tide also landed 12 other first-team selections. Offensively, those include juniors Tua Tagovailoa (quarterback), Najee Harris (running back), Jerry Jeudy and Henry Ruggs III (wide receiver), and Alex Leatherwood and Jedrick Wills Jr. (offensive line). The three on defense in addition to Jennings are made up of seniors Raekwon Davis (defensive line) and Trevon Diggs (defensive back) and junior Dylan Moses (linebacker). Sophomore Jaylen Waddle rounds out the first-team selections, landing two spots on the specialist list as an all-purpose player and as a return specialist.
Waddle makes another appearance on the second team (wide receiver), in addition to sophomore Patrick Surtain II and junior Xavier McKinney (defensive back). Spotting the third team for the Crimson Tide is junior LaBryan Ray (defensive line), senior Shyheim Carter (defensive back), redshirt senior Matt Womack (offensive line), and redshirt juniors Terrell Lewis (linebacker), Miller Forristall (tight end) and Deonte Brown (offensive line).
Auburn also collected the preseason accolades, led by offensive lineman Prince Tega Wanogho and defensive lineman Derrick Brown, who were both part of the trio that represented Auburn at media days Thursday and earned first-team honors. The senior duo started every game last season, and both turned down an opportunity at the next level to finish out their careers on The Plains.
Fellow defensive linemen Nick Coe and Marlon Davidson were selected to the second team along with place kicker Anders Carlson, and the third team included running back JaTarvious Whitlow, defensive back Daniel Thomas and punter Arryn Siposs.
The Tigers had nine players chosen last year, but none made the first team.
The media predicted Auburn to finish fourth in the SEC West behind Alabama, LSU and Texas A&M. The Tigers were one of eight teams to earn at least one vote to win the conference championship.
“I think the potential to win 10 games is there,” SEC Network analyst Cole Cubelic said. “It starts up front; experience on both lines; the best defensive line in college football.”
Fellow SEC Network analyst Greg McElroy said, “I like Auburn a lot. I always like when Auburn is under the radar a little bit. I think when you have expectations it adds pressure, and sometimes they haven’t always responded well to it. This year they’re one of those teams that everybody seems to be sleeping on but probably shouldn’t be.”
The Tigers open the season Aug. 31 against Oregon at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. ESPN announced Thursday “College GameDay” will be there for the game.
The Crimson Tide is also scheduled to open the 2019 season Aug. 31; they will be at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. Alabama will square off with Duke in the 2019 Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game with the game airing live on ABC at 2:30 p.m.