Texas A&M QB Johnny Manziel
The 2012 college football regular season has come and gone, and it was a banner year for the SEC.
The nation's top football conference welcomed in Texas A&M and Missouri to the conference, and the Aggies celebrated by allowing Johnny Manziel to run roughshod over most of the SEC en route to the Heisman Trophy and into the SEC record book.
But it wasn't just Manziel who stole the headlines. Georgia linebacker Jarvis Jones, South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney and Florida safety Matt Elam are just a few of the other SEC players that have been named to postseason All-American Teams.
Who were the top players in the SEC in 2012? Here's our B/R All-SEC Team.
Texas A&M QB Johnny Manziel
Johnny Manziel takes home first-team honors in our All-SEC Team. The redshirt freshman threw for 3,419 yards, rushed for 1,181 more, combined for 43 touchdowns and broke Cam Newton's single-season total yardage record.
Oh, and there's that Heisman Trophy on his bookshelf to go along with those stats.
Not a bad debut, to say the least.
With all of the talent at quarterback in the SEC, the battle for first-team honors was supposed to be heated when we did the preseason All-SEC team. Manziel's performance this season made it a no-brainer for the postseason version.
Second Team: Alabama QB AJ McCarron
He's more than just a game-manger, he's a gunslinger that makes smart decisions. For evidence, look no further than the 26 touchdowns and three picks.
Florida RB Mike Gillislee
At SEC Media Days in Hoover, Ala. in July, Florida running back Mike Gillislee boldly predicted that he'd rush for 1,600 yards and 24 touchdowns in his senior season. For a player who hadn't rushed for more than 328 yards in any of his previous three seasons, it seemed like a stretch.
Gillislee didn't attain that lofty goal, but he was close.
He rushed for 1,104 yards and 10 touchdowns in an offense where he was the only consistent weapon throughout the season.
Not a bad way to close out a career and certainly worthy of All-SEC honors, even if other running backs have more eye-popping stats.
Second Team: Georgia RB Todd Gurley
Todd Gurley started his career out strong, leading all SEC running backs with 1,260 rushing yards and 16 touchdowns in his inaugural season in the SEC.
Alabama RB Eddie Lacy
Along with T.J. Yeldon, Lacy was one of two Alabama running backs to top the 1,000-yard mark, rushing for 1,182 yards and 16 touchdowns in 13 games. Lacy was the feature back, and when his team called upon him to carry the load and wear down the opposition, he happily obliged.
With punishing power and a killer spin move, Lacy established himself as one of the premier running backs in the SEC.
Behind one of the best offensive lines in the country, Lacy will close out his season in Miami with a chance to win his second consecutive BCS National Championship.
Second Team: Vanderbilt RB Zac Stacy
For the second consecutive season, Stacy topped the 1,000-yard mark (1,034) and led his team to a bowl game. Coincidence? Nope.
Arkansas WR Cobi Hamilton
Cobi Hamilton was one of the few bright spots for the Arkansas Razorbacks this season, catching 90 passes for 1,335 yards and five touchdowns—leading the SEC in receptions and receiving yards.
He proved that he has what it takes to be a No. 1 wide receiver in the SEC despite the fact that everyone on the field and in the stands knew he was getting the ball early and often.
It wasn't the storybook ending to a career that Hamilton wanted from a team standpoint, but personally, his swan song in Fayetteville was everything you could hope for.
Second Team: Tennessee WR Justin Hunter
Hunter suffered from the drops at times, but he still finished the season with 73 catches for 1,083 yards and nine touchdowns‚ one year removed from a torn ACL.
Vanderbilt WR Jordan Matthews
Jordan Matthews doesn't have the hype that some other wide receivers in the SEC enjoy, but the Vanderbilt wide receiver had a tremendous junior season in Nashville, catching 87 passes for 1,262 yards and seven touchdowns.
He was one of several under-the-radar Commodores that kick-started Vanderbilt to its second consecutive bowl game—a first in program history.
Matthews is a big part of why Vanderbilt is a team on the rise, and whether he bolts to the NFL or sticks around, his legacy will be felt in Nashville for years to come.
Second Team: Ole Miss WR Donte Moncrief
Moncrief caught 60 passes for 948 yards and 10 touchdowns in an offense where he became a serious weapon down the stretch.
