December 7, 2012 10:01:54 AM
STARKVILLE -- Six Mississippi State University football players were named All-Southeastern Conference by The Associated Press and league coaches, announced by the conference this past week. The half-dozen combined selections for the Maroon and White are the most since placing nine on the 2000 All-SEC squad.
All-American defensive back Johnthan Banks was one of seven players in the SEC to be named a unanimous first-team selection by the AP. The senior team captain also picked up first-team honors in a vote by the league coaches. This past week, Banks was also named to the All-SEC First Team by CBSSports.com.
Joining Banks on the first team for the AP's All-SEC squad was junior left guard Gabe Jackson. Also a second-team member on the coaches' team, Jackson graded out a champion in 11 of 12 regular-season games. The Liberty native is regarded as one of the top NFL prospects at guard, posting 78 knockdowns this season.
Earning second-team accolades from the AP and the conference coaches was senior linebacker Cameron Lawrence. The Coldwater native tied for third in the SEC with 111 tackles, becoming the first MSU player since 1994-95 with 100-plus tackles in back-to-back season.
The senior team captain was at his best vs. Associated Press Top 25 teams, where he finished third nationally with 13 tackles per game (minimum three games). Along with 111 tackles, Lawrence registered a team-high 10 tackles for loss, four pass breakups, two interceptions, and two fumble recoveries.
Also named to the AP All-SEC Second Team were senior wide receiver Chad Bumphis and junior running back LaDarius Perkins. Bumphis made the squad after becoming the first Bulldog since 1973 to lead the league with a school-record 12 touchdown receptions. Perkins, who ranks in the top 10 in school history in all-purpose yards, was named as an all-purpose player after ranking second in the conference in all-purpose yards per game (129.5).
Senior cornerback Darius Slay joined Jackson and Lawrence on the SEC Coaches' All-SEC Second Team after tying for ninth in the country with five interceptions. The Brunswick, Ga., native had 37 tackles, one tackle for loss, six pass breakups, a fumble recovery, and a blocked kick.
Aside from the AP and SEC Coaches' All-SEC teams, sophomore kick returner Jameon Lewis was named to the CBSSports.com All-SEC First Team after breaking the school record with a league-leading 28.1 yards per kickoff return.
The University of Mississippi's Issac Gross and Denzel Nkemdiche were named Thursday to the Freshman All-Southeastern Conference team.
Gross, who is from Batesville, started seven games this season and finished second in the SEC among freshmen with nine tackles for loss, trailing only Nkemdiche on the list. He had 38 tackles, including a season-high seven at No. 6 University of Georgia. Gross had two and a half sacks.
Nkemdiche, who also was named All-SEC second team by the Associated Press, is a redshirt freshman. He earned a starting role at Stinger out of preseason camp and helped lead the Rebels with 78 tackles, 12 tackles for loss, four forced fumbles, and three interceptions.
The University of Alabama had four players selected to the All-Freshman Team. On offense, the Crimson Tide was represented by wide receiver Amari Cooper, center Ryan Kelly, and running back T.J. Yeldon. Alabama's lone selection on defense was lineman D.J. Pettway.
Twelve SEC football squads were represented on the 13th annual SEC Coaches' All-Freshman Team. SEC champion Alabama, the University of Florida, and Texas A&M University led the way with four selections each, while the University of Arkansas and the University of South Carolina placed three on the team. Georgia, LSU, and the Ole Miss each had two.