Coaches make Stetson Bennett a second-team All-SEC pick, key Georgia players overlooked

Georgia defensive back Christopher Smith (29) has been arguably the most pivotal Georgia player the past two seasons, from his Pick-6 against Clemson at the start of the 2021 season, to his 96-yard momentum-inducing play in the first quarter of the SEC title game. Smith was one of four finalists for the Nagurski Award, which is nicknamed the "Defensive Heisman." (Photo by Tony Walsh)
Tony Walsh

ATHENS — SEC Coaches saw fit to make five Georgia players first-team all-conference picks and designate Heisman Trophy finalist Stetson Bennett as a second-team selection.

The No. 1-ranked Bulldogs won their first SEC Championship Game since 2017 and will play No. 4 Ohio State at 8 p.m. on Dec. 31 in the CFP Peach Bowl Semifinal in Atlanta.

Number 5-ranked Alabama, which did not make the playoffs, also had five first-team picks, while No. 6-ranked Tennessee had four first-team picks, including quarterback Hendon Hooker.

The Coaches’ first-team picks from the Bulldogs are:

• TE Brock Bowers

• OT Warren McClendon

• DT Jalen Carter

• FS Chris Smith

• PK Jack Podlesny

The Bulldogs had four of the same five players make the Associated Press first-team All-SEC team on Monday. Junior offensive tackle Broderick Jones was a first-team AP pick on Monday, while McClendon was not.

RELATED: A look at the Associated Press All-SEC teams

Georgia has seven players on the Coaches’ second-team All-SEC list:

• QB Stetson Bennett

• WR Ladd McConkey

• TE Darnell Washington

• OC Sedrick Van Pran

• DT Nazir Stackhouse

• CB Kelee Ringo

• LS William Mote

While linebacker Jamon Dumas-Johnson did not make the Coaches’ team, the media panel selected him on Monday to the AP second-team.

Senior tailback Kenny McIntosh, freshman safety Malaki Starks and sophomore linebacker Smael Mondon Jr. were three of the more notable defensive names left off.

McIntosh carried the offense down the stretch with the pass game struggling, accounting for more than 400 yards along with 4 TDs in the final four games.

Starks has been a key playmaker and leads the team in PBUs (7) and ranks third in tackles (63).

Mondon has played exceptional football and is tied with Dumas-Johnson for the team lead in tackles (64).

Freshman punter Brett Thorson might also have deserved recognition, as his 44.94 average would rank 17th in the nation and second in the SEC if he had enough attempts to qualify for the national statistics.

Thorson has dropped 18 of his 33 punts this season inside the opponents’ 20-yard line and boomed 8 more than 50 yards.

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