Tennessee TE Mychal Rivera
Tennessee tight end Mychal Rivera didn't enter the season with boat loads of hype, but he ended it as the most prolific offensive threat in the SEC.
The senior caught 36 passes for 562 yards and five touchdowns in the prolific Tennessee offense.
He was overshadowed by Justin Hunter and Cordarrelle Patterson, but Rivera provided a great safety valve for quarterback Tyler Bray as the season progressed.
Second Team: Florida TE Jordan Reed
Reed was really the only receiving threat on the Florida roster, catching catching 44 passes for 552 yards and three touchdowns.
Texas A&M OT Luke Joeckel
While everybody got caught up in the Johnny Manziel hype, it was Texas A&M's offensive line that allowed the Aggies to transition to the SEC so easily. Luke Joeckel was a big reason for that.
The junior was a force protecting Manziel's blind side, as well as a big reason running backs Ben Malena and Christine Michael were so successful in 2012.
The 6'6", 310-pounder has a big decision to make whether he wants to leave for the NFL draft or stick around and chase the crystal. Either way, that Outland Trophy is going to look nice on his bookshelf.
Second Team: Alabama OT D.J. Fluker
Fluker struggled a little bit with pass-blocking, but was a stud in the run game—which is why Alabama is playing in Miami on Jan. 7.
Texas A&M OT Jake Matthews
On the other side of the Texas A&M offensive line, we find our second first-team All-SEC offensive tackle in 6'5", 305-pound Jake Matthews.
It all starts up front, and with Matthews and Joeckel manning the edges, it's no wonder the Aggies posted a 10-win season in their inaugural SEC campaign.
Matthews will be a star in the NFL as well, but the rising junior could decide to stick around and play his senior season in College Station.
Second Team: Tennessee OT Antonio Richardson
Tennessee's offensive line was vastly improved this season, allowing only eight sacks all season. The 6'6", 325-pound Antonio Richardson protecting Tyler Bray's blind side was a big reason why.
Alabama OT Chance Warmack (left)
Eddie Lacy and T.J. Yeldon will get all of the credit, but Chance Warmack is a big reason why Alabama has been so successful over the last few seasons.
His ability to fire off the ball and create running lanes for the backs is the foundation of the Alabama offense. The 6'3", 320-pound senior will leave Tuscaloosa as a legend, even if he doesn't get the praise that some of the players in the glamour positions receive.
He'll have a chance to close out his career on a high note in Miami on Jan. 7.
Second Team: Mississippi State OG Gabe Jackson
Mississippi State's running game was overlooked this season, but the success of the offense hinged on plowing the road. Gabe Jackson, a 6'6", 320-pound junior was a big reason for Mississippi State's fast start and New Year's Day bowl bid.
Kentucky OG Larry Warford (left)
Larry Warford was one of the lone bright spots for the Kentucky offense in 2012, but the 6'3", 343-pound senior made his impression felt.
He didn't allow a sack all season long, had 48 knockdown blocks and graded out at 90.3 percent for the season.
Warford wasn't a household name, but he will enjoy a great career in the NFL starting in 2013.
Second Team: Tennessee OG Dallas Thomas
Thomas made the move from tackle to guard to make room for Antonio Richardson, and he solidified the left side of the Tennessee offensive line—the biggest reason the Vols' offense was so successful in 2012.
Alabama C Barrett Jones
The winner of the Outland Trophy last season at offensive tackle, Barrett Jones moved to center this year to make room for Cyrus Kouandjio.
The result was another trip to the college football awards show, narrowly missing out on repeating as the Outland Trophy winner in favor of Luke Joeckel.
Jones made sure the protection was set for quarterback AJ McCarron and was a big reason why Alabama was so successful running between the tackles.
Second Team: South Carolina C T.J. Johnson
Johnson helped solidify the dynamic South Carolina running game, starting all 12 games—making it 52 straight starts overall.
South Carolina DE Jadeveon Clowney
Mel Kiper said that if Jadeveon Clowney was eligible for the 2013 NFL draft, he'd be the No. 1 overall selection.
Judging from his 2012 campaign at South Carolina, you can see why.
The true sophomore set the Gamecock single-season sack record with 13, had 21.5 tackles for loss and generally made a living in the backfield on a week-in, week-out basis.
Even when his stat line isn't overly impressive he was a monster. He only recorded four tackles and one sack against Georgia, but he was the biggest reason why his team throttled the Bulldogs 35-7.
