BATON ROUGE, La. — Six LSU football players landed on the Associated Press’ lists for the best players in the SEC in 2017 on Monday.
Linebacker Devin White, cornerback Greedy Williams and edge rusher Arden Key all made the first-team defense and center Will Clapp earned first-team offensive honors. Running back Derrius Guice was a second-team honoree, as was wide receiver DJ Chark for his all-purpose play.
White led the SEC in tackles in 2017 with 127, 12 more than any other player in the conference. The sophomore also made 12.5 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks, broke up three passes and intercepted one. White’s 12.5 TFLs led the Tigers and ranked tied for fourth in the SEC.
As a redshirt freshman, Williams led the SEC with 5 interceptions and 15 passes defended. He becomes the first LSU player to lead the SEC in interceptions since Craig Steltz in 2007, and the first freshman in at least a decade to lead the conference in either interceptions or passes defended. Williams’ 10 pass breakups tied with Donte Jackson and Kevin Toliver II for the LSU lead. Williams is the first LSU freshman skill player since 1986 and the first LSU freshman defender ever to be named postseason All-SEC.
Key’s inclusion as a first-team defender is a bit of a surprise based off his performance, but not his pedigree. Key played in eight of LSU’s 12 games this year, amassing 4 sacks and 8 quarterback hurries with 1 forced fumble and 5.5 TFLs. The junior missed the Tigers’ first two games while rehabbing from offseason shoulder surgery and last two games battling a knee injury and a hand injury.
Clapp was named a finalist for the Rimington Award Monday, the trophy given to the nation’s top center. Taking over for Seattle Seahawks draft pick Ethan Pocic, Clapp played well in his first season as LSU’s center, starting all 12 games and helping pave the way for Guice and senior running back Darrel Williams to combine for 1,929 rushing yards.
Guice was one of three SEC running backs to average more than 100 rushing yards per game, amassing 1,153 rushing yards in 11 games. He set an SEC record with 276 rushing yards versus Ole Miss, making him the first SEC tailback to have three games in a career with more than 250 rushing yards. With a solid performance against Notre Dame in the Citrus Bowl, Guice should end his college career as the SEC’s all-time leader in yards per carry, minimum 400 attempts.
Chark was one of the SEC’s most electric receivers and return men in 2017. He was the only player in the SEC to score a rushing touchdown, receiving touchdown and punt return touchdown, with his 811 receiving yards ranking fifth in the league and his two punt return touchdowns ranking first. Only two SEC players averaged more yards per touch than Chark in 2017.