SEC Football: 6 Players Wrongly Left off of AP All-America Teams

David Luther@@davidrlutherFeatured ColumnistDecember 17, 2012

SEC Football: 6 Players Wrongly Left off of AP All-America Teams

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    It's easy to see the SEC dominated the 2012 AP All-America teams.

    Of the 75 players selected to the three teams, 22—nearly a third—were form the SEC. While that speaks volumes about the reputation of the SEC, there are still some lingering questions about the selections made by the AP.

    For instance, where's Todd Gurley? How about Tyler Wilson or Tyler Bray?

    These aren't the only notable absences, but they headline our list of SEC players wrongly left off of the Associated Press' 2012 All-America teams.

A.J. Johnson, LB, Tennessee

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    If you want a do-it-all kind of player on your All-America team, look no further than Tennessee's A.J. Johnson.

    Johnson not only led the defensive-minded SEC with 138 total tackles (including 8.5 tackles for loss) this season, he also found a little time to spend in the offensive backfield as well. Johnson padded his defensive stats with 12 carries for 21 yards and six touchdowns in short-yardage situations.

    There aren't many other defensive players in the nation that can claim 36 points this season.

Darius Slay, DB, Mississippi State

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    One of the biggest momentum changers in college football is the interception. In 2012, no SEC player was better than Mississippi State's Darius Slay.

    Slay had five interceptions this season and had 101 return yards with one touchdown.

    Slay also had 37 tackles and a blocked punt to add to his already impressive defensive numbers.

    If teammate Johnthan Banks can find his way onto the AP's second team with four interceptions, isn't there a spot for Slay with five?

Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia

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    Statistically speaking, Todd Gurley's 2012 freshman season wasn't the best in the nation—far from it.

    But in the defensive mecca that is the Southeastern Conference, Gurley did something that would be impressive for any player—much less a freshman: Gurley led the conference with 1,260 rushing yards in 13 games.

    And while his numbers weren't cracking the top 10 nationally in any statistical category, he was clearly the better candidate for mention than UNC's Giovani Bernard (who led the ACC in rushing this season with fewer total yards than Gurley).

Jordan Matthews, WR, Vanderbilt

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    Arkansas' Cobi Hamilton was the only receiver representing the SEC on the AP All-America teams this season.

    But what about Jordan Matthews?

    Along with Hamilton, Matthews was one of just two SEC receivers to average over 100 yards per game, and Matthews finished just 6.1 yards per game behind Hamilton.

    But Matthews outpaced Hamilton in the scoring department, hauling in seven touchdown receptions to Hamilton's five. Yards are great, but points are better, and Matthews was the better of the SEC's two top receivers when it came to getting the ball into the end zone in 2012.

Tyler Wilson, QB, Arkansas

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    Sure, Arkansas was one heckuva let down this season.

    But when it comes to the names on the AP All-America teams, we see the importance of individual achievement rather than team success.

    If we include players from Purdue, Tulane, Utah, BYU, West Virginia and Central Michigan, surely we can include the quarterback who led the SEC in passing yards per game, can't we?

    Wilson averaged nearly 308 yards per game and finished 2012 with 3,387 passing yards—both of which beat out AP third-teamer A.J. McCarron.

Tyler Bray, QB, Tennessee

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    Another quarterbacking absence from this year's list is Tennessee's Tyler Bray.

    All he did this season was lead the SEC in passing yards with 3,612 and passing touchdowns with 34. That's more yardage than Collin Klein had through the air and on the ground—combined.

    Bray also topped Peyton Manning's UT record of seven consecutive games with at least two passing touchdowns and became the second Tennessee player in history (the other being Manning) to throw for over 400 yards in a single game.

    No big deal.