Luckily for South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier, he gets him for one more season.
Second Team: LSU DE Sam Montgomery
Montgomery finished the season with seven sacks and 12 tackles for loss, leading LSU to the Chick-fil-A Bowl vs. Clemson.
Texas A&M DE Damontre Moore
Damontre Moore dropped down from the outside linebacker spot to defensive end in Mark Snyder's 4-3 defense, and the results were spectacular.
The junior finished the season with 12.5 sacks, 20 tackles for loss and 80 total tackles.
Think about that for a second...80 tackles for a defensive end. That's impressive.
All of the focus in College Station was on Johnny Football, but the defense wasn't bad at all, finishing the season giving up 389.3 yards per game. Moore's ability to disrupt plays was a big reason why.
Second Team: Arkansas DE Chris Smith
Barkevious Mingo may get the hype, but Arkansas' Chris Smith finished the season with 9.5 sacks for 65 yards and was one of the lone bright spots on the Hog defense.
Florida DT Sharrif Floyd
Sharrif Floyd was a monster on the interior line of that stout Florida defense.
The 6'6", 303-pound junior took up double teams in the middle and allowed the rest of the Florida defense to swarm around him, and is a big reason Florida was so successful despite not having a functional offense.
He finished the season with 41 tackles, 11 tackles for loss and one sack.
Second Team: Alabama DT Jesse Williams
Williams moved to the nose guard spot this season and responded with 36 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss and one sack.
Missouri DT Sheldon Richardson
Sheldon Richardson made a name for himself in the wrong way with his "old man football" quote regarding Georgia football, but he played "grown man football" throughout the season.
The 6'4", 295-pound monster recorded 75 tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss, four sacks forced three fumbles and recovered one for the Tigers in their inaugural season in the SEC.
It wasn't the smoothest of transitions for Missouri, but Richardson's play in the trenches always kept things interesting in the new Columbia.
Second Team: Georgia DT John Jenkins
The 6'3", 358-pound monster finished the season with 50 tackles, two tackles for loss and one sack, and he was a big reason why teammate Jarvis Jones was so successful.
Georgia LB Jarvis Jones
Manti Te'o may have been in New York as a Heisman finalist, but if you go by statistics, Jarvis Jones should have been in the Big Apple with a chance to win college football's most prestigious hardware.
The junior finished the season with 77 tackles, 22.5 tackles for loss, 12.5 sacks, seven forced fumbles and one interception...and he missed two games.
Jones established himself as one of the top linebackers in college football, and he will be a surefire draft pick whenever he decides to enter the professional ranks.
Second Team: Mississippi State LB Cameron Lawrence
Lawrence closed out his career with a fantastic season, finishing with 111 tackles 10 tackles for loss and four sacks for the Bulldogs.
LSU LB Kevin Minter
Minter was an absolute force in the middle of the LSU linebacking corps, finishing with 111 tackles, 13.5 tackles for loss, three sacks, one interception and one forced fumble.
He came up big in LSU's toughest games, notching 48 tackles in games against opponents that are in the current Top 11 of the Associated Press Top 25, including 20 against the Florida Gators.
If he sticks around for his senior season, he is a surefire First-Team All-SEC preseason selection next season.
Second Team: Tennessee LB A.J. Johnson
Johnson led all SEC defenders with 138 tackles, and added 8.5 tackles for loss and one sack. Oh, and he wasn't so bad as a short-yardage running back either, scoring six rushing touchdowns.
Alabama LB C.J. Mosley
Mosley came up big time and time again, finishing the season as Alabama's leading tackler with 99 stops, and he added seven tackles for loss, four sacks, two interceptions, one interception return for a touchdown, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery.
He saved his best work for last, tipping Aaron Murray's potential game-winning touchdown pass on the final play of the SEC Championship Game, preserving Alabama's bid to become the first back-to-back national champions of the BCS era.
Mosley is an absolute force in the middle of that Crimson Tide 3-4 defense.
Second Team: Georgia LB Alec Ogletree
Ogletree only played in nine games, but he managed to lead the Bulldogs with 98 tackles and added 8.5 tackles for loss and two sacks.
Alabama DB Dee Milliner
Dee Milliner took over as a full-time starter at cornerback for the Crimson Tide this season, and didn't disappoint, picking off two passes, recovering a fumble, tallying 51 tackles, four tackles for losses and 1.5 sacks.
His stats may not stack up against some other cornerbacks in the SEC, but that's only because opposing quarterbacks stayed away from him.
Milliner is just another in a long line of Crimson Tide defensive backs that will have a long and successful career in the NFL.
Second Team: Mississippi State CB Darius Slay
Slay tied for the SEC lead with five interceptions, one of which he returned for a touchdown. Not bad for the second-best defensive back on his team.
Mississippi State CB Johnthan Banks
Johnthan Banks will go down as one of the top cornerbacks in Mississippi State history, capping off his brilliant career with four interceptions, 59 tackles, two tackles for loss and seven pass breakups in his final campaign with the Bulldogs.
He was rewarded with the Thorpe Award, which is given to the nation's top defensive back.
Banks was a threat to make a big play anywhere on the field, and he was a big reason why the Bulldogs landed in a New Year's Day bowl.
Second Team: LSU CB Tharold Simon
Simon is just a physical freak, who finished his with four interceptions, eight pass breakups and 38 tackles.
Florida S Matt Elam
Matt Elam was a force at the back end of the stout Florida defense.
The junior finished 2012 second on the Gators with 65 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, one sack, four interceptions, five pass breakups and one forced fumble.
Big-time players make big-time plays in big games, and Elam did just that, making a total of 30 tackles in games against South Carolina, LSU, Florida State and Tennessee.
Second Team: Alabama S Robert Lester
Robert Lester closed out his Alabama career in style, tallying 42 tackles, four picks, 3.5 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks for the Tide.
LSU S Eric Reid
Reid finished his junior campaign with 81 tackles two picks and one tackle for loss, leading LSU to the Chick-fil-A Bowl.
His 81 stops were third on the Tigers. He was a force in coverage, but wasn't afraid to stick his nose in and help out in run defense when needed.
He didn't lead the Tigers to the title like LSU fans hoped, but Reid will go down as another in a long line of high-caliber safeties to roll through Baton Rouge.
Second Team: Georgia S Bacarri Rambo
Rambo missed four games, but still managed 67 tackles, one tackle for loss, one sack, three interceptions, three forced fumbles and one fumble recovery.
Florida P Kyle Christy
Kyle Christy is arguably the MVP of the Florida Gators, a team that relied on field position to solidify a 11-1 record and a bid in the Sugar Bowl.
Christy led all SEC punters with a 46.1 yards per punt average on 62 punts, with 26 punts landing inside the 20-yard line and 25 travelling 50 or more yards.
His ability to flip the field and make the opposition work was a big reason why Florida's defense was so successful in 2012.
Second Team: Arkansas P Dylan Breeding
Breeding finished the season with 53 punts with an average of 45.6 yards per game.
Florida PK Caleb Sturgis
Sturgis again missed out on taking home the Lou Groza Award for the nation's top place kicker, but there's no question that he is the best place kicker in the SEC.
The senior connected on 23 of his 27 kicks, including hitting all three of his attempts from 50 or more yards with a long of 51.
He also hit 32 of his 33 PAT attempts.
Second Team: Vanderbilt PK Carey Spear
Spear finished the season hitting 19 of his 22 field-goal attempts and with one ferocious tackle on Tennessee kick returner Cordarrelle Patterson.
Missouri PR Marcus Murphy
Marcus Murphy may not have received the hype of some other return specialists in the SEC, but make no mistake, the sophomore was a stud this season for the Tigers.
Murphy finished the season with 27 punt returns for 374 yards and three touchdowns.
It's a shame he got lost in Missouri's relative anonymity in the SEC, because he's an electric punt returner that can change games in a hurry.
Second Team: South Carolina PR Ace Sanders
The junior speedster had 25 returns for 363 yards and a touchdown for the Gamecocks.
Tennessee KR Cordarrelle Patterson
Cordarrelle Patterson was an all-everything superstar for the Tennessee Volunteers, making his presence felt as a wide receiver, running back, punt returner and kick returner in his first season on Rocky Top.
The junior college transfer finished the season with 24 kickoff returns for 671 yards and one touchdown for the Vols, and he proved to be one of the most dynamic players in the SEC during the 2012 season.
Second Team: Mississippi State KR Jameon Lewis
Lewis led all SEC kick returners with a 28.06 yards per return average and scored one touchdown off a return for the Bulldogs.